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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Islamic Charity: Sadaqah, Zakat, and More


What is Charity?

“Charity, known as “Sadaqah,” has a great significance in Islam.” A general definition of ‘Islamic Charity’ is “a voluntary giving of money or other help to those in need”. Consider it an act of kindness and a way to gain rewards from Allah. It is an instruction from Allah Almighty, and the individuals who pay the charity are engaging in a transaction with Allah.

In Islam, charity encompasses more than just monetary donations; it comprises any act of kindness and assistance to those in need. Various forms of charity include giving money, food, clothing, shelter, or even dedicating one’s time and service to help those in need.

Charity in Quran

The Quran contains one of the most well-known verses related to charity:

Surah Baqarah : 267
O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy. (Surah Baqarah : 267)

Allah Almighty says,

They ask you, [O Muḥammad], what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 215)

Surah Al-Tawbah 103
Take from their wealth ˹O Prophet˺ charity to purify and bless them, and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Surah Al-Tawbah 103)

Islamic Charity in Hadith (Hadees)

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (SAW) as saying:

“Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.” (Sahih Muslim 2588)

Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) said:

“If anyone relieves a Muslim believer from one of the hardships of this worldly life, Allah will relieve him of one of the hardships of the Day of Resurrection. If anyone makes it easy for the one who is indebted to him (while finding it difficult to repay), Allah will make it easy for him in this worldly life and in the Hereafter, and if anyone conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps His slave as long as he helps his brother.” Related by Muslim.

(Sahih Muslim Book 16, Hadith 29)

Categories of Charity

There are two categories of charity;

  1. Charity Wajibah
  2. Charity Nafilah

Charity Wajibah

This is an obligatory Islamic charity. This form of Sadaqah resembles Zakah in that it requires spending on the same categories as defined by the Qur’an, with the exception that the beneficiary being Muslim is not a condition.

Types of Charity Wajibah

Zakat al Fitr (Fitrana)

Making sure that everyone in society has the means to take part in the celebrations of Eid ul Fitr is the purpose of sadaqah fitr. This islamic charity, known as Sadaqah Fitr, should be paid prior to the Eid prayer. However, it is preferable to provide it a few days in advance of Eid to ensure everyone has ample time to celebrate the occasion appropriately. It’s important to note that Sadaqah Fitr can be paid by the family’s head on behalf of the entire family; individual contributions are not necessary. The required amount is equivalent to 2.25 kg of wheat, 3.5 kg of barley, or a similar value.


Let’s say you declare that, when you obtain employment, you will make a significant charitable donation. It is an act of self-imposed conditional charity.

Fidyah (Fidya)

Suppose that you are ill and unable to fast or pray. On the other hand, you may be someone who performed the Hajj but committed a small error. In which manner do you compensate for these lost chances? The Fidyah amount required for mistakes must be equivalent to at least 1.6 kg of wheat.

Kaffarah (Kafara)

This is major compensation and like Fidyah it is also Charity Wajibah. It applies in a variety of situations, such as when someone knowingly breaks a fast, breaks an oath, or kills someone. In these cases, Kaffarah would be obligatory as a means of forgiveness.


The sacrificial charity. On the day of Eid-ul-Adha (Azha), every Muslim who has the means must purchase a goat, cow, sheep, or camel and sacrifice the animal in the name of Allah SWT.

Zakah (Zakat)

Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It refers to the obligatory charity that every Muslim who meets certain criteria must pay. Zakat is calculated based on the wealth and income of a person. It is usually 2.5% of their total assets. The purpose of zakat is to purify one’s wealth, to help the needy, and to support various social and religious causes. Zakat is not only a duty but also a blessing, as it increases one’s reward in the hereafter and brings peace and prosperity in this world.

Charity Nafilah

This is islamic charity which is not binding but is optional. To be helpful, this kind of funding does not have to be made in the specified categories. It also doesn’t have to be spent on Muslims, although if spent on poor Muslims, it would be more rewarding.


Lilla directly translates to “for Allah”, meaning that Lilla is any mode of voluntary charity given in the name of Allah. This isn’t typically given to a person but rather to an institution such as a mosque, hospital, or orphanage. Lilla donations are primarily used to contribute to the betterment of others, regardless of their religion.


This is the sacrifice of an animal or two for thanks to Allah for the birth of a child. With this too can members of the locality be fed, favor again is for the needy and close family members.

Sadaqah Jariyah

Sadaqah Jariyah is an ongoing charity. It is amongst the most satisfying things we can achieve in life. We can gain rewards for it while we are alive and after we have passed.


Those who do Islamic Charity, contribute to the betterment of society and the welfare of the needy. They are not asking for anything in return because they proceed in Allah’s path. Every deed washes away their sins and draws them nearer to God. By practicing charity, Muslims aim to spread compassion, gratitude, and humility while contributing to the well-being of individuals and society. Sadaqah is not only an act of charity but also a means of self-improvement and seeking closeness to Allah.

How to start a charity?

  • Research: Understand community needs and Islamic charity guidelines like zakat and sadaqah.
  • Intention: Have a sincere motive to serve, focusing on pleasing Allah and helping others.
  • Passion: Choose a cause aligned with your values, seeking advice from scholars and experts.
  • Fundraising: Use social media, events, and campaigns for transparent fundraising.
  • Legalities: Register your charity, following legal requirements and ethical standards.
  • Implementation: Collaborate with partners, monitor progress, and evaluate outcomes regularly.
  • Gratitude: Thank Allah, seek forgiveness, and pray for your charity’s success and beneficiaries’ well-being.





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