Zakat and Sadaqah have many similarities. For one, both involve giving something that belongs to you, to someone who has a need for it. However, they are a few key differences which we will go over in detail in today’s post.
The first thing to know about Zakat and Sadaqah is that under no circumstances can both terms be used interchangeably. If a Muslim is paying Zakat, he or she is not paying Sadaqah. If a person is paying Sadaqah, he or she is not paying Zakat. Even though both tasks entail providing financial, material, economic help for those who cannot provide for themselves, they are two completely different Islamic concepts.
Zakat at a Glance
Zakat is one of five fundamental concepts in Islam, also referred to as the five pillars of Islam. As such, it is a compulsory act that all Muslims must perform this duty, provided they meet certain conditions. The concept of Zakat is to purify one’s wealth and soul. All those Muslims whose savings meet or exceed Nisaab values are obligated to pay 2.5% of their total yearly savings to the poor and needy and for the welfare of the Muslim community. Zakat is calculated based on total savings during one lunar year. Even items like gold and jewellery fall under Zakat-able items and their worth is taken into account during the calculations.
Sadaqah, on the other hand, is purely voluntary. It can be given at any time, to anyone and it can be of any amount or anything including a material object. As such, there is an enormous amount of flexibility here. Anyone can receive it but the idea is to give Sadaqah to those who truly need it. This is an act done purely to earn blessings of Allah (swt) and to assist other people. Saqadah can be any monetary amount however it is not limited to that. Food rations, clothing garments, any type of household accessories, work perfectly fine as well. In fact when it comes to relief aid efforts, such items are often desired and eagerly sought. The idea is to donate something for a noble cause at your own free will; not because it was preordained by Allah (swt) like Zakat. Sadaqah is not a religious obligation. It is, however, greatly endorsed and favoured in Islam.
The Holy Quran and Islamic literature is full of information pertaining to both these concepts. However for the sake of simplicity, we wanted to break things down in easy to understand explanation to our readers. We hope that this post clarifies the two Islamic concepts adequately. For more information on Zakat, Saqadah or similar topics be sure to visit Muslim Aid’s Ramadan blog for a list of unique topics pertaining to Islam, Ramadan and Muslim Aid’s latest relief aid activities.