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What is Zakat and Sadaqah?


Zakat and Sadaqah

Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend out of that (wealth) in which He has appointed you as deputies. So, for those of you who have believed and spent (in Allah’s way), there is a big reward. [Al-Quran 57:7]

What is Zakat and Sadaqah?

Zakat and Sadaqah bring opportunities to earn the mercy of Allah (SWT) by spending on those who do not have enough to support themselves. Islam places great importance on looking after the needy and the orphans. There are many verses dedicated to encouraging kindness towards vulnerable individuals. The above verse mentions charity as part of a believer’s faith. The following verses highlight charitable deeds as part of the belief in the day of judgment.

“Have you seen the one who denies the final Judgment?

That is the one who repulses the orphan

and does not encourage the feeding of the poor.” [107:1-3]

Zakat and Sadaqah Wisdom

Sadaqah and Zakat have differences in rulings and eligibility, but the essence is the same. Both form the basis of the welfare system of a Muslim community. The concepts of obligatory and voluntary donation distinguish a Muslim society from other communities. A community established on the foundations of the Islamic faith does not leave its vulnerable alone. Rather, it takes a collective responsibility to provide for its orphans, widows and the weak individuals.

The Difference Between Sadaqah and Zakat

Sadaqah comes from the root word ‘Sidq’, which means sincerity in Arabic. Giving Sadaqah is a sign of sincerity of faith. The believer paying this donation does so voluntarily, with the pure intention to help those in need because Allah (SWT) likes those who spend on the deprived and the destitute.

Zakah or Zakat is an Arabic word that means growth, purification, and blessing. In the faith, Zakat means obeying Allah (SWT) by giving what He has enjoined to those mentioned in the Quran as eligible while following the prescribed guidelines set by Allah (SWT).

After the definition of both terms, you might still wonder about the details of the common question - what is the difference between Zakat and Sadaqah? Read on to learn more about the two forms of donations in Islam.


Zakat is obligatory, while Sadaqah is a voluntary charity. Not paying Zakat despite having means and eligibility is a major sin. If a person dies without paying Zakat, their descendants need to make the payment on their behalf.

Zakat is Enjoined on Certain Kinds of Wealth

Zakat is prescribed for certain forms of wealth, including gold, silver, crops, fruits, trade goods and livestock. On the other hand, Sadaqah is not obligatory on any particular kind of wealth. A believer can donate whatever is possible for him to whoever he wants without strict guidelines or rules.

Those Eligible to Accept Donations - Zakat vs Sadaqah

Another difference between Zakat and Sadaqah is that Zakat has to be given to certain types of people listed in the Quran.

“As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakah) are only for the Fuqara (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in Allah’s cause), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise” [al-Tawbah 9:60]

Zakat can only be given to the above categories, while Sadaqah can be given to anyone who is in need of financial assistance of any kind.

Dependants and Non-Believers

According to the principles of faith, one’s dependants, descendants and non-believers cannot accept Zakat. It is a believer’s responsibility to spend on parents, children, grandchildren, and his wife. If any of them is in need of financial help, he cannot give them Zakat. Instead, he is obliged to look after them and fulfil their monetary needs.

Sadaqah can be given to one’s dependants or descendants as well as non-believers.

Conditions of Possession, Nisab and Prescribed Percentage

Zakat is surrounded by certain rules and regulations. It becomes applicable to a person’s wealth after he has had it for one full Hijri year and it meets the minimum threshold of nisab. Moreover, it has to be paid at the rate of a specific percentage, which is 2.5% of an individual’s wealth.

Contrary to this, Sadaqah can be paid any time of the year and can consist of any amount.

Does Sadaqah Count as Zakat?

Sadaqah donations cannot count as Zakat. The rules of Zakat call for the intention of making the obligatory donation, calculating the prescribed ratio and giving it to specific categories. Sadaqah does not involve any of this and cannot replace Zakat. While giving Zakat to charitable organisations, it is important to specify that you are making a payment of Zakat for this to be valid.

Pay Your Zakat and Sadaqah

Donate your Zakat and Sadaqah to Charity Meals and let our team use it to support those eligible to receive it. Our food and water campaigns are helping multiple countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the UK. Your contribution will bring hope to those going through poverty and deprivation. Donate to Charity Meals and take an important step towards bringing a positive change.