In some religions, one of which being Islam, there are practices of charity and donation in which the people of worship will engage themselves in.
Zaqat (Charity) and Sadaqah (Donation) are two different things, though sometimes may overlap each other, but has a tendency to confuse some people. This post looks at both practices and aims to distinguish between those two.
Below is a video about Zakat, Sadaqah and purification from Shaykh Musleh Khan as he briefly elaborates on and explains these 3 things.
Zaqat in Arabic means growth, blessing, and purification. Sadaqah on the other hand, means sincerity, i.e. it is a sign of sincerity of faith on the part of the person who gives it.
Zaqat is enjoined in Islam on obligation, and on specific things, like gold, silver, crops, fruits, trade goods and livestock, i.e., camels, cattle and sheep. Sadaqah is not obligatory on any kind of wealth; rather it is what a person can give, without any specific limits or guidelines. In short, zaqat is obligatory giving whereas sadaqah is non-obligatory and through one’s own will to give.
Zaqat is required to be done at a specified time period, whereas sadaqah can be done at any period of time, for as much of amount and as many times as one wishes.
Zakat can only be distributed to the recipients stated in the Qur’an (Muslim Holy Book), but Sadaqah can be distributed to anyone you see fit.
To give you my personal experience, while I was searching for an online donation site for the building of mosques, I chanced upon two options of buttons to click. One button is “Payment for charity”, while the other button is “Payment for donation.” All I wanted was to make a willing payment for the building of mosques, so I went ahead and clicked “Payment for donation.” Notice that I mentioned “willing payment”, so that should tell you that it is a donation.
While both are acts of worship, it is vital especially for Muslims to know the difference and make payments accordingly. This is because when you want to pay, you will have an intention which goes along with that payment. That intention plays a huge part in distinguishing what your payment is for – charity or donation.
This is tied to the passing of a Muslim when he/she still owes zaqat. When a Muslim dies and still owes zaqat, his/her heirs must pay it from his/her wealth, and that takes precedence over the will (wasiyah) and inheritance. For sadaqah, there are no such obligations with regards to it.
Zaqat is not permissible to be given to the rich or the strong and able to earn. Sadaqah on the other hand, may be given to the rich or the strong and able to earn.
However, despite the fact that sadaqah is not obligatory, it is highly encouraged to donate willingly as it cleanses one’s soul and also provides many benefits to the donor.
There are other detailed information on this topic of zaqat (charity) and sadaqah (donation) in Islam. You may find those details online and offline. This post aims to provide a brief summary on the keynotes that people should know in terms of their differences. Hope this helps, 🙂