UNDERSTANDING CHARITY SERIES
The Understanding Charity Series seeks to define the various forms of charity known in Islam. It is ment to be an educational endevour and not a commercial one. Tawakul does not hold any rights over the content and indeed the primary content, specifically the text below, is adapted from https://uwt.org/donating-online/types-of-charity-in-islam/.
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Understandig Charity in Islam
Sadaqah is a general term used to describe charity in Islam. Indeed, all acts of worship through financial / material expenditure are, by broader definition, classified as Sadaqah. However, while the giving of money or material items is sometimes a prerequisite for the fulfilment of Sadaqah and the attainment of blessings / rewards, the Prophet ﷺ has taught us that all good acts, such as smiling, are regarded as a Sadaqah and are also a source of blessings / rewards.
This article lists the different forms of financial Sadaqah under two broad categories, namely: Sadaqah Wajibah and Sadaqah Nafilah. We will also define the different forms of Zakah, the compulsory "charity". Finally we will identify some forms of illicit, ill-goten and Haraam income which must be disposed off to save one from sin.
1. Sadaqah Wajibah
This is charity which is binding in nature. This form of Sadaqah is similar to Zakah in that it must be spent on the same categories as defined in the Qur’an, except that it is not a condition for the beneficiary to be Muslim. This type of Sadaqah includes:
a. Sadaqatul Fitr
f. Dam ash-Shukar
a. Sadaqatul Fitr a.k.a. Zakatul Fitr
This is a charity which is a duty upon every sane Muslim, who possesses the value of Nisaab beyond their basic-necessities. The father is obliged to give Sadaqatul Fitr for all his dependents.
A person is required to give certain items of food; such as wheat, flour, rice, etc. or money equal to the value of these food items, in order to fulfill the obligation of Sadaqatul Fitr.
Sadaqatul Fitr is an emphasised Sunnah and becomes due before the Salaah of Eidul Fitr i.e. the Eid at the end of Ramadaan.
This is an action which becomes necessary due to one imposing it upon oneself. This can be done if one wishes to express gratitude, and the action can take on a number of forms, including Sadaqah. If a person makes such an oath of giving charity, that then becomes Sadaqah Wajibah. If they are unable to uphold the oath, they will have to give Kaffarah, and may be sinful.
This is compensation for missing Salaah or Sawm for a person who cannot perform them due to being in terminal illness or being deceased or in the event of a person making a minor mistake in Hajj. The compensation or amount payable is the same as Sadaqatul Fitr.
Fidyah is generally Sadaqah Wajibah. Sadaqah Nafilah may be given in addition either from the deceased’s estate or on their behalf in which case both the giver and the deceased are rewarded.
This is major compensation and like Fidyah it is also Sadaqah Wajibah. It applies in various situations, for example if a person breaks a fast intentionally, breaks an oath, or kills someone then Kaffarah would be binding as the form of redemption. There are five actions for which Kaffarah will be necessary, however, they are classified as either Greater Kaffarah or Lesser Kaffarah.
i). Greater Kaffarah
For redemption of this a person may free a slave or fast for sixty consecutive days*. Failing that one may feed* sixty poor people for a day (i.e. two meals a day, each meal is equivalent to a Fidyah). This Kaffarah applies to:
a. Intentionally breaking Sawm (fast)
b. Breaking Zihar (to consider one’s wife as Haram for oneself by comparing her to a Mahram – anyone too closely related to be marriageable)
c. Being the direct cause of someone’s death (this is coupled with the set punishments).
Note: If a person breaks a fast intentionally, they would need to fast for sixty consecutive days, unless they can’t fast due to poor health or old age, there are no exceptions to this.
Note: In the instance of not being able to feed sixty people in a single day then he may feed one person for sixty days, but in this case if he were to try to quicken payment of this by giving all the money in one day to one person, Kaffarah would not be fulfilled, and his offering would only be equal to one days feeding.
ii). Lesser Kaffarah
For redemption of this a person may free a slave or feed ten poor people for two meals in one day or give each one of them clothing. Failing this, he may fast for three consecutive days. This Kaffarah applies to:
a. Breaking/Violating Yamin (an oath)
b. Breaking Ila’ (to take an oath on not having conjugal relationships with one’s wife)
e. Udhiyyah a.k.a. Qurbani
Udhiyyah, commonly known as Qurbani, is an animal sacrifice that is normally made on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah. It is obligatory upon every Muslim who is sane, mature, who possess the Nisaab and who is not a Musafir (traveler).
Udhiyyah may be performed on the day of Eidul Adha or the two* days thereafter. The meat may be distributed amongst the poor or used by the family.
Note: One may slaughter goats or sheep, which constitute one sacrifice each, or a cow or camel, which is counts as seven sacrifices each.
f. Damm ash-Shukr
Damm ash-Shukr, like Udhiyyah, refers to the sacrifice of a small animal such as sheep or goat (or a share in a cow or camel). It is only Wajib upon those performing Hajj Qiraan or Hajj Tamattu’ and must be performed in the precincts of the Haram. One can sacrifice the animal any time after ramee (pelting) on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah until the sunset of 12th of Dhul Hijjah. However, those performing Hajj Qiraan and Hajj Tamattu’ will not be able to shave their heads until the sacrifice is competed.
Damm refers to the sacrifice of a small animal such as a sheep or a goat (or a share in a cow or camel) as compensation for missing an action or violating a Hajj related law, such as:
a. Violation of one of the prohibitions of Ihram, e.g. applying perfume or cutting the hair.
b. Failure to perform a Wajib act of Hajj, e.g. crossing the Miqat without entering into the state of Ihram.
c. Transgressed the sanctity of the Haram, e.g. killing an animal within its boundaries.
Badanah refers to offering a large sacrificial animal such as a camel or cow as compensation for violating a Hajj related law such as:
a. Performing Tawaf in a state of major ritual impurity (requiring Ghusl)
b. Having sexual relations at any point between Wuquf in Arafat (on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah) and cutting the hair / Tawaf al-Ziyarah (on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah).
2. Sadaqah Nafilah
This is charity which is not binding in nature but is optional. This type includes alms given for the removal of difficulties, philanthropic (to give out of mercy to the less fortunate), the general giving of any Halaal item to any one etc. This type of charity does not need to be spent on any specified categories to be rewarding nor does it have to be spent on Muslims.This can also be bequeathed in one’s will (in which case it would be only up to a third of the deceased person’s entire estate).
The following are types of Sadaqah Nafilah:
c. Sadaqah for Removing Difficulties
d. Sadaqah for the Expiation of Sins
f. Sadaqah Jaariyah
g. Qardh Hasan
This is Sadaqah Nafilah but is a type that does not have the condition of having to be passed into the possession of a person, as it can be given to institutes (e.g. Masajid, hospitals, schools, orphanages, etc).
This is the sacrifice of animals as thanks to Allah for the birth of a child, usually a sheep or goat for a female and two for a male child. Meat can distributed to the poor or used by the family.
c. Sadaqah for Removing Difficulties
One, at the time of donating, should ask Allah to make easy one’s deliverance. This can be understood from the Hadith: “Sadaqah soothes the Lord’s anger and protects against a bad death.” (al-Tirmidhi, al Bayhaqi)
*this image was chaged after we received advice that the previous one was not inkeeping with an Islamic theme.
d. Sadaqah for the Expiation Sins
One, at the time of donating, should ask Allah to forgive one’s shortcomings. This can be understood from the verse: “Indeed good deeds take away bad deeds.” [Qur’an, 11:114]
This is to allot something as a trust for a certain cause. This can be during one’s lifetime or bequeathed in one’s will (up to the value of a third of one’s estate). When executed, the donation becomes the property of Allah (and thus has specific rules regarding it), and its beneficiaries are to remain those named as the cause (e.g. the poor, orphans, students, the people of a certain locality, etc.) The difference between this and Lillah is that with Waqf ownership is not given to people or institutes but only the benefits are ascribed. Like today’s trusts, Waqf also requires the care of trustees over it.
f. Sadaqah Jaariyah
This Sadaqah is not a separate category but it is really any Sadaqah Nafilah which is spent on a cause of long-term benefit (e.g. wells), and in essence is very similar to Waqf.
g. Qardh Hasan
This literally means to give a good loan. In the language of the Qur’an this term is used for Sadaqah Nafilah. The rewards of Qardh Hasan are thus exclusive to Sadaqah. Loans given to Islamic institutes and then forgiven become this type of Sadaqah. Presently, this term is often used to denote Qardh.
Qardh means an Islamic loan. Islamic here means that two things must be upheld from the side of the creditor: the first that neither interest can be charged nor any other benefit (advantage or gifts) be taken in lieu of the loan; the second is that at no time can the creditor show any signs of self-glory, or remind the debtor of the favour/help given (this does not mean that he/she cannot ask for payment). This type of loan may be given to either an individual or an institute, and if the conditions are upheld, it is immensely rewarding for the creditor.
the above text is adapted from https://uwt.org/donating-online/types-of-charity-in-islam/
This is the compulsory “charity” which Allah has enjoined in the Qur’an. Zakah is eligible upon those mature*, sane - men and women - who attain the Nisaab threshold. Zakah must only be given to the eight categories mentioned in Surah Taubah (9:60). If it is not, then it will be void and necessary to re-pay it. The payer fulfills his obligation as soon as he grants full ownership and possession to any of the eight categories. This can be done either by giving money or goods to the value.
Zakah is paid on various assets mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah and each category of asset has its own rulings, rates, Nisaab, payment period, etc. For example:
a. Zakatul Maal @2.5% payable annually (Nisaab of 612.36g Silver of 87.48g of Gold)
b. Zakah Crops (Ushr) @5%-10% payable at harvest time (Nisaab of 653kg3)
c. Zakah on Livestock – per schedule payable annually (Nisaab depends on type of animal)
d. Zakah on Minerals, Precious Stones and Treasurers – payable at time of extraction at 20%
NOTE: Some Madhabs oblige Zakah on the wealth of minors and the insane, and it is usually the responsibility of the guardians to discharge the Zakah from the wealth of the minors and insane.
a. Zakatul Maal
Perhaps the most common form of Zakah, Zakatul Maal, encompass several types of assets such as Gold and Silver, Money, Business Stock, etc. The owner of such assets has to assess their value once a year and pay Zakah at a rate of 2.5%, if it is equal or above the Nisaab amount.
b. Zakah on Crops (Ushr)
Ushr is the term used to describe the Zakah payable on agricultural produce. The owner of such produce will calculate Zakah at the time of harvest or when it is ready for market at a rate of 5% or 10% depending on how the crop was irrigated. If the crops were irrigated naturally and with minimum effort/cost, then the rate is higher (max. 10%) and if irrigated through artificial or mechanical means then the rate is lower (min. 5%). There are differences of opinion on the types of crops and the requirement for Nisaab, the majority hold that Nisaab is 653kg.
c. Zakah on Livestock
Zakah is payable on certain specified animals, i.e. grazing camels and cows, sheep and goats. Each of these animals has a set Nisaab amount and other conditions, such as age and gender and purpose for which it is reared. For example, if cattle are reared for manual labor or camels for personal use, then there is no Zakah payable. Zakah is payable once a year as per a fixed schedule. Other animals are subject to Zakah according to their value and not necessarily by the quantity.
d. Zakah on Minerals, Precious Stones and Treasurers
Zakah is payable on minerals and precious gems and stones extracted from the earth and treasures, whether found or buried. There are varying opinions on which and when these items are subject to Zakah, although the rate of 20% of their value is general agreed upon. Other conditions may apply.
Distribution of Zakah.
Surah Taubah (9) Ayat 60 specifies eight categories of eligible recipients of Zakah as follows:
1. Fuqara (The Poor): The majority of jurists hold that the poor are those who do not have any assets and have no means by which they can earn their living.
2. Masakin (The Needy): The majority of jurists hold that the needy are the people whose earnings do not cover their basic needs.
3. Al-‘Amilina ‘Alayha: Administrators of Zakah: This term applies to those charged with collecting, storing, guarding, registering and distributing Zakah.
4. Mu’allafate-Qulubuhum (Reconciliation of Hearts). Includes those who have embraced Islam or who are inclined to it.
5. Fir-Riqab (For those in Bondage): Zakat may be allocated to help Muslims free themselves of bondage.
6. Gharimin (Those in Debt): Zakat may be used to pay off debts, so long as these debts were not incurred in an act contrary to Islamic law.
7. Fi-Sabilillah (In the Cause of Allah): Muslim jurists differ on who or what can be covered under this category, although most seem to agree that it can be used in the defense of Islam.
8. Ibnas-Sabil (The Wayfarer): A wayfarer refers to a traveler who left his home for a lawful purpose and for whatever good reason does not possess enough money to return home, even if he is rich in his own country.
To whom can Zakah not be given?
Muslim jurists agreed that Zakat cannot be given to the following people:
1) The rich (except when such are among the workers of Zakah).
2) Those capable but not willing to work.
3) Those who fight against Islam.
4) Ascendants, descendants and wives of the payer.
5) Family of the Prophet SAW