The Main Difference between Zakat and Sadaqah

Doing charity is one of the best practices of every Muslim. The Holy Quran instructs us to help those who are in need. We should help our surroundings not financially, but also in financial terms as well. When we speak about financial terms, there are several ways to help those in need, including Zakat and Sadaqah. What is the difference between zakat and sadaqah? They have many similarities and key differences also. In simple terms, Zakat is the mandatory form of charity, while sadaqah is voluntary.

What is Zakat?

Zakat is a mandatory form of charity for every Muslim. It is also the third of five pillars of individually obligatory which is Islam is built on. The act of donating some amount of your wealth to another individual who is in need is called Zakat. You must give usually 2.5% of your wealth when it reaches a certain amount or “nisab”. Nisab is a minimum amount of wealth that you need to own before you pay Zakat. The principle of Zakat is to restrict the possession and monopoly in one hand. This act of Zakat assists payers to purify their wealth and themselves also. In some countries, such as Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan Zakat is mandatorily collected by the government.

What is Sadaqah?

Sadaqah is a completely voluntary act of charity and you do not have to pay in pre-set amount. Sadaqah can be given in any form, including a material object to anyone. Even if you can Sadaqah to anyone, the idea behind it is to help people who are truly in need. Sadaqah can go beyond giving in charity to the poor. Every righteous deed in Islam is the very act of Sadaqah:

– Visiting the sick

– Attending funeral

– Assisting someone; for example helping an elderly person to carry his bag

– Saying good words to someone or even smiling at them.

So it is our Zakat and Sadaqah that actualizes our Imaan and adds value to our existence in this world.

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