Zakah, Sadaqah and Hadiyah

بسم اللّٰه الرحمن الرحيم

Question: Could you please let us know the difference between the following:

1. Zakah, 2. Sadaqah, 3. Imdad, 4. Hadiyah.

Could you also mention to whom these can be given?

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Answer In Brief:

     Zakah is Farz amount of money which every Muslim owning the Zakah-Nisab (the value of 595 gram of silver for most people) has to pay once a year.

     Sadaqah usually refers to Sadaqah  Nafilah which is the wealth a person spends on the needy to get closer to Allah.

     Imdad is a general term with no special meaning in the Shari’ah. It means aid and assistance. It is usually used for gift.

     Hadiyah is a gift given with the intention of honoring the recipient.


     Zakah cannot be given to a Sayyid. Sadaqah Nafilah and Hadiyah can be.

In Detail

1. Zakah


     Please refer the article “Common Rulings Related to Zakah” for details.

     Zakah is the Farz Sadaqah. Sadaqatul Fitr is the Wajib Sadaqah. The details of Sadaqah Nafilah are mentioned below under the heading Sadaqah.

     Giving it publicly is more reward-worthy.

     Zakah should not be given to a Sayyid. A Sayyid should be helped through Sadaqah Nafilah and Hadiyah (gift). In dire circumstances, when there is no other fund available, a Sayyid may be given Zakah money.

عن عَبْدَ الْمُطَّلِبِ بْنَ رَبِيعَةَ بْنِ الْحَارِثِ، قال: قال رسول اللّٰه صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم: إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ لَا تَنْبَغِي لِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ إِنَّمَا هِيَ أَوْسَاخُ النَّاسِ. (مسلم ٢:٧٥٢)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Sadaqah is not allowed for the family of Muhammad, as it is people’s dirt. (Muslim)


It is lawful for any of the following to receive Zakah-money:

     Poor people who own less than the Nisab amount

     Zakah-collector appointed by Khalifah or his representative

     a person in debt who does not have enough money to pay it off: If he has taken the debt for something sinful like television, lavish marriage, impermissible rituals of death, etc. he should not be helped with Zakah-money. (Ma’ariful Quran English 4/413)

     a mujahid who does not have the means to buy weapons and war supplies

     a person on whom Haj is Farz (because he owned enough money on some past occasion) but he does not have enough money now to carry out that Farz

     a traveler who does not have enough money with him during journey to reach his destination comfortably, though he owns Nisab amount at his home

2. Imdad

     Imdad means assistance, and it has no special Shara’i ruling or status. It is a general term that can cover all kinds of donations.

     In case of no specification from the giver, it would usually mean gift. The giver should specify whether it is a Sadaqah or Hadiyah or something else.

     To whom it can be given: depends on whether it is Sadaqah or Zakah or Hadiyah. If it is a gift, it can be given to any needy person: child or adult, Muslim or Kafir, rich or poor, individual or organization.

3. Hadiyah (Gift)

Hadiyah is the wealth gifted to a person with the purpose of honoring him. (Al Mausu’ah 42/120)

Anybody can be the recipient of Hadiyah. There is no restriction here. The gifter will be rewarded or punished by Allah in accordance with his intention.

Hadiyah amount can also be used in works of public welfare like construction of Masjid, road, etc.

4. Sadaqah

Major Source: الموسوعة الفقهية الكويتية (26/325)


Sadaqah in our usage normally refers to Sadaqah Nafilah. (Sadaqah Farz is Zakah, Sadaqah Wajib is Fitr). Sadaqah technically means transferring ownership without any return, in order to gain reward in the Hereafter.


     The giver should be adult and have ownership of the wealth (mal) and should not be banned from spending it because of overwhelming debt.

Even if a grown-up child gets permission from his guardian to spend his own (the child’s) money in Sadaqah, the Sadaqah will be invalid. The guardian is also not allowed to spend the child’s money in Sadaqah. A child can own money by receiving inheritance or gift.


     A woman can spend small amount of money in Sadaqah Nafilah from her husband’s wealth when he has not specifically permitted or prohibited it. If the husband has expressly permitted or prohibited spending his wealth in Sadaqah, then she should obey her husband.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا، قَالَتْ: قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِذَا أَطْعَمَتِ المَرْأَةُ مِنْ بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا غَيْرَ مُفْسِدَةٍ، كَانَ لَهَا أَجْرُهَا وَلَهُ مِثْلُهُ، وَلِلْخَازِنِ مِثْلُ ذَلِكَ، لَهُ بِمَا اكْتَسَبَ وَلَهَا بِمَا أَنْفَقَتْ» (البخاري ١٤٣٩)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: When a women feeds somebody out of the food in her husband’s house without the intention of causing harm to her husband, she gets the reward of Sadaqah. An equal reward also goes to the husband, and to the treasurer. He gets for earning the money and she gets for spending it. (Bukhari)


     The Sayyids: Allowed

     Spouse, close relations, neighbors: Allowed and recommended

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ بْنِ عَامِرٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ عَلَى الْمِسْكِينِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَعَلَى ذِي الرَّحِمِ اثْنَتَانِ صَدَقَةٌ وَصِلَةٌ» (سنن النسائي: ٢٥٨٢)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Charity to a poor person carries the reward of (just) Sadaqah, whereas charity to a family relation carries double reward: of Sadaqah and of fostering family ties.

     The poor: Allowed. The original purpose of the Sadaqah-ruling is to help the poor and needy only.

     The rich: Better to avoid

  • While you may give your Sadaqah Nafilah to a rich person, it will be Makruh (sinful) for him to accept it. If the rich person owns wealth just above the Nisab limit and has many children and dependents, then he may accept it, but asking for Sadaqah Nafilah is prohibited still.

     Kafirs: Not allowed in general

  • Sadaqah Nafilah may be given to a Kafir not at war against Islam and living as citizen or having a valid visa or as refugee in an Islamic country, or to a Kafir who is a close realtion, or to a Kafir who is likely to embrace Islam.
  • Sadaqah Nafilah is not allowed to a Kafir from a country at war with Islam even if he is in an Islamic land with a valid visa.

عن أبي هريرة رضي اللّٰه عنه أن رسول اللّٰه صلى اللّٰه عليه وسلم قال: فِي كُلِّ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ. (صحيح البخاري ٢٣٦٣)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Doing good to any being with a wet liver is reward-worthy. (This includes animals.) (Bukhari)

     Sadaqah amount can also be used in works of public welfare like construction of Masjid, road, etc.

The wealth

     The wealth spent in Sadaqah Nafilah should be:

  • absolutely Halal

عن أبي هريرة قال: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَا تَصَدَّقَ أَحَدٌ بِصَدَقَةٍ مِنْ طَيِّبٍ، وَلَا يَقْبَلُ اللهُ إِلَّا الطَّيِّبَ، إِلَّا أَخَذَهَا الرَّحْمَنُ بِيَمِينِهِ، وَإِنْ كَانَتْ تَمْرَةً، فَتَرْبُو فِي كَفِّ الرَّحْمَنِ حَتَّى تَكُونَ أَعْظَمَ مِنَ الْجَبَلِ، كَمَا يُرَبِّي أَحَدُكُمْ فَلُوَّهُ أَوْ فَصِيلَهُ» (مسلم: ١٠١٤)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Whenever a person gives Halal wealth in Sadaqah – and Allah only accepts Halal wealth – the Most Merciful accepts it in His right hand. If it is a fruit, it grows in the Most Merciful’s palms till it becomes larger than a mountain, just like a foal or a baby camel grows with your effort. (Muslim)

Allah’s hands and palms are totally different from creatures’s limbs. They exist in a state worthy of Him and beyond our imagination.

  • in addition to your loans and dependents’ needs
  • and should be beneficial and useful.


     It is Mustahabb to give in Sadaqah Nafilah the wealth that you love the most. If you can’t give your dearest wealth (e.g. your flagship smartphone), then you may give what is close to it (e.g. a budget phone).

Hazrat ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz used to purchase camel-loads of sugar and give away in Sadaqah. When asked why he didn’t give the equivalent money instead, he would say: Because sugar is dearer to me. (Tafsirul Qurtubi 4/133)

لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ. (آل عمران:٩٢)

You shall never attain righteousness unless you spend from what you love. Whatsoever you spend, Allah is fully aware of it. (Quran 3:92)


     It is not necessary that the amount spent in Sadaqah Nafilah be big or even considerable. It can be small amount too.

عن عَدِيّ بْن حَاتِمٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: «اتَّقُوا النَّارَ وَلَوْ بِشِقِّ تَمْرَةٍ» (صحيح البخاري ١٤١٧)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Save yourself from Jahannam-Fire even if by spending a portion of a single date. (Bukhari)


     One should avoid giving low quality, waste-like items in Sadaqah Nafilah like expired food products, a soon-to-die mobile, etc.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْفِقُوا مِنْ طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُمْ مِنَ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنْفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُمْ بِآخِذِيهِ إِلَّا أَنْ تُغْمِضُوا فِيهِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ. (البقرة: ٢٦٧)

O Believers, spend of the good things you have earned, and of what We have brought forth for you from the earth. Do not opt for a bad thing to spend from it while you yourself are never going to accept it (if such a thing is offered to you), unless you close your eyes. Know well that Allah is All-Independent, Ever-Praised. (Quran 2:267)

عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ: خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَبِيَدِهِ عَصًا وَقَدْ عَلَّقَ رَجُلٌ قِنْوَ حَشَفٍ، فَجَعَلَ يَطْعَنُ فِي ذَلِكَ الْقِنْوِ، فَقَالَ: «لَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّ هَذِهِ الصَّدَقَةِ تَصَدَّقَ بِأَطْيَبَ مِنْ هَذَا، إِنَّ رَبَّ هَذِهِ الصَّدَقَةِ يَأْكُلُ حَشَفًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ» (سنن النسائي ٢٤٩٣)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ came out with a staff in his hand. A person had hung a bunch of low quality grapes (for people to eat). Allah’s Prophet started poking into the bunch (to turn it around and see if all are of similar low quality). He then said: If the donor of this Sadaqah had so willed, he could have given dates of higher quality. The donor shall be eating the same low quality dates on the Day of Judgment. (Nasai)


     It is Mustahabb to spend in Sadaqah Nafilah out of wealth that is in addition to your own and your dependents’ needs. If a normal person (whose iman is not strong like Hazrat Abu Bakr رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ) spends so much in Sadaqah Nafilah that his dependents are unable to meet their needs, he will be sinful.

عن سعيد بن المسيب أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «خَيْرُ الصَّدَقَةِ مَا كَانَ عَنْ ظَهْرِ غِنًى، وَابْدَأْ بِمَنْ تَعُولُ» (صحيح البخاري: ١٤٢٦)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: The best charity is the one practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents. (Bukhari)

عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ الْأَنْصَارِيِّ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “يَأْتِي أَحَدُكُمْ بِمَا يَمْلِكُ، فَيَقُولُ: هَذِهِ صَدَقَةٌ، ثُمَّ يَقْعُدُ يَسْتَكِفُّ النَّاسَ، خَيْرُ الصَّدَقَةِ مَا كَانَ عَنْ ظَهْرِ غِنًى” (سنن أبي داود ١٦٧٣)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: One of you brings all his possessions and says, “This is Sadaqah.” And then he sits down and spreads his hands before the people (to beg). The best Sadaqah is that which leaves behind sufficient (possessions for the donors’ needs). (Abu Dawud)


     If a person has Haram or suspicious wealth, he should return it to the original owner in entirety. If the owner is unidentifiable or unreachable, then he should give it to the poor. In both cases he should not expect any reward for the money thus spent.

Ibn ‘Umar رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا said: I would rather return a Haram dirham than spend 6 lakh in Nafl Sadaqah. (Kifayatul Akhyar by Husaini 1/124)


     Sadaqah is Mustahab and a custom (Sunnah) of the holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. Many verses of the holy Quran and Hadiths of the Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ encourage us to spend our money in Sadaqah. For example:

مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً وَاللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ. (البقرة: ٢٤٥)

Who is the one who would give to Allah a good loan that He would multiply for him many times? Allah withholds and extends, and to Him you are to be returned. (Quran)

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ أَطْعَمَ مُؤْمِنًا عَلَى جُوعٍ أَطْعَمَهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ مِنْ ثِمَارِ الجَنَّةِ، وَأَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ سَقَى مُؤْمِنًا عَلَى ظَمَإٍ سَقَاهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ مِنَ الرَّحِيقِ الْمَخْتُومِ، وَأَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ كَسَا مُؤْمِنًا عَلَى عُرْيٍ كَسَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ خُضْرِ الجَنَّةِ. (الترمذي ٢٤٤٩)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: If ever a Believer feeds a hungry Believer, Allah will feed him the fruits of Jannah on the Day of Judgment. If ever a Believer provides drink to a thirsty Believer, Allah will provide him the drink of pure sealed wine on the Day of Judgment. If ever a Believer clothes a clothless Believer, Allah will robe him with the vegetation of the Jannah. (Tirmizi)

عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «هَلْ مِنْكُمْ أَحَدٌ أَطْعَمَ الْيَوْمَ مِسْكِينًا؟»، فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ: دَخَلْتُ الْمَسْجِدَ، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَائِلٍ يَسْأَلُ، فَوَجَدْتُ كِسْرَةَ خُبْزٍ فِي يَدِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ، فَأَخَذْتُهَا مِنْهُ فَدَفَعْتُهَا إِلَيْهِ (سنن أبي داود: ١٦٧٠)

Allah’s Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: Is there anyone among you who fed a poor person today? Hazrat Abu Bakr later went to the Masjid and found a beggar asking for help. He saw a piece of bread in his son ‘Abdur Rahman’s hand, so he took it from him and gave to the beggar.(Abu Dawud(


     While spending, you should have the intention of earning Allah’s pleasure and reward in the Hereafter, as deeds are rewarded based on intention.

     It is preferable to give Sadaqah Nafilah covertly (in hiding).

إِنْ تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِنْ تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنْكُمْ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ (البقرة ٢٧١)

If you give the Sadaqahs openly, it is good enough. But if you keep it secret while giving it to the needy, it is much better for you, and this will write off a part of your sins. Allah is All-Aware of what you do. (Quran 2:271)

Ibn ‘Abbas رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا: Sadaqah Nafilah given covertly is seventy times more reward-worthy than a Sadaqah given publicly. (Ahkamul Quran by Ibnul ‘Arabi 1/236)

However, if the spender is a popular figure whose example other people are likely to follow, then it is desirable that he do Sadaqah Nafilah publicly.


     Reminding the beneficiary of the favor or hurting him is Haram and nullifies the reward of Sadaqah.

إِنْ تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِنْ تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنْكُمْ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ. (البقرة ٢٦٤)

O Believers, do not nullify your acts of charity by boasting about the favor and by hurting the recipient, like the one who spends his wealth to show off before people and does not believe in Allah and in the Last Day. (Quran 2:264)

     It is not permissible to ask for Sadaqah when the person has wealth sufficient for the day’s needs or has the capability to earn. Giving such a beggar knowingly is also not permissible as this is assistance in sin.

     Asking for Sadaqah in Masjid is detestable. Giving him Sadaqah is also detestable as it amounts to cooperation in a detestable act. However, giving Sadaqah in Masjid to somebody who is not asking, or to somebody for whom the sermon-deliverer (Khatib) has requested is permissible.


     Sadaqah given in Ramazan, the first ten days of Zul Hijjah, the days of id and 10th Muharram earn more reward. Similarly, Sadaqah given in blessed places and special occasions like at Makkah, at Madinah, at times of and in a land of Jihad, during Haj, at the time of eclipse, during sickness, when on a journey, etc. is more reward-worthy.


عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ: سُئِلَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَيُّ الصَّوْمِ أَفْضَلُ بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ؟ فَقَالَ: شَعْبَانُ لِتَعْظِيمِ رَمَضَانَ، قِيلَ: فَأَيُّ الصَّدَقَةِ أَفْضَلُ؟ قَالَ: صَدَقَةٌ فِي رَمَضَانَ. (سنن الترمذي ٦٦٣)

The holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was asked: After the month of Ramazan, which fasting is the best? He replied: Sha’ban’s, in honor of Ramazan.

He صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was asked: Which Sadaqah is the best? He replied: The Sadaqah in Ramazan. (Tirmizi)


     It is preferable to give Sadaqah as soon as possible and to avoid delaying. If you decide to give Sadaqah in Rajab, you shouldn’t postpone it till Ramazan, just as a cloth-seller does not postpone selling till festival season. He sells in off-season as well as festival seasons, though the profits are different.

     It is more reward-worthy to give Sadaqah Nafilah in times of need like communal massacres, Jihad, famine, earthquake, etc.

أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ (14) يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ (15) أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ (16) (البلد)

Enumerating the traits of a true Believer, Allah the Sublime mentions: “Giving food in a day of hunger to a closely related orphan or to a needy person lying in dust.” (Quran 90:14-16)

     It is highly recommended that you increase expenditure on your relations and neighbors in Ramazan, especially in the last ten days.

     It is not allowed to take back Sadaqah Nafilah, whether given to a poor or a rich person.


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