‘Sadaqah’ stems from the root sidq, which means ‘truthfulness.’ The words derived from this root word means to confirm sincere faithfulness. At the time of the Quran’s revelation and Prophet Muhammad’s (upon him be peace) life, it was used interchangeably with the term Zakat. Sadaqah means giving away your wealth and material good to the needy for the sake of God.
In current times, Sadaqah has come to mean charity that is voluntarily given. While Zakat is supposed to be given in a certain timeframe and for a specific amount, Sadaqah is not given any timeframe or any type of limits. While Zakat deals with specific types of wealth, Sadaqah can be acts of service. Even encouraging words are considered Sadaqah:
The Prophet (upon him be peace) said:
“It is also charity to utter a good word.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
There are only specific types of people who can accept Zakat. However, you can give Sadaqah to anyone. It is also seen as a way to combat against illness.
Sadaqah is intended solely for the pleasure of God. It should be given from a halal source and done in secret (if possible).
May we all strive for God’s mercy and forgiveness through acts of generosity, God willing!