What Does Ongoing Charity (Sadaqah Jariyah) In Islam Mean?

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When the idea of ongoing charity, also known as Sadaqah Jariyah, in Islam is mentioned, there can be a bit of confusion.

How can we be in a state of continual giving? Does it involve long hours of volunteering, donating daily, or maybe even perpetually donating our possessions?

Islam came as a balanced system that is easy for all people to follow. Its means of ongoing charity (Sadaqah Jariyah) are also easy.

Sadaqah Jariyah: An Ongoing Charity in Islam

“When a human being dies, all one’s deeds cease, save three: ongoing charity, [religious] knowledge [one leaves behind] from which others benefit, and a righteous child who prays for one” (Muslim).

The Islamic tradition includes instructions for providing many forms of charity: zakat, a yearly obligatory monetary offering, and sadaqah, which consists of charity given voluntarily and in many forms.

Among the types of voluntary sadaqah is Sadaqah Jariyah, or “ongoing charity,” which is charity given with the goal that its benefits continue after one’s passing. 

What makes ongoing charity in Islam special is that not only do the benefits continue to reach recipients after the donor’s death, but the spiritual rewards from the donor’s generosity continue to benefit the donor in the heavenly realm.

For Muslims, this makes giving ongoing charity highly desirable. For those who constantly seek to do the most good, it’s a way of ensuring the world is left a better place after we leave it.

Examples of Ongoing Charity in Islam

Once we’ve committed to the idea of providing ongoing charity in Islam, the pathways to establishing ongoing charity are numerous and encourage us to use our creativity.

For example, when you help educate a child in matters of religion, life skills, or otherwise, and this child grows up developing and utilizing these skills for themselves and others, the one who provided or paid for this education receives the reward from every good act rooted in that education.

The same can be said for one who helps construct a mosque for others to worship in long after one’s death, sponsors the development of a hospital or mental health clinic that continually treats patients, or provides the means for older orphaned children to develop their career skill set.

At Zakat Foundation of America, we provide all the above and other means of ongoing charity, including providing wells for villages in dire need of clean water, sponsoring orphaned children, and providing livelihood training for poor and displaced families.

Ongoing charity in Islam is an essential tenet of faith. Only by keeping this opportunity in mind will we develop a genuinely charitable spirit. Check out our programs to see how you can give ongoing charity today.