Differences between Zakat and Sadaqah

Sadaqah is sometimes used to refer to Zakat in the Qur’an, but the two terms generally have different meanings.

So what is the difference between Zakat and Sadaqah?

Well, quite simply, Zakat is the obligatory form of charity, whereas Sadaqah is voluntary.

What is Zakat?

Zakat is a mandatory charity for every adult Muslim. We are commanded to give it annually and not performing it is a major sin. Zakat – a word which means ‘to purify’ – is collected for the poor.

Our faith asks us to give a minimum of 2.5% of our wealth, as long as we have over a certain amount – known as the nisab. The nisab threshold is the minimum amount of wealth a Muslim must have before he or she becomes eligible to pay Zakat.

Gold and silver are the two values used to calculate the nisab level. The nisab is the value of 87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver.

If you’re unsure about whether you’re above the nisab threshold, or need help calculating your Zakat, you can use our free Zakat Calculator here!

Interestingly, in Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen, Zakat is mandated and collected by the state.

What is Sadaqah?

Sadaqah is a voluntary charity with no set amount. It comes from the word ‘Sadq’, meaning truth, lending to the idea that it proves the truth of our faith.

If we are honest about our love and commitment to Allah (SWT) and those whom He loves, then that would surely result in us helping the poor. 

We are commanded to give Zakat, but Sadaqah comes from a heart that yearns to please his or her Lord. Sadaqah therefore is a truer reflection of our ability to be selfless, as it’s an extra act of worship we don’t need to do. 

Sadaqah, however, goes beyond giving in charity to the poor. All actions of righteousness in Islam is considered as a Sadaqah.

These include, for example: 

– Visiting the sick

– Attending a funeral

– To assist someone in need, for example, helping an elderly person cross the road

– To say a good word, such as consoling someone who has lost a loved one