The Difference between Saadaqah and Zakah

All Praises belongs to Allah the Most High. Allah is the One who sustains life and causes death. I bear witness that He is alone above His throne in a manner that befits His Majesty. I also attest to the fact that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His final Messenger sent to mankind and Jinn. To our topic:

This is part of a collection of terminology and jargon that the Muslim should  know and understand.  Included in this series is the difference between a Messenger and Prophet, the difference between Miskeen and Fuqarah, the difference between Islam and Imanand various others. This definition and benefit was taken from a book titled “At-Tarjeeh fee Maasa’il Sawm waz Zakah” authored by Muhammad ibn ‘Amr Al-Bazmoul(may Allah preserve him). The selections are my own based on what the ulema have mentioned in their books of Fiqh, Hadeeth, Usul and Tafseer. These definitions helped me to understand the language of the scholars better, in particularly religious verdicts. And I hope it will assist my brothers and sisters as well. Ameen.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

These words Saadaqah and Zakah are mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah, and is there a difference between the two?

If one contemplates in the various places where these two words are mentioned in the Quran, he/ she would notice the following points:

  • The word Zakah is mentioned 33 times in the Quran.
  • Zakah is mentioned and connected with Salah in 27 places throughout the Quran.
  • Zakah isn’t connected with prayer in three places in the Quran. [Surah Al-‘Araf 15, Ar-Rum 39 and Fussilat 7.]
  • The Muslim will also notice that when Zakah is mentioned in those 33 places in the Quran, it is referring to the yearly obligatory fixed payment from one’s wealth.

Now on the other hand the mentioning of the word Saadaqah or Saadaqaat the following points will be noticed:

  • The word Sadaaqah is mentioned 13 times in the Quran. 5 of those times it says “ Saadaqah and 7 times “ Saadaqaat and only once “ Saadaaqahtukum
  • The word Saadaqah is referred to as feeding the poor people as an expiation for shaving the head while in Ihram.  [Surah Al-Baqarah 196]
  • The word Saadaqah is used and refers to Zakah. [ Surah Al-Tawbah 60 and 103]
  • And in the remaining places where Saadaqah is mentioned it implies and covers the meaning for obligatory and voluntary charity.

And when we read Hadeeth we find that the word Saadaqah is mentioned as being obligatory and voluntary as well. The thing that we are concerned with here is when the word Saadaqah is used and refers to Zakah. This is similar to the Hadeeth which is collected by Bukhari 1496 and Muslim 19.The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said”…

فَأَخْبِرْهُمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ فَرَضَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُؤْخَذُ مِنْ أَغْنِيَائِهِمْ فَتُرَدُّ عَلَى فُقَرَائِهِمْ

Then inform them that Allah has made Saadaqah an obligatory disbursement from the rich and given to the needy.

And in another Hadeeth collected by Al-Imam Al-Bukahri in his Saheeh 63 on the authority of Daamam ibn Ta’labah(may Allah be pleased with him)he said ,…

قَالَ أَنْشُدُكَ بِاللَّهِ ، آللَّهُ أَمَرَكَ أَنْ تَأْخُذَ هَذِهِ الصَّدَقَةَ مِنْ أَغْنِيَائِنَا فَتَقْسِمَهَا عَلَى فُقَرَائِنَا فَقَالَ النَّبِىُّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – « اللَّهُمَّ نَعَمْ »

The man further said, “I ask you by Allah. Has Allah ordered you to take Saadaqah  (obligatory charity) from our rich people and distribute it amongst our poor people?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)replied, “By Allah, yes.”

And likewise the word Zakah is mentioned and refers to the obligatory yearly disbursement and is mentioned and implies general Sadaaqah.

In conclusion it can be inferred that the words Saadaqah and Zakah both carry the same meaning even though they are two different words. Also this shows you that there is distinction between the word Zakah– the obligatory fixed payment and the word Saadaqah- the voluntary payment from wealth, based on the context their mentioned. And Allah knows best.

Translated by: Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle

Doha, Qatar  3/16/1429  ©



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