Deeds that are prescribed and deeds that are encouraged for the sake of Allah (SWT) are clearly distinct in Islam. Zakat is obligatory upon every Muslim. Whereas Sadaqah is an encouraged, voluntary deed. Most importantly, both earn the pleasure and reward of Allah (SWT), despite the difference between them.
Islam considers both an act of charity. However, performing Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is required of every Muslim to fulfil in each year of their life. This is as long as they have the capacity and meet the criterion.
Both share many differences as well as many commonalities. Essentially, each make a huge difference to the wellbeing of humanity.
Six differences between Zakat and Sadaqah:
- Zakat is obligatory. Whereas Sadaqah is voluntary.
- Zakat is performed once a year has passed over the zakatable assets. However, Sadaqah can be performed at any time.
- Only people who meet the eligibility criteria can receive Zakat donations. Whereas anyone can receive Sadaqah donations.
- A Muslim must be eligible to pay Zakat. However, this is not the case for donating Sadaqah.
- Zakat is a fixed amount (2.5%). Whereas with Sadaqah a Muslim can donate as much or as little as they wish.
- Sadaqah and Sadaqah Jariyah can be a means of ongoing reward for a Muslim who passes on from this world. Whereas Zakat is a charity you can only perform whilst alive.
Six commonalities between Zakat and Sadaqah:
- Both are acts of charity.
- A Muslim must have the specific intention to perform each of these acts for the sake of Allah (SWT).
- They both benefit those in need and society as a whole.
- Allah (SWT) loves both Sadaqah and Zakat deeds.
- They are acts that increase closeness to Allah (SWT).
- Both act as purification for the remainder of a Muslim’s wealth from which he spends.