Philanthropy in Islam

sduncan post on January 29th, 2013
Posted in Middle East Tags: ,

By Melissa Pimenta

Islam is the second largest religion in the world and still growing. There are five pillars which are obligatory acts of worship: The Testimony of Faith, Prayer, Giving Zakat, Fasting the Month of Ramadan, and The Pilgrimage to Makkah. (Leslie, 2010)

The third pillar is Zakat which means “purification” and “growth”. Giving zakat means “giving a specified percentage on certain properties to certain classes of needy people”. It is required that every year 2.5% of one’s wealth is given away to the poor and needy. (Pennington, 2009) This may be in form of gold, silver, cash, stocks, bonds, live stock etc. (Leslie, 2010) In regard to gold, silver, and currencies Prophet Mohammad stated that the Nisaab amount, which is the minimum wealth that one must hold for one year is equivalent to 85 grams of pure gold. (Pennington, 2009) Zakat is to eliminate greed and selfishness and to help those in their community in need. Many poor communities and people rely on Zakat received, if Zakat is paid regularly their will be no distinction between the wealthy and poor. (El-Khouly, 2004) Zakat makes Islam the first welfare system in history that redistributes part of the wealth of the rich among the poor as a way to achieve social justice. (Pennington, 2009)

Sadaqah on the other hand is voluntary charity, it is for those who would like to give more than their obligatory Zakat. It is used sometimes as a way of bringing blessings to special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries or times of sadness. (Ghazaali, 2009) An example of when Muslims are most likely to give sasaqah is during Ramadan which is the holiest month to give to those in need. It is also emphasized to give sadaqah in secrecy as this makes sure that those receiving their feelings are respected as well as there identity is kept secret. (Ghazaali, 2009) Also the other difference from Zakat is there is no specific amount that needs to be given.

Works Cited

Dindang, N. Ways and Virtues of Sadaqah. Retrieved from

El-Khouly, E. (2004). Zakah: Connecting Humanity. Retrieved from

Ghazaali, I (2009). What is Sadaqah? Retrieved from

Leslie, L (2010). Ramadan and charity: What is Zakat?. Retrieved from

Pennington, R (2009) Charitable Giving: The practice of Zakat. Retrieved from

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