Forms of Charity

There are many forms of charity in Islam, some being Zakat and Sadaqah. Did you know smiling is also a form of charity? It is a sunnah practice that our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to do, and we should do so, too.



Zakat is a compulsory form of charity, and it consists of giving 2.5% of your wealth to charity every year. Zakat must be paid on gold, silver, stock, shares and cash – any valuable assets.

To be eligible to give Zakat, one must be Muslim, adult, sane and have enough wealth to do so. This is called Nisab – the minimum amount of wealth needed to be considered wealthy.

While there are requirements for whom Zakat is compulsory, there are also conditions for who can receive Zakat. There are eight categories of people who can receive Zakat:

  1. Faqir – a person who has wealth but less than Nisab.
  2. Miskin – a person who has no wealth at all, such as a homeless person or refugee.
  3. Mukatab – an enslaved person working to free themselves.
  4. A person in debt – debt takes a person below Nisab.
  5. A soldier who has been cut off from his troop.
  6. A pilgrim who has been cut off from his group.
  7. Wayfarer – someone wealthy at home but has no wealth while travelling.

One who works as a state Zakat collector – they can take a wage from it. Not applicable to most Muslim charities in the West.


Who Can Not Receive Zakat?

  • Non-Muslims.
  • Someone who possesses Nisab.
  • Descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  • One’s parents or grandparents.
  • One’s spouse.
  • One’s children or grandchildren.
  • An enslaved person, even when working to free themselves (unless Mukatab).
  • A partially formerly enslaved person.
  • The shroud of the deceased.
  • The debt of the deceased.

You can give your Zakat to many Islamic charities, including Orphans in Need.



Sadaqah is a voluntary form of charity that can be given at any time and to any person or cause.

These are not necessarily acts of physical charity, like donating money, but can be other actions, including the following:

      • Feeding a homeless person.
      • Paying for someone’s groceries.
      • Feeding a hungry or thirsty animal.
      • Removing a harmful object from the road.
      • Helping an older adult cross the road.
      • Carrying someone’s bag for them.
      • Using kind and polite language.
      • Smiling – it’s sunnah!

These are the easiest forms of charity to perform and often cost nothing!

Sadaqah Jariyah

    • refers to acts of charity that have ongoing benefits and, hence, ongoing rewards:

      • Plant a tree – you will get a reward for anyone who eats from it or takes shade under it.
      • Donating a wheelchair to a hospital.
      • Bringing up righteous children who pray for you.
      • Build a well to provide water.
      • Sponsor or adopt an orphan.

Give Sadaqah with Orphans in Need today.


The Importance of Giving Charity

Giving charity in Islam is so important and is a recommended practice to do often. It is a means of helping others; no matter how small or what form of charity it is, it can have a big impact and help other people greatly. Not to mention, your acts of charity can be a form of Dawah and encourage people to become Muslim or look into Islam.

Ultimately, our wealth is a test and a trust from Allah (SWT) – we should use it in the best ways, like helping others as much as we can and knowing that Allah (SWT) will provide for you when you help other people.

Hadiths on Giving Charity

The Prophet, (peace be upon him): “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet, (peace be upon him): “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet, (peace be upon him): “Do not show lethargy or negligence in giving alms and charity till your last breath.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

The Prophet, (peace be upon him): “A charity is due for every joint in each person on every day the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), “Protect yourself from hellfire even by giving a piece of date as charity.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


Donate to Orphans in Need

Practice giving charity by donating to Orphans in Need today. Your donations can help people all around the world, including those in India, Bangladesh, the Gambia, Palestine, Somalia, Senegal, and Pakistan.