What is Sadaqah?
Sadaqah (giving in charity) is a deed designed to eliminate the spiritual malady of miserliness. But because the heart of the giver is not immune from show and insincerity, it has been emphasized that Sadaqah should always be given secretly. Certainly, Riyaa (ostentation) and miserliness are both very destructive diseases and Sadaqah that is rendered secretly is a powerful remedy for them.
Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is a virtuous deed in Islam. In fact, it is considered as a proof of one’s eeman (faith).
Abu Malik al-Ashari (r.a.) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Cleanliness is half of faith. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth. Prayer is a light. Charity is proof (of one’s faith). Endurance is brightness and the Qur’an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves.” (Muslim, 432)
A Cure for a Malady
A simple technique to eradicate such disease is to regard the needy as your benefactor, for he has become the cause of absolving you from your obligation and replacing the evil disease of miserliness with generosity.
Because Zakah and Sadaqah have been imposed to root out the undesirable malady of miserliness, the Prophet ﷺ, considering the object of its imposition would never bring the money of such funds into personal use. He would explain that this is the dirt of (people’s) wealth. Hence the Muslim who has become instrumental in washing away the dirt accumulated in your wealth has rendered you a favour and not vice versa.
What will your conception be of a surgeon who wishes to operate free of charge? People pay large amounts of money to get their physical ailments removed. Why then are we not grateful to those who remove our spiritual diseases without even charging us a single penny. Moreover, the physical ailments are of a transient nature and will at the most, result in death, whereas the spiritual ones have far reaching effects that will accompany the person in the afterlife too.
Because Zakah and Sadaqah play a chief role in fulfilling the needs of the poor and eliminating starvation from the world, this is also regarded as a pillar of Islam.