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07 September 2018

What is Sadaqah Jariyah?

By Mufti Muhammad Ismail, Head of the Zakat Committee at Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) and Chairman of Muslim Hands South Africa

Sadaqah Jariyah means a continuous, flowing and ongoing charity. It is one of the most rewarding acts we can do in our lives as the benefits of giving this type of charity can be reaped in this lifetime and long after we have passed.

 Allah (swt) guarantees to record these continuous acts of charity in the following verse:

 “Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have accounted for in a clear register.” (Qur’an, 36:12)

 The following famous Hadith gives us the good news that even after our death, Sadaqah Jariyah continues to benefit us:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘When a person dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: Sadaqah Jariyah (a continuous charity), or knowledge from which benefit is gained, or a righteous child who prays for him’. (Muslim)

To put it simply, they both count as ‘Sadaqah’ (voluntary charity). However, ‘Sadaqah’ on its own will benefit the recipient on a single occasion and will count as one good deed for the giver. ‘Sadaqah Jariyah’ will benefit the recipients more than once and that good deed will continue rewarding you even after your death.

For example, giving someone something to eat is a Sadaqah and will benefit that person in that moment whereas building a well where people can regularly draw water is a Sadaqah Jariyah and will benefit people for generations to come and in turn will continue benefiting you in this life and the next in sha’ Allah.

There are numerous types of Sadaqah Jariyah but in the following hadith seven are mentioned by name:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra) who said, ‘the Prophet (saw) said, “Indeed, the rewards of his actions and good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: [1] knowledge which he taught and spread; [2] a righteous child whom he leaves behind; [3] a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; [4] or a masjid that he built; [5] or a house that he built for wayfarers; [6] a canal that he dug; [7] or charity that he gave from his wealth in his good health and life. [These deeds] will reach him after his death”’. (Ibn Majah)

At Muslim Hands, we offer a wide range of Sadaqah Jariyah projects to suit every budget. From education and water schemes, to orphan sponsorships and livelihood programmes, our Sadaqah Jariyah projects enable people to help themselves beyond the initial intervention, ensuring that both them and you reap the benefits for years to come in sha’ Allah.

One of the best things about Sadaqah Jariyah is that you can give on behalf of the deceased and benefit them directly without decreasing your own rewards. When you lose a loved one, there is nothing that can ever take their place and it is often very hard to find the perfect way to honour their memory. Giving a Sadaqah Jariyah is one of the best things you can do for a loved one and something that they can benefit greatly from.

This is clearly indicated in the following hadith when a companion’s (ra) mother passed away and he sought the beloved Prophet’s (saw) advice about what to do for her:

On the authority of Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah (ra) that he said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Umm (mother of) Sa‘d has died, so which charity is best?’ He [saw] replied, “Water (is best).” He said, ‘So he [ra] dug a well and said, “This (well) is for Umm Sa‘d”’. (Abu Dawud)

What also happens when we deliver our Sadaqah Jariyah projects is that the recipients make du’a in abundance on behalf of the donor. So, not only is the donor gaining reward for the project, they also benefit from the du’as made for them by strangers whom they’ve never even seen or met, Subhan Allah!

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