Is it necessary to give sadaqah again if it is not given to a person who is in need?

The Details of the Question

- Is it necessary to give sadaqah again if the person who gives sadaqah finds out that the person to whom he gave sadaqah does not deserve it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It is not necessary to give sadaqah that is given as a voluntary donation and that is not fard or wajib again.  

A Muslim gets the reward of sadaqah no matter to whom he gives it.

However, it is better for such a person to give sadaqah again if he is well-off.

As a matter of fact, according to what is reported from Abu Hurayra, the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him stated the following:

“Once, a man said,

- I will give sadaqah. He went out with his sadaqah and unknowingly gave it to a thief. The next day, people said,

- Oh! A thief was given a sadaqah last night. The man said,

- O Allah! Praise be to You. I will give sadaqah again. Then, he went out again with his sadaqah and gave it to a prostitute! The next day, people said,

- Unbelievable! A prostitute was given a sadaqah last night. The man said,

- O Allah! Praise be to You that I gave sadaqah to a prostitute. I will give sadaqah again. Then, he went out again with his sadaqah and gave it to a rich person. The next day, people said,

- How strange! A rich person was given a sadaqah last night. The man said,

- O Allah! Praise be to You that I gave sadaqah to a thief, a prostitute and a rich person.

The man was addressed as follows in his dream:

- The sadaqah you gave to the thief might make him abstain from stealing. It might make the prostitute abstain from what she does and cause her to become a chaste woman. The rich person might take a lesson from it and spend his wealth, which Allah has given him, on the needy people.” (Bukhari, Zakah 14; Muslim, Zakah 78)

It is understood from other narrations that this incident took place during the time of Sons of Israel. The fact that the sadaqah given to the thief, the prostitute and the rich astonished people greatly shows that at that time sadaqah were given only to the needy people who were religious.

The fact that the sadaqahs given by the man were accepted by Allah show that Allah the criterion of God Almighty related to accepting sadaqah has never changed and that even if a sadaqah given with good intentions goes to someone who does not deserve it, Allah will accept it. Even if an act done with good intentions leads to a wrong result, God Almighty will look at the sincerity of the servant and accept the good deeds done for His sake.

In addition, attention is attracted to another effect of charity given for the sake of Allah on people in the hadith.

A person to whom sadaqah is given and who is on the wrong path will evaluate his situation in the face of this goodness, will realize that the path he has taken is wrong, and will return to the true path with Allah's help if he is a sane person. That is why, it is stated that sadaqah given to a thief, a prostitute and a rich person at night being unaware of who they are will have a good effect on them.

As it is valid in every era, some people today resort to bad deeds such as theft and prostitution for sustenance or for the people they have to look after.

If wealthy people who have been granted the grace and benevolence of God Almighty take care of the poor and needy people around them and "distribute the wealth that Allah has given them to the needy" as it is stated in the hadith, many problems will be solved before they occur and many good people will save their honor and chastity from being harmed.

The issue of giving sadaqah secretly is important for both the taker and the giver. Giving financial aid to the poor in their homes as some philanthropists do today and hence not showing the aid to anyone, first of all, will save the poor and the needy from begging. On the other hand, the person who does charity benefits from his help spiritually as the danger of show off will disappear.

When the benevolent man from Sons of Israel saw that the sadaqahs he gave did not go to the people who deserved them - according to him - he praised Allah; thus, he wanted to say, “O Allah! Whatever happened happened based on Your will, not my will. Everything you do has a reason.” Thus, he stated that he consented to divine predestination. Accordingly,

- It is very valuable to do deeds for the sake of Allah and to give sadaqah secretly.

- Even if the sadaqah given with good intentions does not go to proper people, Allah will accept it.

- When a person realizes that the sadaqah he has given has not reached the people who need it, he can give sadaqah again if he is well-off.

- Everyone should submit to the destiny designed by Allah and know that nothing can be done against His will.

- It is not necessary to look for a good man to do a good deed.

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