Is the money a person spends for his parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters regarded as infaq (charity)?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Infak means to spend the money or goods earned legitimately on needs and the things that the religion regards necessary or nice. 

All of the money a person spends on his parents, wife, children, brothers and sisters is regarded as infaq (charity).

"Infaq" has a chain (hierarchy) in itself in terms of its time and conditions. For instance, there are fard, (wajib) and mandub types of infaq; according to this classification, the first one in the fard list of "infaq" is zakah.

Man’s taking care of himself and his spending on his family is "infaq" that is fard in the second degree.

The third degree in the fard "infaq" is the spending on jihad.

All kinds of sadaqah are included in the mandub (nice and desired) part of "infaq". (Qurtubi, I/179)

However, it is also stated that "infaq" includes only the spending in the form of tabarru (tatawwu) and that it does not include zakah. However, the first view is more appropriate. (Razi, 2/3)

Let us see what is necessary to do regarding the issue in the light of the hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh):

Sadaqah to One’s Family:

“When a Muslim spends something on his family intending to receive Allah's reward, it is regarded as sadaqah for him." (Bukhari, Nafaqat 1; Muslim, Zakah 48)

"The money a person spends for himself and his family is sadaqah; he should start spending on his family first and look after his relatives." (Bukhari, Zakah 18; Muslim, Zakah 38, 95, 97; Abu Dawud, Zakah 46)

Sadaqah to One’s Wife:

“You will be rewarded for whatever you spend for Allah's sake even if it were a morsel which you put in your wife's mouth.“ (Bukhari, Iman 41; Muslim, Wasiyyah 5)

Moreover, a person’s sexual intercourse with his/her spouse is regarded as sadaqah:

“Some Companions said to the Prophet:

‘O Messenger of Allah! The rich have taken away all the reward. They observe prayer as we do; they keep the fast as we keep, and they give sadaqah/zakah out of their surplus riches.’ Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said:

‘Has Allah not prescribed for you a course by following which you can also do sadaqah? In every declaration of the glorification of Allah (Subhanallah) there is a sadaqah, and every takbir (Allahu Akbar) is a sadaqah, and every praise of Allah (Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah and every declaration that He is One (La illaha illallah) is a sadaqah, and enjoining what is good is a sadaqah, and forbidding what is evil is a sadaqah; and in man's sexual intercourse with his wife, there is a sadaqah.’ The Companions said:

‘O Messenger of Allah! Is there reward for a person who satisfies his sexual passion?’ The Prophet (pbuh) said:

'Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.'” (Muslim, Zakah 53; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, V/167-168)

Sadaqah to One’s Guest:

“Anybody who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgement should give his guest his reward."

The Companions asked: 'O Messenger of Allah! What is the reward of the guest?' The Prophet (pbuh) said:

"To be entertained generously for a day and a night. The guest has the right to be entertained for three days. If he stays longer, what he will be provided with will be regarded as sadaqah.” (Bukhari, Adab 31; Muslim, Luqata 14)

Sadaqah to All People and Animals:

“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and if a person or an animal or a bird eats from it, it is regarded as sadaqah for that Muslim.” (Bukhari, Harth wa Muzaraa 1; Muslim, Musaqah 12)

In short, it is possible to transform anything into a sadaqah. As a matter of fact, the following statement of the Prophet expresses it very clearly:

“It is necessary for man to give a sadaqah for every joint of his body every day:

- It is a sadaqah if you establish justice among people.
- It is a sadaqah if you assist a man to ride upon his animal or help him load his luggage upon it.
- It is a sadaqah if you say a good word.
- Every step that you take towards prayer is a sadaqah.
- It is a sadaqah if you remove harmful things from the pathway.”
(Bukhari, Sulh 11; Muslim, Zakah 56. See also Abu Dawud, Tatawwu 12)

“Smiling at your brother is a sadaqah.” (Tirmidhi, Birr 36)

On the other hand, a person who wants to give sadaqah should meet his needs and the needs of his family first. As Allah states, he should give sadaqah from "what is beyond his needs". (see al-Baqara 2/219; Bukhari, Zakah 18, Nafaqat 2)

It is not appropriate for a person who meets his needs and the needs of his family with difficulty to give his money away as sadaqah and to make his family members needy.

"Sadaqah given to a relative is regarded as twice more rewarding than sadaqah given to another person." (Tirmidhi, Zakah 26; Nasai, Zakah 82; Ibn Majah, Zakah 28)

Feeding the hungry (Bukhari, Iman 6, 20; Muslim, Iman 63) and giving food to people are among the most charitable deeds. (Tirmidhi, At'ima 45, Qiyamah 42)

INFAQ

Infaq means to spend the money or goods earned legitimately on needs and the things that the religion regards necessary or nice, to distribute the visible-invisible boons given by Allah as sustenance to others. It is an Arabic word but it is used by Muslims of all nations since it became a term. Its root in Arabic is na-fa-qa. It means “go out”, “leave”. The hole that a rabbit comes out is called "nafiqa", a person who exits belief or from whose heart belief exits is called a “munafiq”, the part of the trousers where the foot comes out is called "neyfaq", sustenance running out is called "infaq", and the tunnel, which is a place of coming out from the underground is called "nafaq". There is a relationship between the root and those words. The financial responsibility of a person to give to the people he is religiously obliged to take care of is called “nafaqa”; the relationship between the root and the meaning is clear.

As it can be understood from the definition of "infaq" that includes all of the meanings above, it also means to spread and teach the useful knowledge that one has. For instance, the following phrase at the beginning of the Quran describing the believers who attain salvation, "and spend out of what We have provided for them" (2/3) associates this meaning with "infaq" too. This verse is, in fact, remarkable in that it indicates the properties "infaq" needs to have: It is understood from the preposition "min = from" that the one who gives should give some of it, not all of it, which will cause him to be a poor person by wasting; it is understood from the word "ma = what" that it is necessary to give not only from material things but also from spiritual things like knowledge; it is understood from the phrase, "what We have provided for them" that there will be no feeling of rubbing it in and gratitude since one gives from what Allah has granted him; it is understood from the phrase "spend out (yunfiquna)" that they give for needs, not for other expenses and what they give is not a little but enough to meet a need; they are the real properties of "infaq". “Infaq”, which has all of those properties, has a chain (hierarchy) in itself in terms of its time and conditions. For instance, there are fard, (wajib) and mandub types of infaq; according to this classification, the first one in the fard list of "infaq" is zakah. Man’s taking care of himself and his spending on his family is "infaq" that is fard in the second degree. The third degree in the fard "infaq" is the spending on jihad. All kinds of sadaqah are included in the mandub (nice and desired) part of "infaq". (Qurtubi I/179) There are nearly two hundred verses in the Quran about the types of "infaq", which is a clear indicator of material transfer, movability of property, spreading the wealth, distribution of income and even wealth, transfer of money from those who have to those who do not have, in short, the dimensions of social justice; no makruh or haram type of "infaq" exists because this term is absolutely positive. Makruh or haram spending is not called "infaq" but “waste”, "extravagance", etc.

However, it is also stated that "infaq" includes only the spending in the form of tabarru (tatawwu) and that it does not include zakah. However, the first view is more appropriate. (Razi 2/3)

On the other hand, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explains the hierarchy of "infaq" in a hadith: Somebody went to the Prophet and asked, “I have one dinar. What shall I do with it?” He said, “Spend it for yourself.” He asked, “What if I have two dinars?” He said, “Spend it for your family.” He asked, “What if I have three dinars?” He said, “Spend it for your servants (employees).” He asked, “What if I have four dinars?” He said, “Spend it for your parents.” He asked, “What if I have five dinars?” He said, “Spend it for your relatives.” He asked, “What if I have six dinars?” He said, “Spend it in the way of Allah.” Verse 215 of the chapter of al-Baqara mentions a clearer order for this hierarchy: "They ask thee what they should spend (In charity). Say: Whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers..." Another hadith gives a different order based on different conditions for this classification: "The best money a person spends is the money for his family, for his mount in the way of Allah and for his friends in the way of Allah." The following is stated in another hadith: "Among one dinar you spend in the way of Allah (jihad), one dinar you give a poor person for sadaqah and one dinar you spend for your family, the one you spend for your family has the most thawab." (Qurtubi I/179)

All kinds of “infaq” are advised and encouraged in the hadiths of the Messenger of Allah with emphasis. He states that everybody should save himself by giving even a half date, that sadaqah will increase sustenance, lifespan and wealth, that it will stop Lord’s wrath, provide victory and bless one’s wealth. Besides, Allah states that whatever is given as infaq will be replaced by Allah. (34/39) The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) also states that the sustenance of a person who does not do “infaq” will be decreased, that generosity is of Allah’s ethics, that supporting the poor will prevent bad death and that sadaqah will prevent misfortunes like a lightning rod. To sum up, infaq is regarded as the second basic element of Islam, its “bridge” and the means of regulating the world. 

Questions on Islam

Author:
Questions on Islam
Subject Categories:
Read 476 times
In order to make a comment, please login or register