الصدقة Sadaqa is the values, the taxes, received for the public as revenues in return of a public service (Benefit theory) or by means of seizure, as the case may be (Power theory).
Sadaqa was called “sadaqa” because it shows the loyalty of the believers in following the orders of Allah. The plural form of the word is الصدقات sadaqat.
Sadaqa is taken from all the citizens whether they are believers, non-believers, Muslims or Jews. Zaqah/tax is given only by the believers. The reason for this is that if a foreign support comes for maintaining of the statehood of the believers, deception takes place and that state becomes destined to corruption, the existence and continuation of the state and the freedom of the individuals are endangered.
Content and legitimacy of sadaqa are expressly stated in the following ayat:
Surah At-Tawbah 103 :
103Take sadaqa/public revenue from their wealth so you may purify them by sadaqa/public revenue. And support them. Surely, your support is reassurance for them. Allah is the One Who hears best, knows best.
Surah Al-Mujadila 12, 13 :
12O you who have believed! When you whisper with the Messenger [when you have a private conversation with him/receive special service], give sadaqa/public revenue before your conversation. This is better and purer for you. If you are not able to find anything despite this, then Allah is definitely the One Who forgives much and shows great mercy.
13Are you afraid of giving sadaqa/public revenue before your private conversation? And, you did not do it. And Allah accepted your conscious repentance. Then establish Salah [establish and maintain the institutions that support financially and spiritually; enlighten the community], give zaqah/tax, obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is the One Who is all aware of what you do.
Sadaqa –as can be seen in the ayat of sadaqa– is real and cash values spent for the public services. What is mentioned here is not an help provided personally to the prophet because, as all the prophets, it was prohibited for our prophet as well to receive a fee, a sadaqa.
In these ayat, some certain principles regarding the relations with the public officials are stipulated. Those who have a specific demand from the public must give sadaqa (an example of charges received for the services in the current state offices). This way, along with the settlement of private disputes, revenues for giving the needy people and for general affairs will be obtained.
- From the expression at the end of the ayah, “This is better and purer for you. If you are not able to find anything despite this, then Allah is definitely the One Who forgives much and shows great mercy.”; it is understood that giving sadaqa is not an obligation but a recommendation to exercise and train the believing Muslims who were in the absorption process.
Financial support to the public for the maintenance and continuation of the state is essential.
HAVAIC AL-ASLIYAH (A Person’s Mandatory Needs)
As in modern taxation, taxes are received by the state in Islam as well. The state of the believers must not endanger the taxpayers by receiving excess taxes and the state by receiving inadequate taxes.
Allah qualified a particular amount of the properties as “those that maintain/those that make you survive” and stated that He did not want such amount:
Surah An-Nisa 5 :
5And do not give to those immature orphans/who are not yet able to distinguish between good and evil your wealth which Allah has given to you so you may sustain. And provide for them from that wealth and clothe them. And speak to them in a way that is acceptable for all.
Surah Muhammad 36 :
36Surely, this simple life in the world is only diversion and amusement. If you believe and enter under the guardianship of Allah, Allah will give you your rewards, will not ask you for your wealth.
Havaic al-asliyah will be determined in the light of these ayat. It is an obligation to reevaluate the past determinations. For example, what kind of domicile it will be? A shanty house, apartment etc. Or a house in a village or a house in a town. None of these is same as one another in terms of values. The values of the houses in towns always differ according to the street and the neighborhood from each other. If the mount will be replaced by an automobile, what kind of automobile would that be? Automobiles are also in different values according to their brands and models or even their ages.
In addition, it will be seen if paid attention that, this appraisal has been made taking the Bedouin/nomad, animal-breeding lifestyles, and the lifestyle of the people that carry out simple trade in towns into account. None of the current vocational groups are present.
Scale of wealth is variable. A person considered to be rich this year might not be considered so next year even if he/she has the same wealth. A person deemed to be rich in a country may not be deemed rich in another country with the same property holding. Once in Arabia, two hundred dirham of silver or approximately one hundred grams of gold or five camels or forty sheeps were taken into account as the indicator of richness after mandatory needs, None of those are any indicator for richness of a person in present times. In addition, the articles we stated above had equal values at that time and there is no equality between them today. That is to say, one hundred grams of gold will neither buy five camels nor forty sheeps. You can compare the rest. Richness is a relative concept which varies constantly.
The Prophet ascertained a scale of wealth taking the economical, social, political and geographical conditions in his period into account (there are sufficient explanations in the Islamic law books, which can be learned through a scrutiny) but the criteria for wealth in that time does neither indicate richness today nor has indicated for centuries. At that time, it was considered to be rich when somebody had five camels, forty sheeps, 200 dirham=640 grams of silver or 100 grams of gold. Today, you are not considered rich when you have them.
Hence, in this age and in any age, the believers must determine scale of wealth according to the regions in which they live and to the conditions of such region. It is wrong today to act through determinations made according to the economical, social, political and geographical conditions of Arabia of one thousand five hundred years ago.
To Whom is Sadaqa given?
Another form of infaq/aid is sadaqa. Those who are to be given sadaqa were explained in the Qur’an by Allah, not being left to the judicial opinion of the servants.
Surah Al-Baqara 271 :
271And if you give sadaqa openly, then it is good; but if you conceal them, give them to the poor, then, this is better for you and it will make some of your sins to be removed. And Allah is aware of that which you do.
Surah Ar-Rum 37, 38 :
37Have they not seen that Allah extends provision for whomever He wills and manages it? Indeed, there are evidences/signs in this for a people who will believe.
38Then give the poor who were driven out from their lands, the needy and the travelers their right. This is better for those who desire the countenance of Allah. And they are the ones who maintain their status, succeed.
Surah At-Tawbah 60 :
60Truly, as an allocation/an obligation from Allah, the sadaqa/public revenues are only for the poor, the needy/the unemployed, the officials who work for that matter/public servants, those whose hearts to be encouraged to Islam, unfree slaves, those in heavy debt, those in the path of Allah [soldiers, students and teachers] and the stranded travelers. Allah is the One Who knows all best, the One Who is the best law maker.
When the catechism and Islamic law books are inspected, we see that the areas to which the sadaqa is given are mentioned in seven classes as the poor, needy, debtors, travelers, chartered slaves, combatants and agents. However, in the Surah At-Tawbah 60, we see that there is also a muallafa al-kulup class. Who are they then? Why is not this class specified in the Islamic law books?
القلوب مئلفة Muallafa al-kulup:
The word of “Muallafa al- kulup” is a noun phrase consisting of the words of “مئلف muallaf ” and “القلوب kulup (hearts) ”
The word of “قلوب Kulup ” is the plural of “kalp” (heart), meaning “hearts”. When attributed to a person, metaphor takes place since a person has only one heart. And it is used with the meaning of “beliefs, thoughts”. Here, it has the metaphor meaning of “hearts; beliefs, understandings, thoughts”.
The word of “مئلف Muallaf ” is one of the derivatives of the word of “ulfet; coalescence, reach, meeting” and it means “a convened, and coalesced person” .
“الف elf (number thousand)”, one of the derivatives of the word, is the bunch of figures formed by means of convening and merging of some numbers (1, 2, 3…. 20, 20, 30, …. 100, 200, 300 …). The rope or tether formed by bringing small fibers (of cotton, silk, wool, etc.) and wrapping them together is called “حبل مئلف habl al-muallaf”. Similarly, a person who writes a book by bringing together and combining original information and views is called “ مئلِف muallif ”, which is also one of the derivatives of the same root.
We can see the infinitive and verb forms of the word in the Surah Ali-Imran 103, Surah Al-Anfal 63, Surah An-Nur 43, Surah At-Tawbah 60, and Surah Quraysh 1, 2.
In a nutshell, the literal meaning of the word of “Muallafa al-kulup” is defined as the “persons whose views, thoughts have been brought closer and coalesced to each other” while it means terminologically: “The persons who are not yet believers, who tend to understand and internalize Islam and for whom direct or indirect endeavor is to be exhibited so they may come to Islam. They are the persons who will be made to warm up to Islam in order to be a believer by granting money, eliminating their losses”.
In fact the “muallafa al-kulup” does not mean ‘the trouble some persons from whose malice and damages, a safety will be sought. It means “the persons in all ages, whose hearts would be made warm up to Islam; who will be brought and introduced to the belief, Islam and the Qur’an. There are so many humans to which the Qur’an and Islam will be brought and introduced and so many ways to reach them and make their hearts warm up (trips, camps, schools, conferences, translation of the Qur’an in many languages, media, use of espionage etc.) that it is not possible to count them all.
In the initial periods of Islam, a share from the sadaqa (from public revenues) was given to them as an order of Allah for assuring their damages. But, during the caliphate of Caliph Omar, a resolution was passed that “A share from the sadaqa to them was given during the period in which the believers were weak. We are now strong. No sadaqa will be granted to this group henceforth” (maybe there were only them during the period of Omar) and from that day on, granting sadaqa to this group was excluded from the books.
Sadaqa is disposed through the principles of “Property belongs to Allah and the believers are brothers.” In this disposal, equal distribution is not taken into account. Measures of fairness and justice are considered for equal well-being of everyone and the distribution and expansion of wealth.
Surah Al-Hashr 7,8 :
7,8And the Fai [revenues yielded without fighting and making any effort] Allah has given to His Messenger from the people of that city belong to Allah, the Messenger, those poor who have immigrated – and they have been expelled out of their lands and deprived of their wealth while seeking for the bounty and acceptance of Allah, and they help Allah and His Messenger. They are the ones who are the righteous-, orphans, the needy and travelers so the luxury brought by the power; the authority will not only be for the rich among you. Whatever the Messenger has given you, take it immediately. And whatever he has forbidden you, turn away from it. And enter under the guardianship of Allah. Indeed, Allah is the One Whose punishment/penalty is very severe.