What Can One Give to Charity?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I am currently a stay-at-home mom with one child and my husband. I have inherited money that I keep as my savings, but I do not have an income. Sometimes I want to buy things for others as a form of charity (sadaqa); however, I am not sure as to whether this is extravagant spending as to the notion that what I spend, I cannot earn back at the moment.

I know that the man is the one who is obliged to provide for the family; however, I get confused about what is considered extravagant spending for a woman who has money saved aside but without an income.

Can I spend in charity from my savings for others, considering that my husband is working and able to provide for us at the moment?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

What you described is a noble action and not extravagant spending. As a woman, you are not financially responsible for supporting your family and have the right to spend your money as you deem fit (in lawful ways). Allah knows best.

Charity is Always Recommended

Giving voluntary charity is recommended at all times. It is unlawful to give as charity money needed to support one’s dependents or to pay a debt that is currently due (because supporting one’s dependents or paying a current debt are obligatory, and obligatory acts take precedence over recommended ones). [Misri, ‘Umdat al-Salik]

It is recommended to give away in charity everything one owns that is in excess of personal expenses and the expenses that one is obliged to support, provided one can be patient with the resultant poverty. But if one cannot be patient, it is offensive to give away what is more than one’s needs. Allah knows best. [ibid.]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.