The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said in an authentic hadith: ‘When a person dies, his deeds come to an end except for three: sadaqa jariyah, beneficial knowledge, and a righteous child who prays for him.’
What is Sadaqah Jariyah?
The sadaqa jariya meaning is refers to any form of charity in which the benefit continues indefinitely, such as building a mosque, digging a well, or other similar acts.
It is like a flowing river that never stops, with the rewards of this charity continuing both during the donor’s lifetime and after their death. This is why Muslims love to give sadaqa jariyah on behalf of their parents, for the deceased, or even for themselves.
Waqf as a Sadaqa Jariyah
One form of charity in Islam that is considered sadaqa jariyah is waqf. It involves dedicating certain funds or assets, such as land, for the benefit of people without reclaiming them.
Narrated by Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him: Umar acquired some land in Khaybar, and he came to the Prophet, peace be upon him, seeking his advice. Umar said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have acquired some land in Khaybar, and I have never acquired any wealth that is dearer to me than it.
Should I give it away in charity?’ The Prophet replied, ‘If you wish, you may keep its original value and give its fruits in charity.’ Umar then gave it in charity, stating that it cannot be sold, inherited, or given as a gift.
He gave it as charity to the poor, relatives, slaves, in the cause of Allah, to travelers, and to guests. The one who administers it may eat from it fairly and feed an unaccompanied friend without compensation.’ (Muttafaqun Alayh, agreed upon by Bukhari and Muslim)
Forms of Waqf
Muslims today have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of others by donating to a Waqf that continues to have a lasting effect as sadaqa jariyah. Some forms of waqf include contributing to improving someone’s life by providing a source of income, donating to restore sight or hearing to a person, sponsoring an orphan or a student, or donating to enhance infrastructure in impoverished villages.