the sadaqah jar for grown ups

How Muslims Can Always Be Ready to Give

charity kids sadaqah sharing systems

In the aftermath of the most severe earthquake to hit Morocco in more than a century, an entire nation endures the weight of the seismic calamity.

In these moments, we feel a pull, a nudge, a call to extend a hand. We are like one body, the Prophet Muhammad reminded us, "When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with sleeplessness and fever.

On our phones, urgent donation alerts flash. Something within us tells us that we need to give. We didn't anticipate this just a day prior, but now, the imperative to give is clear.

This isn't the first time, nor will it be the last, that we encounter an unexpected call for donations. Natural disasters, international political unrest, emergency local community needs—they remind us of the unpredictable yet persistent need for generosity.

Meanwhile, much of our personal finance has a rhythm. Our income is deposited in monthly cycles, our bills have due dates, and our financial routines are often set. But the world's urgencies? They’re sporadic. They don't wait for payday or for our bank account to hit a particular balance. They demand immediate action.

So, how do we ensure that we are always ready to give?

In the past, I'd react haphazardly to the mismatch between the regularity of my personal finances and the unpredictability of emergency appeals. I'd rely on some fuzzy rationale to justify my mental accounting. Influenced by my emotions, I would make random estimations about how much I could donate.

That was the case until I stumbled upon the idea of a "Share Fund."

The Share Fund: A Grown-Up’s Sadaqah Jar

A Share Fund is a separate checking account at your bank, designated solely for one-time donation requests. It’s similar to a Sadaqah Jar many Muslim children keep - a simple container in which children collect small amounts of money intended for charitable giving. Having a Share Fund is a little more strategic than sporadically dropping coins into a jar, but it's equally a reservoir of goodwill, always ready to be deployed.

Here's how to set it up and use it:

Step 1 - Open a separate account

Open a separate checking account at your bank. Many banks allow you to add labels or nicknames to your accounts. Call this your Share Fund.

Step 2 - Automate transfers

Decide on a fixed amount, whether $10/month or $1000/month. The amount matters less than the intention and consistency. Automate transfers to this fund monthly. This is different from other regular donations we send directly to charities. Money allocated to your Share Fund is setting aside a portion of today's money for future giving.

Step 3 - Anchor giving

When you feel moved to donate, check the balance of the Share Fund. It provides a clear anchor for how much money you've set aside for these purposes.

The share fund is for both local and global one-time donations. If you are not giving to the cause monthly, use the Share Fund to determine how much you have to give.

Step 4 - Reflect and re-up

Periodically review the fund. If it feels lean, consider increasing the monthly allocation.

When you're blessed with unexpected or extra income, like a tax return, consider designating a portion of that to the Share Fund.

With a Share Fund, you can respond to one-time giving requests without second-guessing or overthinking. The funds are already set aside, waiting to be sent to important causes.


It's our responsibility to mindfully manage the money that God has entrusted to us. And setting up systems like a Share Fund helps us ensure that we're always ready to fulfill this trust, especially when our brothers and sisters need it most.

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Written by Farooq Maseehuddin

Farooq Maseehuddin (Muslim Money Guy) is a financial educator and writer. He holds both a Bachelor of Education (BEd.) and a Master of Education (MEd.) from the University of Alberta. He's been a high school teacher and Muslim community organizer for nearly two decades.

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