Have a soft spot for animals? Make sure to always state you're good intentions within your niyyat whenever you're giving sadaqah or your food as doing so will bring you a lot of blessings. Read on to discover more!
Sadaqah may be familiar to Muslims as a form of voluntary charity of giving something from one’s possession without expecting any returns or with intention of pleasing Allah. Therefore, a sadaqah must be done sincerely with goodwill in helping someone who needed it by the benefactor. With a niyyat in helping others under the name of Allah, giving sadaqah is also an honorable behavior as it also pushes the society to be a better and balanced society, where being generous and doing something good is not something that should be hard to do.
Sadaqah can also come in different types and not in a form of money, administering justice, removing harm to others, guiding someone, supporting the weak, and even as simple as a simple would be counted as sadaqah. Therefore, with the simplest things that could benefit others being counted as sadaqah, the possibilities for someone to do sadaqah are endless.
While it is common to help other human beings or Muslims, helping animals such as giving them food may also be counted as sadaqah. Allah loves His beings that care for His other beings, and animals are not an exception. In some of the hadiths, it is stated that "For every alms given to creatures who have a living heart, you will get a good reward. A Muslim who grows plants which are then eaten by birds, humans, or animals, then it would be counted as charity for him." (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim).
This was also an action that Prophet Muhammad PBUH had set as an example for other human beings to follow. Where in another hadith it was stated that the Prophet was once asked by a friend, "Is doing good to animals for us any reward?" Then Rasulullah said, "In every living thing there is a reward." (Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim). The Prophet also used to feed and adopt stray cats during his life as an example that all of Allah’s living being deserves the best life. Therefore, giving sadaqah to animals with a great niyyat/intention from our own possessions is one of the forms that we can do in order to get closer to Allah and become better human beings.
As sadaqah may be given in different types of forms, feeding stray animals, giving them a place to temporarily shelter or a proper home, and even donating money to institutions that could help the efforts would be something that you can do if done with pure intention. There would be no minimum amount required as the niyyat is to help His other beings.
However, it would also be better to help animals who needed help without favoring one over the other. Therefore, whether it's a cat, dog, or another animal form, it would be best to try helping them whenever you can when they needed it as it was also stated by Rasulullah that a reward awaits by loving every living creature. By doing so, hopefully, it is a form of Allah’s help that is done and reached through you to these animals who are in need of help. InshAllah He will also forgive your sin.
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍۢ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍۢ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَـٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ (٢٦١)
The example of those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah is that of a grain that sprouts into seven ears, each bearing one hundred grains. And Allah multiplies ˹the reward even more˺ to whoever He wills. For Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.
On this Quranic verse, it could be concluded that with His permission, every alms that a Muslim did in the name of Allah would then be multiplied in some form of reward or blessings, according to the things that he or she had sacrificed or given through the sadaqah. Again, sadaqah must not be done with the intention of pleasing Allah or expecting His returns. The sincere intention of helping others should always come first and His blessings should only be seen as a reward that might come if you deserved one.
No good deed ever goes wasted and a good deed is the best prayer, InshAllah by doing so you'll be filled with His blessings. Amin.