In Arabic, infaq literally means ‘to spend’ and fi sabilillah means ‘in the way of Allah’. So, Infaq fi sabilillah is spending in the way of Allah for achieving His goodwill and consent.

To categorize broadly, infaq fi sabilillah is of two types: infaq-e-wajiba and infaq-e-nafila. One of these is mandatory and the other type of spending is optional.

Infaq-e-wajiba is a religious obligation for all Muslims for which the Islamic terminology is zakat. The Sufis and Fakirs call it zakat-e-sharia i.e. the zakat of sharia. Ushr is also a part of it. On the other hand, infaq-e-nafila includes all kinds of alms and charitable donations that someone gives following the Sunna of Holy Prophet out of one’s own desire to please Allah. It is spending in the way of Allah without being under obligation. The Mystics and Saints call this is zakat-e-haqeeqi i.e. the zakat of dignity.