Assalamualaikum ustaz. There are a lot of clothes and old items that my family and I no longer use. Is it permissible for me to donate them to others? I’m worried that my donation wouldn’t be accepted because the times and clothing are old.
Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.
Sadaqah (donation/giving in charity) means truth or sincere gift from a pure heart. While the terminology is stated by scholars to mean giving only to get closer to Allah and seek Allah SWT’s blessings. This is in line with the statement of Allah SWT:
إِن تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ ۖ وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۚ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
“If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you, and He will remove from you some of your misdeeds [thereby]. And Allah, with what you do, is [fully] Acquainted.” 
Syeikh al-Maraghi said: “If you give charity openly, then it is a good means of doing it for it set a good example for others to follow. Furthermore, zakat is one of the joints of Islam of which if he donates but kept his actions hidden, then those who refuse to pay their zakat will be anxious or concerned to do so. However, if you’re giving to the poor and needy quietly, then this is best, for it could prevent the attribute of riya’ (pretending virtuousness/show off). Moreover, it is in line with the explanation in hadiths and examples of the companions.” 
Giving donations generally include the sunnah and is obligatory. The obligatory is known as zakat.
There are numerous favours of Allah SWT on those who give in charity stated in al-Quran and hadiths of the Prophet PBUH. Among them is a statement of Allah SWT:
مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” 
It is clear evidence showing the immense rewards, where one charity results in 700 times of good for its doer. This is a general verse that includes any form of charity, regardless of whether it comes in the form of wealth, food and drink, clothing and others.
Furthermore, any form of charity given for Allah SWT will never result in a loss for its doer, consequently, he’ll receive rewards and profit as stated by Allah SWT:
وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
“But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it, and He is the best of providers.” 
Imam Abu Ja’far al-Thabari Rahimahullah when commenting on this verse said: And anything you spend o men in the road of obedience to Allah, then indeed, Allah will recompense them for you. 
Whereas the clearest evidence regarding the priority of donating clothes is based on a narration from Abu Umamah RA where Rasullullah PBUH said:
مَنْ لَبِسَ ثَوْبًا جَدِيدًا فَقَالَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي كَسَانِي مَا أُوَارِي بِهِ عَوْرَتِي وَأَتَجَمَّلُ بِهِ فِي حَيَاتِي . ثُمَّ عَمَدَ إِلَى الثَّوْبِ الَّذِي أَخْلَقَ أَوْ أَلْقَى فَتَصَدَّقَ بِهِ كَانَ فِي كَنَفِ اللَّهِ وَفِي حِفْظِ اللَّهِ وَفِي سِتْرِ اللَّهِ حَيًّا وَمَيِّتًا
“Praise be to God who has clothed me with something with which to cover my nakedness and adorn myself in my lifetime.” He then told that he had heard God’s messenger say that if anyone who puts on a new garment says, “Praise be to God who has clothed me with something with which to cover my nakedness and adorn myself in my lifetime,” then takes the old garment and gives it as sadaqa, he will be in God’s protection, guardianship and shelter both when alive and when dead.” 
According to the above question, we emphasize that although the items or clothing are old, however, if they are still functional and beneficial to the recipient, certainly the donation will be accepted as long as he is sincere in his charity. Indeed, the rewards for those who donate old clothing and items are great that it brings about good till after his death as stated. We also advise two matters:
- Try to find the best appropriate clothing to be donated.
- Find a recipient who is truly in need of the clothing.
We end this discussion with the supplication:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا ، وَرِزْقًا طَيِّبًا ، وَعَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً
“O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is of benefit, a good provision, and deeds that will be accepted.”
May Allah SWT gives us the correct understanding of our religion.