“Ramadan is the month of giving and mercy, and in it Allah blesses the believers with forgiveness and being saved from Hell fire. Therefore, whoever is merciful and giving in Ramadan, Allah will be even more Merciful and Giving, and will bestow upon him countless bounties and blessings.”
The Human race has come a long way. It has evolved not only in the technological and medical realms, but also in the social realm. As Human beings, we have an inbuilt inclination to assist each other. This quality is highly recommended in Islam which encourages giving charity and helping others. Charity is not only beneficial for those who receive it, but there also lays a great reward for the ones who give. It is essentially food for the soul and serves as a means of salvation as well.
The existence of countless starving, poor, hungry and destitute Muslims and non-Muslims in the world points to the need for the act of Charity being put into practice. Wealthy and prosperous Muslims may not realize how their wealth could strengthen and build whole communities. Giving has always brought out the best in people, and as the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: :
“Ramadan is an honorable and blessed month, and the rewards for generosity are multiplied in it”.
Charity in its Various Forms
Charity, in Islam, is not limited to its monetary aspect only. There are however, two most important categories of Charity:
- Zakat (obligatory charity)
- Sadaqa (voluntary charity)
“Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity.” (Bukhari)
Another Saying of The Prophet demonstrates the importance of every part of a person’s body in performing charity:
“A charity is due for every joint in each person on every day the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
Benefits of Giving Charity
A Protection From Calamity – Giving of one’s wealth in Charity is guaranteeing protection for oneself from tragedy and misfortune.
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
A Shade on the Day of Judgement – On the Day of Judgement, when the Sun will be close to the earth, when there will be no shade to protect from the scorching heat, God will shade and shelter those who gave out in Charity and cared for the poor.
“The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
The Freedom from Greed – Hoarding wealth and refraining from sharing it with the less fortunate in way of charity makes it difficult for one to let go of their worldly possessions . It is said that depriving the needy of even the smallest act of kindness may come back to haunt the greedy someday.
“Avoid doing injustice to others, for on the Day of Judgment, it will turn into manifold darkness, and safeguard yourself against miserliness, for it ruined those who were before you. It incited them to murder and treating the unlawful as lawful.” (Muslim)
Better to Give Than To Take – It is always better to give charity than to receive it. Always make sure that the funds that have been collected for the needy should go to the needy, even if you are in dire need of the same. Rest assured that if you give out charity, even when you cannot afford it, God will provide for you and will make you self-reliant.
“The upper hand is better than the lower hand (he who gives is better than him who takes). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient.” (Al-Bukhari)
Relieving a person in Debt is Charity – It is considered an act of charity, if someone owes you money, and you give the debtor more time to pay back his loan, or even cancel out the person’s debt.
“If anyone would like Allah to save him from the hardships of the Day of Resurrection, he should give more time to his debtor who is short of money, or remit his debt altogether.” (Muslim)
Helping Family in Need – Charity begins at home. If there is a family member that is in need, then it is acceptable to give one’s charity to one’s own family.
“To give something to a poor man brings one reward, while giving the same to a needy relation brings two: one for charity and the other for respecting the family ties.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Charity That Keeps On Giving (Sadaqa Jariya) – If a person performs an act of Charity that will continue to benefit the recipient(s), the giver of that charity will continue to receive blessings for the single act of charity for as long as it continues to benefit others (even after that person has passed away). This is known as Sadaqa Jariyah, or Perpetual Charity.
“When a person dies his works end, except for three: ongoing charity, knowledge that is benefited from, and a righteous child who prays for him.” (Muslim, Al-Tirmidhi, others)
Charity serves as a way to bring justice, balance and kindness to every society and community. It unites people of all faiths while building bridges to reach out to the less fortunate. It is my prayer that the Muslim and non-Muslim community fulfills their charitable duty correctly and does their part to eliminating poverty in communities everywhere.
“Charity is never obligatory it is always additional. There’s no twisting your arm to do good.”