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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What is the Importance of Charity in Islam


Charity is one of the main pillars of Islam to ensure sustenance of those who cannot make their ends meet. Thus by means of charity those who have been blessed with wealth can look after those who cannot live a life and sustain their families. In fact, in Islam, charity is a way to bring balance in society, among poor and the riches. Charity thus is a responsibility of every Muslim to share his wealth with his poor Muslim brethren so that they too could live their lives comfortably. By sacrificing part of one’s wealth and giving it in charity, an individual can not only help in aiding needy from tragedy and misfortune, but can also hope to be protected from difficult times.

In the Holy Qur'an the Divine commandment reads:
“Those who spend their wealth in Allah’s cause are like grains of corn which produce seven ears, each bearing a hundred grains.” (Surah Al Baqarah, 2:261)
Zakat is an obligatory charity incumbent upon all those who earn wealth up to a certain threshold level or have gold, silver or property which is above a prescribed limit, which must be given to the state for equal distribution among the needy. Zakat amounts to 2.5% of all net yearly savings which includes the worth of jewelery. 

However, one must NOT restrict oneself to obligatory charity only, rather one who has any amount above one's needs should give away charity in the name of Allah to those who need it badly more than one himself. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), though hard pressed himself many a times, did not restrict his giving hand and always tried to help the poor Muslims around him. The Prophet of Allah has been oft quoted as saying: 
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
“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) 
Even 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)
Even a glass of drinking water to your thirsty brother is charity. 
The above hadith says it all. One doesn't have to be rich to give charity; even smiling at one's brother can be a charity or even removing a hurdle from a thoroughfare with the intention of paving way for others also comes under the purview of charity. And every act done to help other will have a reward in the hereafter. The Prophet said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi).




So this is the spirit of giving charity in Islam that paves way to bring financial justice in any Muslim society. In one case one of the the governors in Caliph Umer's time started sending the money collected through zakat to the central treasury. The Caliph got annoyed on such reimbursement and asked the governor as to why he was not spending the charity money on his own people. The governor replied that he had been doing so but those receiving the charity have become so well off that they have themselves started giving charity. Sine there was no more people to be given charity to, he was reimbursing the surplus money so that it could be sued elsewhere. 

This is the very concept and philosophy of charity in Islam, which teaches us to look after each other, should make our giving hands always expendable to the poor and be thankful to Allah for being so fortunate that they are in a position to help others rather than always vying to fill up our coffers. and such acts of charity should be done quietly without boasting one's act of giving away as a show off of ones wealth. Rather such acts be undertaken in extreme humbleness for the rewards rests with Allah and no one else.
"O believers! Void not your charities by boasting of your favours conferred and injuring, like him who spent his wealth for showing to people and believes not in Allah and Last Day. Then the example of him is like that of a smooth rock on which is dust of earth; now a heavy rain fell upon it leaving it a bare stone. They shall have no control on anything of what they have earned and Allah guides not the infidels."[Surah Al Baqarah 2: 264]
There are many charity organizations around the world which receive charity, whether obligatory (zakat) or voluntary, and spend on the welfare of poor in some down trodden areas and even the war torn countries of the Muslim world. Some are doing very notable and admirable job. However, care must be taken to not to give charity to organizations which support terrorism, for supporting terrorism has never been propagated by Islam.

Recently I came across a video I am sharing below of a woman in Pakistan, who is sustaining poor people entirely on her own for last 35 years - something that I haven't seen well to do people who have money that can feed thousands of people everyday. These are the people who have their rewards resting with Allah and will be honoured for their charitable acts merely to please Allah and serve His people. 


Watch in wonder how this woman feeds hundreds of hungry people from her home, watch the video below with English captions:



Remember, it's not too late, we should be giving - give it a try !!

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
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