Tuesday 20 October 2020

Charity: Who to Give?

Man is always finding excuses when it comes to spend or sacrifice in the name of Allah. Remember the anecdote in Surah al Baqarah (The Cow) when the Israelites were asked by Prophet Musa (Moses, peace be upon him) that they should sacrifice a cow to find a murderer of an innocent. And the reluctant  Israelites asked Prophet Moses umpteen number of questions as to how the cow should look like, its age, colour and its health. And it was after number of irritating and tiring questions did they finally agree to slaughter a cow.

Likewise, when it comes to charity, knowing fully well who is a deserving case for charity and Zakat, even believers want some concrete answers and guidelines to "facilitate" their decision to spend in the way of Allah. In fact such question arise in the minds of hypocrites and believers weak in faith who still love worldly wealth more than to spend it to please Allah. Here in this 215th verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah, Allah responds to one such question:

يَسۡـئَلُوۡنَكَ مَاذَا يُنۡفِقُوۡنَ ؕ قُلۡ مَآ اَنۡفَقۡتُمۡ مِّنۡ خَيۡرٍ فَلِلۡوَالِدَيۡنِ وَالۡاَقۡرَبِيۡنَ وَالۡيَتٰمٰى وَالۡمَسٰكِيۡنِ وَابۡنِ السَّبِيۡلِ​ؕ وَمَا تَفۡعَلُوۡا مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ بِهٖ عَلِيۡمٌ‏ 
People ask you what they should spend. Say: “Whatever wealth you spend let it be for your parents and kinsmen, the orphans, the needy and the wayfarer; Allah is aware of whatever good you do.”

The implication is that why do they ask from God? It is their own people whom they are spending upon and their needs are also evident to them. So they should spend as much as they can according to the grit and courage they can muster in this regard. Whatever they spend is in the knowledge of God and He never forgets anything; hence He will fully reward them for this in the Hereafter.

Three questions arise in charity: (1) What shall we give? (2) to whom shall we give? and (3) how shall we give? The answer is here. Give anything that is good, useful, helpful, valuable. It may be property or money; it may be a helping hand; it may be advice; it may be a kind word; "whatever ye do that is good" is charity. On the other hand, if you throw away what is useless, there is no charity in it. Or if you give something with a harmful intent, e.g., a sword to a madman, or a drug or sweets or even money to someone whom you want to entrap or corrupt, it is no charity but a gift of damnation. To whom should you give? It may be tempting to earn the world's praise by a gift that will be talked about, but are you meeting the needs of those who have the first claim on you? If you are not, you are like a person who defrauds creditors: it is no charity. Every gift is judged by its unselfish character: the degree of need or claim is a factor which you should consider; if you disregard it, there is something selfish behind it. How should it be given? As in the sight of God; thus shuts out all pretence, show, and insincerity.

This simple verse then very clearly explains who to give charity to and how to spend in the way of Allah. May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'an

You may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Quran.
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Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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