THEY ask thee, what they should spend in
charity. Say: whatever ye spend that is good is for parents and kindred, and
orphans, and those in want, and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good…
God knows it well” (II: 215).
This verse amply defines what charity is. It
addresses what can be given in charity; to whom charity is to be given and how
it is to be dispensed. Anything that is useful, helpful and valuable can be
given. ‘Good’ manifests only positive attributes. The connotation, here is that
any object that is of say no useful value, when given in charity, is really no
charity. Charity, that is good, can be a worthy advice, a useful knowledge, a
kind word; it could be money or property. Charity should be devoid of harmful
or negative intent. The verse provides for those who have first claim on
charity. In observing this tenant, all pretence, show and insincerity, must be
in the Holy Qur’an, for believing souls, a very high standard for charity. The
verses from 261-277, in Surah Al-Bakr, provide for the meaning and quality of
charity. Allah promises,
“The parable of those who spend their substance
in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn; it growth seven ears, and each
ear hath a hundred grains. God giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth”
Here, The Lord induces mankind to indulge in
acts of charity, with the faith and belief that giving from resources blessed
by Him, will not diminish and reduce them, but on the contrary, if He pleases,
these would increase manifold. By giving charity, one must not expect reward or
subservience from the taker. Charity must be in the way of Allah and hence
reward spiritual or material is to be expected from Him alone, according to His
good pleasure and plan. Acts of generosity, if reminded upon, lose their real value
and cease to be in the way of Allah.
who believe, cancel not your charity, by reminders of your generosity…”
Charity, Filled With Pretence, To Be Seen And Appreciated By Men, Is No
without motives of ostentations or publicity, is true charity. Charity
concealed within the ambits of seeking good pleasure of Allah, endures
ye conceal them and make them reach, those really in need, that is the best for
you; it will remove from you some of your stains of evil…”(Al-Bakr:271).
does not impoverish, but enriches the giver has more happiness and less fear.
“for Charity, seeking the countenance of Allah,
will increase, it is those who will get a recompense multiplied.” (Surah Rum:
a fundamental teaching of the Holy Quran. Every verse that exhorts believers to
observe Salat is either prefixed or suffixed, with the need to observe charity.
“And especially those, who establish regular
prayer and practice regular charity, and believe in God and in the Last Day: to
them shall we soon give a great reward”. (Surah Nisa: 162).
an act, which must be practiced at all times, irrespective of prosperity or
otherwise, the meaning of Charity, being so wide, it does not merely encompass
the sharing of material wealth, but includes the non-material. Prosperity,
therefore is relative, it can be material, spiritual, or both.
“Those who spend freely, whether in prosperity,
or in adversity;… for Allah loves those who do good”.(Surah Al-Imran: 134).
infuses in a believing soul traits and attributes of generosity, benevolence
and munificence. It erases stains of evil and purifies the inner-self. There
are several prophetic traditions alluring to acts of charity. The entire life
of our beloved Prophet is replete with his kindness and the will to ameliorate
human sufferings. If we Muslims sincerely observe the dictates of charity as
ordained in the Holy Book and as practised by the Holy Prophet, we can build a
society that will be devoid of pretence and ostentatiousness. In a truly
Islamic society all members would lead a simple life.
caliphate of Hazrat Abu-Bakr a blind old woman lived in Madina. Hazrat Umar
used to go to her every morning to help her in the domestic work. After a few
days Hazrat Umar realized that someone else was coming much earlier to help the
blind lady. One day Hazrat Umar started from his home earlier than his usual
time to find out that person. Reaching the blind woman’s house he saw Hazrat
Abu Bakr coming out of the door after having finished the old lady’s domestic
chores. This was an act within the confines of a high standard of giving and
charity. Hazrat Ayesha, the most beloved wife of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), was
known for her generosity and benevolence. She would go to any length to help
others. If she had nothing but only a date to give, she would not hesitate to
give it saying that on the Day of Judgment “Everyone who had done even an
atom’s weight of good shall be hold it”. She once gave away hundred thousand
Dirhams in Charity, given to her from Baitul Mal, for her provisions.
occasion a beggar knocked at the door of Hazrat Ali for food at the time of
Iftar. He offered the beggar the only bread he had and broke his fast with salt
and water only. This became an everyday routine and Hazrat Ali did not refuse
the beggar ever.
those who give in charity, men and women, and loan to Allah, a beautiful loan,
it shall be increased manifold, to their credit, and they shall have (besides)
a liberal reward”. (Surah Hadid: 18)
not postpone good resolutions to the future. An act, a deed of goodness must be
hurriedly taken upon. “And spend something in charity, out of the substance
which we have bestowed on you, before Death should come to any of you and he
Lord! why did thou not give me respite for a little while? I should then have
given (largely) in charity…” (Surah Munatiqeen: 10).
Let us therefore rush and indulge excessively
in acts of charity, to seek the pleasure of Almighty Allah.
Sirajuddin Aziz is a senior banker with interest