Charity is an Islamic duty which undoes our bad deeds and builds up our good ones. Its regular practice helps us avoid the hellfire and helps us reach paradise. It should be performed through as many benevolent ways as can be reasonable expected.
A liberal man who eats and gives
is better than a devote who fasts yet hoards.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saws) told the people;
“Save yourself from hell-fire by giving even half a date in charity.”
Muslims who sin should repent to God. Tauba is the Islamic term for repentance from sin and turning to God with apology and the firm intention not to repeat the sinful deed. One way a person may wash away their sins is through charity and good deeds. Sadaqa, is the Islamic term for charitable gifts or deeds done to please God .
Islam is the way of the merciful servants of a Merciful Creator and it holds charity at its very heart. The great examples of the Holy Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace), Abu Bakr (raa) and the best Companions exemplified great generosity for the Muslims to emulate whilst at the same time they gave the example of living wholesome simple lives.
Islam is the path of the sensible followers of true guidance and it is the perfect system of human life, designed by the Creator of all. Muslims know that wholesome existence, proper living, friendship, love, dignity and most importantly submission to God are the only road to well being.
Good Muslims practice charity in one way or another very regularly and they seek to aid all those who they reasonably can do, for example in the famine of Kwantung (1790 CE) the Chinese Muslims were believed to have saved as many as ten thousand children from starvation and brought them into Islam this way.
Islam is the source of all true moral values and wherever there is morality in the non-Muslim world the roots of such behaviour lay within the innate Islamic fitra (inner nature) of human beings and in half remembered instructions from God in ages gone by. Muslims have the wisdom to put aside their free and wandering inclinations and to follow the guidance of God.
God replaces those truly unsuitable things that may be missed out on through living in goodness in this life with far better replacements in the hereafter.
When true believers look at lovely and beautiful things in the world they have the wisdom to recognize them as a sign from God, but they have the depth of perception to be aware that whilst wonderful possessions and things all fade and pass away the beauty and wonder of God is far greater, its effects are far more pleasant, while created things pass away God endures forever. Thus they avoid wasting to much energy on the attainment of created things and seek closeness to the most wonderful and sublime thing in the reality, God.
And whoso does good works,
whether of male or female,
and he (or she) is a believer,
such will enter paradise
and they will not be wronged
the dint in a date- stone.
(Surah an Nisa 124)
One of the best types of charity is Sadaqah Jariyah, this is the charity that is continuous or recurring, for example a charitable foundation or the provision of a well, or a fruit tree or a school or Mosque that continues to benefit people long after it was donated. ‘Waqf’ is the Islamic name for a Muslim pious foundation or charitable trust.
Charity can include helping people in their daily lives, speaking kindly words and being pleasant to people. These are also forms of charity, just as is giving things to those who need them. See Nawawi, Imam, Forty Hadith, Hadith 26. God says in the Holy Qur’an; He who does good shall have ten times as much in return… (al An’am 160). Wise people love for others what they love for themselves (i.e. beneficial things) and charity is one of the pillars of true religion, but it should be performed sincerely and without show or ostentation.
It is said that God loves the most helpful people very dearly and that the food that He favours the most is that which has been touched by many hands (i.e. been shared with many people). The wise believers have demonstrated the blessings of mixing with and assisting the poor, over through the ages and they have shown the example that we should both feed the poor and show friendship and compassion to them in their problems.
The wise always had three practices;
1. To help all living beings.
2. To give out the bounties from God in the places where the people assemble to remember Him.
3. To awaken the people to God through wise words.
(Dho’l Nun al Misri (ra).
In his book the Secret of the Secrets the great Sufi Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (ra) explained that there are two types of charity, these being religious charity encouraged by religion and spiritual charity. The first comes when a person donates some of their material wealth to others the second comes when people who have managed to avoid harmful ways and to live by only the good ways ask God to devote some of their spiritual rewards to the sinners. He also explained that whilst charity from Children of Adam helps the needy ultimately it is God the Satisfier of all needs who helps the needy (sometimes through inspiring the charity of his good servants) and thus (although it may come out of the mercy that He has placed in the believers heart) the greater purpose of giving in charity is that the donor’s intention be approved of by God.
Rumi was a Sufi teacher of high spiritual levels, but the wiser and more enraptured with the love of God he had become the simpler he became in his manners and his way of life. His whole life became an act of worship and charity and when nobles and powerful people gave him gifts he would use these to assist many poor people. He would give things away in charity until he had nothing left and on those days when he had even given his food away he would be happy, explaining that he was being with the smell of saintliness in his home. Charity is a beautiful gift God says in the Holy Qur’an;
Who is he who will give God a beautiful gift?
For God will increase it many times to his credit,
and he will have besides a liberal reward.
(Surah al Hadiid 11)
God says in the Holy Qur’an;
God alone is Sufficient for us,
And He alone
is the best Disposer of Affairs
(Surah al-Imraan 171)
True believers may help people and save souls through charity. Supporting those in need both spiritually and physically within their area. Inviting them into things, giving them attractive, easy to read – interesting – literature. Helping people get onto the straight and narrow and supporting them and bring them into Islam. In history some Muslims callers have made clubs for those who want something to do, replacement families for people with no family, replacement homes for those with no home, games for those who wish to play a good beneficial game and Islamic centers good places for different sorts of people to pass their time and gain spiritual benefit gradually and through osmosis.