Emotional stress carries a heavy toll 

Charity as a Way of Life

“Charity is for those in need.” This is a general principle that enjoins us to help people in need, be they good or bad, on the right path or not, Muslims or non-Muslims. No one should judge in these matters. The foremost ends in charity should be God’s pleasure and our own spiritual good. Allah says:

إِن تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

“If you disclose the charities then good it (is). But if you keep it secret and give it (to) the poor, then it (is) better for you. And He will remove from you [of] your evil deeds. And Allah with what you do (is) All-Aware.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:271)

The concept of charity in Islam is thus linked with justice. It is not limited to the redressed of grievances. It implies apart from the removal of handicaps, the recognition of the right that every human being has to attain the fullness of life. Allah says:

يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ

“Destroys Allah the usury and (gives) increase (for) the charities. And Allah (does) not love every ungrateful sinner.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:276)

Charity,  preached by every religion of the world,  is a way of bringing justice to society. And justice is the essence of religion. It is a sacred duty of the wealthy to give part of their possessions to fulfil the needs of the deprived sections of the community. Allah says:

إِنَّ الْمُصَّدِّقِينَ وَالْمُصَّدِّقَاتِ وَأَقْرَضُوا اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا يُضَاعَفُ لَهُمْ وَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ كَرِيمٌ

“For 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 Al-Hadid, 57:18)

A society can flourish only when its members do not spend all their wealth on the satisfaction of their own desires but reserve a portion of it for parents, relatives neighbours, the poor and the incapacitated.  As the saying goes: Charity begins at home. A true believer is thus always prepared, after meeting the needs of his family, to assist other people in need of his help.

The importance of Charity for giving in Allah’s way:

  1. Charity is prevention from the unfavourable conditions
  2. Charity does not let people die of thirst and hunger
  3. Charity saves someone from the embarrassment
  4. Charity saves someone from asking for money
  5. Charity spreads humanity to the non-Muslims
  6. Charity is said to be a source of prevention
  7. Charity spreads the message of kindness
  8. Charity inspired by the generous act
  9. Charity protects you from Hell-fire
  10. Charity is a door of Paradise
  11. Charity gives bless to one’s wealth
  12. Charity helping  a blind human being
  13. Charity spreads the message of kindness
  14. Charity is pouring water for Muslim fellow
  15. Charity remove harmful things from the path
  16. Charity makes the person generous by nature
  17. Charity makes the giver less greedy for money
  18. Charity does not let people die of thirst and hunger
  19. Charity forms a cycle or a chain of donating money
  20. Charity relieves the person from debt by forgiving the loan

The definition of charity in Islamic tradition differs somewhat from its interpretation in other contexts. Islamic charity is one of those unique forms of worship that bring out both the individual and the social aspects of worship. It also strengthens a sense of brotherhood and establishes social cohesion. Islamic charity represents the unbreakable bond between members of the community. Allah says:

مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً وَاللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ 

“Who is it that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double to his credit and multiply many times? For Allah gives and restricts the provision, and to Him, you shall return.” (Surah Al-Baqara  2: 245)

It is our duty to help them because helping the poor and destitute is emphasized again and again in the Qur’an and in the other Holy Scripts and traditions. By working together we can help make a real difference and bring about positive change to many people’s lives. Allah says:

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى وَاللَّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٌ

“A word kind and (seeking) forgiveness (are) better than a charity followed [it] (by) hurt. And Allah (is) All-Sufficient, All-Forbearing.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:263 )

The rewards for being charitable are also manifold: charity purifies our wealth and God has promised us a great reward for being charitable towards our fellow human beings.

Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:

  • “And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” (Al Imran 3:86)
  • “The charity extinguishes sins like water extinguishes the fire.” (At-Tirmidhi 2616)
  • ”(And) lo! those who believe and do good works are the best of created beings.” (Quran 98:7)
  • “This Our Record speaks about you with the truth. Verily, We were recording what you used to do (i.e. Our angels used to record your deeds).” (Quran 45:29)
  • “And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me Prayer and Zakah as long as I remain alive.” (Quran, 19:31)
  • “Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He will multiply it for him and he will have a noble reward?” (Quran, 57:11)
  • “And he used (to) enjoin (on) his people the prayer and zakah and was near his Lord pleasing.” (Surah Maryam 19:55 )
  • “And establish the prayer and give zakah and bow down with those who bow down.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:43 )

Charity is the essence of Islam and it has great importance in the lives of Muslims. Muslim community thrives on charity. The effort Islam puts into financial checks and balances for every member of the Muslim society shows the deep values for human rights. Allah says:

وَإِن كَانَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلَىٰ مَيْسَرَةٍ وَأَن تَصَدَّقُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ 

“If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay; but if you remit it by way of charity that is best for you if you only knew.” (Surah Al-Baqara 2: 280)

Thus charity, on a generic level, plays a major role in Muslim society. One of the key purposes of religion is grounded in a sense of community, which is fostered by charity. The Noble Quran reassures those who engage in voluntary charity would be amply rewarded. Allah says:

وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن نَّفَقَةٍ أَوْ نَذَرْتُم مِّن نَّذْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُهُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ

And whatever you spend (out) of (your) expenditures or you vow of a vow(s), then indeed, Allah knows it, and not for the wrongdoers any helpers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:270 )

Those who believe, do deeds of righteousness and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord. Thus Islam and Quran heavily promote charity and every Muslim is rewarded with something which is way better than what he gives up in way of Allah. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَةً ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَطْهَرُ فَإِن لَّمْ تَجِدُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“O you who believe! When you privately consult Messenger, then offer before your private consultation, charity. That (is) better for you and purer. But if not you find, then indeed, Allah (is) Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Mujadilah 58:12 )

Charity is purely for the sake of Allah and no worldly gain should be intended while making charity. It should only be made to seek Allah’s forgiveness and His blessings. Living in the world is only temporary and forever belongs to the afterlife. After we died, nothing can help us but the deeds we had committed when we lived. We can start our afterlife investment by doing charity starting from now.