Local Time

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Upper Hand- Charity in Islam

Islam encourages the Muslim to spend from his money for Allah's Sake
whenever he is capable of doing so, and it stresses on the great
virtues of giving a charity. The prophet (PBUH) said, 'The Upper Hand
is better than the Lower Hand. The upper hand is the one that gives,
and the lower hand is the one that takes'. Allah SWT said in the Holy
Book, 'The likeness of those who spend their money for Allah's sake,
is as the likeness of a grain (of corn), it grows seven ears, every
single ear has a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (increases the
reward) for whom He wills, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His
creatures needs, All Knower' (2: 261). And He SWT said, 'Whoever
works righteousness, whether a male or a female, while he (or she) is
a true believer, verily to him We will give a good life (in this
world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall
pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they
used to do.' (16: 97)

In this life, the charity enlarges the blessing in one's fortune.
Unlike what most people think; money gets practically bigger so long
the person is giving charities. As the prophet (PBUH) stated, 'The
Charity does not lessen one's money'. As we know, the number of the
money we have is not what counts, but it is the value of the money
and the things you can get with this money is what counts. When the
believer keeps on feeding his money with charity, this enlarges the
blessing in his money. With a certain amount of money he would be
able to do more than what he used to do before, not to mention the
harm that would be pushed a way from his money, so that the money
wont be wasted by some way or another (e.g. car accident, health
problems, ...etc.). Besides, the charity has an amazing effect in
pushing away the calamities and harm that is afflicting the Muslim.
The prophet (PBUH) said, 'Cure your sick people with Sadaqa (i.e.
charity)!' That's why the righteous Muslims used to cure themselves
in time of sickness with giving charities! One of the early righteous
Muslims whose name is Ar-Rabe'e has been afflicted by Al-Faalig (i.e.
Hemiplegia) and was suffering from that disease for sometime. One day
his wife grilled him a chicken and baked some fresh bread, which he
used to love so much... Resisting the temptation of his favorite
dish, he asked her to give the food to one of the poor as a charity,
saying 'I would like to give the poor what I love most, that may
Allah accept my charity and reward me with what is better than that'.
His wife suggested that she would keep the food for him, and instead
give some money to the poor which equals the same price of the food.
Ar-Rabe'e asked her to bring the money, and when she did, he asked
her to put them all together (the money, the grilled chicken and the
fresh bread) and give them all to the poor!! This was the attitude of
Muslims towards giving charities, while lots of people nowadays spend
enormous amounts of money on the doctors and medications neglecting
the importance of a charity that might not even make a noticeable
difference in their wealth.

In the Hereafter, the charity could be the reason for protecting
oneself from Hell-Fire even if it was as small as a piece of date!
The prophet (PBUH) said, 'There will be none among you but will be
talked to by Allah on the Day of Resurrection, without there being an
interpreter between him and Allah. He will look and see nothing ahead
of him, and then he will look (again) in front of him, and (only) the
Hell Fire will confront him. So, whoever among you can save himself
from the Fire, should do so even with one half of a date (means: even
if all what you can give as charity is one half of a date)'. Allah
SWT has praised those who make a constant right in their wealth for
the poor and has promised them multiplied rewards for their charity.
He SWT said, 'Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan
which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply it many times?'
(2: 245). The prophet (PBUH) also said: 'If one gives in charity that
equals one date-fruit from money that is earned in lawful way, and
Allah only accepts what is lawful, Allah shall take it in His right
(hand) and then enlarges it's reward for that person (who has given
it), just like any of you who brings up his baby horse, so much so
that it (i.e. the charity) becomes as big as a mountain'. What we now
spend as a charity for Allah's sake is what remains with us after
death, however, what we spend for our worldly pleasures vanishes and
goes away. A'isha (the prophet's wife, may Allah be pleased with her)
reported that they once slaughtered a sheep, and then distributed all
parts of the sheep as a charity except for the shoulder which she
kept for them. When the prophet (PBUH) asked her about what remained
from the sheep (after distributing it), she said 'Nothing remained
except for the shoulder', so the prophet (PBUH) commented 'Everything
remained except for the shoulder!!'

However, for the charity to be accepted and to achieve it's goals,
the Believer must consider some essential manners when giving the
charity. First of all, the charity must be given from money that is
earned in a lawful way. Allah SWT says, 'O ye who believe, spend from
what you (lawfully) earned' (2: 267). And the prophet (PBUH)
said: 'God is Tayyib, and He only accepts what is Tayyib', (the word
Tayyib means lawful, pure, good, ..etc.).

Second, when giving a charity, the believer must purify his intention
and make his purpose just for the sake of gaining Allah's pleasure
and reward with this charity, not anything else (such as worldly
benefits, fame, good reputation, ..etc.). The prophet (PBUH)
said, 'All deeds are based on the intention and everyone will be
rewarded according to what he intended (from his action)' And he
(PBUH) said, 'Nothing that you spend for Allah's sake but you will be
rewarded for it, even the food that you raise up to your wife's
mouth'. God SWT praised those who give for His sake without expecting
any benefit from the people who receive the charity, He SWT
said, 'And they give food (in spite of their love for it) to the
poor, the orphan and the captive. Saying; we feed you seeking Allah's
countenance only, we wish for no reward nor thanks from you' (76: 8 &
9). Any of our daily actions could be turned into a worshipping
activity if it is done purely for Allah's sake, and vice versa: any
worshipping activity could be rejected by Allah if it is done for any
other purpose rather than pleasing Him.

Third, the believer should hurry up with giving the charity and
should not delay it without a specific reason. It is also much better
for the Muslim to give charities during his life when in need of
money, than to wait until death comes to him, then he commands his
inheritors to give the charity on his behalf. The prophet (PBUH) was
once asked about the best of all charities, so he said; 'The best
charity is what you give during your life while you are in need of

Fourth, it is more fitting for the Muslim to give the charity from
his best possessions that which he loves most. This actually is the
opposite of what many people nowadays do, as they only give their old
rusty possessions as if they are trying to get rid of them! Allah SWT
says in the Holy Book, 'By no means shall you attain righteousness
unless you give (freely as a charity) from that which you love; and
whatever you spend Allah knows it well.' (3: 92). However, this does
not mean that one should lessen the value of his charity if he only
has little to give. The prophet (PBUH) once said to his
companions, 'One Dirhem could be better in reward than one hundred
thousand Dirhems!' a man asked, 'And how is that, messenger of
Allah?!' He (PBUH) replied, 'a wealthy man takes one hundred thousand
Dirhems which is one part of his wealth and gives it as a charity,
while a poor man who only has two Dirhems pays one of them as a
charity.' And it was reported that A'isha (may Allah be pleased with
her) once gave a piece of date as a charity when this was all what
she had. Whatever that you do, big or small, will be put in your
account, even if it was as tiny as the weight of an atom. Allah SWT
says, 'Whoever does an atom weight of good he shall see it (in his
book), and whoever does an atom weight of evil he shall see it' (99:
7 & 8).

Fifth: The believer must hide his charity and do his best not to let
anyone know about it to avoid falling into Riya'a (i.e. showing up
one's good deeds to others and doing the good deeds for other than
Allah's Sake). The prophet (PBUH) said: 'Seven (types of) people will
be covered with Allah's shade on a day when there is no shade but His
Shade, (from among them) a man who gives a charity hiding it, that
(even) his left hand does not know what his right hand has spent'.
Saying that your left hand does not know what your right hand has
spent is a form of expression that indicates how careful you should
be when giving a charity not letting anyone notice what you're doing.
It would even be better to hide your identity from the one who is
receiving the charity, when possible, so as to protect the receiver's
dignity and save him from feeling shameful or humiliated. One of the
righteous successors used to give a constant charity to the scholars
who were known to be poor at his time, and in order to hide his
identity and protect them from the embarrassment he used to wait
until they enter the mosque for one of the daily prayers, then put
the money inside their slippers! The scholars never knew his true
identity until only when he died and they found out that the charity
they used to receive on a constant basis all of a sudden stopped!!

Sixth: The believer must not follow his charity by harming the one
who is receiving it, nor should he keep on reminding him of his
generosity. Hurting the one who receives a charity by any mean would
only nullify (i.e. cancel) the reward of the charity, as Allah SWT
indicated in His Holy Book, 'O you who believe, cancel not your
charities by reminders of your generosity, or by harm' (2: 264).

Seventh: When one can not (or do not want to) give a charity to a
person who is asking for it, he then should only say a kind word to
him, and should not by any mean hurt his feelings. Allah SWT
said, 'Kind words and forgiveness are better than a charity followed
by injury' (2: 263).

Compiled, edited and adapted by Khalid Latif


English to Arabic to English Dictionary
Find word:
Exact Word / Starting Word Sub Word

Please Feel Free to Donate