With a significant portion of the world suffering from disasters, many are in need of charity. Some fathers come home with guilt and depression because they are unable to provide for their family and mothers who suffer while looking at their children starving or unclothed. When these families gaze at the higher classed individuals of their society, a deep sense of pain dwells inside them. And they often wonder,“can’t they spare even a little amount of charity?”. Allah (SWT) has blessed and tested all of us in many different ways. Some are tested with poverty but also blessed with it because it doesn’t give people a chance to possess negative characteristics such as arrogance. Others are blessed with wealth but are tested through it as well. Allah (SWT) is just and wouldn’t leave these two parties separable from each other. Each has a responsibility to take care of his/her brother/sister in humanity and Islam. Allah (SWT) speaks of such wealthy people, and their responsibility towards the other members of our society, in Surah Hadid, verse 7: “and spend out of which He has made you be successors of …”. With each blessing comes a responsibility to sacrifice a portion of it for charity.
Is money essential to charity?
There are those within our communities who are neither poor nor highly wealthy. Those individuals are still not free from the responsibility of charity. Though such people may not have enough to offer, as Imam Ali (a.s) has stated, “do not feel ashamed if the act of charity is small because to refuse the needy is an act of greater shame.” Allah (SWT) doesn’t define charity as giving ‘wealth’ only. He has provided us with a list of ways to give the gift. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself says that “even a smile is an act of charity.” Foundation is mainly giving to the needy what you value the most as it is explained in the Holy Quran, “Never shall you attain righteousness unless giving freely of that which you love” (Qur’an, 3: 92). This Verse quite simply explains the whole concept of charity. Wealth is a basic necessity to survive in this society, so it is considered one of the most valuable possessions to have. Sharing such treasures with others, if you are blessed with enough to share, is the right of the ones who are in need of its charity. If you hand over your life for a great cause, and your life is valuable to you, then you would be committing a great act of charity. You can also offer your skills, talents, and your education in charity as many are in need of them. Educating someone in this life will continue to benefit you even after you die.
Benefits of charity
After recognizing the methods of charity, one might wonder what he/she would retrieve out of charity. We shouldn’t desire any return as that would be the highest level of charity, but there are many benefits to giving charity. Charity removes evil, disasters, sickness and unfortunate incidences, so if in any case, we are in one of these situations, it is recommended to take out some charity. We must also remember that in the end, the gift must be given out while remaining humble, as showing off such an act would rid us of its benefits.