The act of charity is deemed to be one of the most favourable acts and highly encouraged in Islam. Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ mentioned time and time again in the Quran that the act of charity is great, and should be performed on a regular basis.
All of those charitable acts and gestures of kindness include helping those in need, feeding the poor and needy, supporting orphans and widows, sharing your wealth, and spending in the way of Allah. Charity that is known as sadaqah is optional, it’s not obligatory like giving zakat. Giving charity in the form of sadaqah also doesn’t have to come from monetary wealth. It can simply be smiling at a stranger in the street or sharing your knowledge.
The following are five reasons why Islam encourages charity:
Characteristic of the Believers
Spending one’s wealth in the way of Allah is a characteristic of the believers. At the beginning of Surah Baqarah, Allah introduces the Qur’an as a guide for the pious, then He lists qualities of the pious, He says that they are those “who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them.”
Conversely, in the Quran, Surah Fussilat 41:7, when He describes the idolaters, the first thing mentioned to describe them is: “Those who do not give zakat, and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers.”
According to Ka’b ibn ‘Ujza, The Prophet ﷺ said in a hadith, “Alms extinguish sins as water extinguishes fire”. It is therefore a quick way to be forgiven for our mistakes. [Tirmidhi]
Relief on the Day of Judgement
Done sincerely and secretly, almsgiving is a way to be among the seven categories of people who will be in the shadow of Allah on the Day of Judgment, the day when there will be no other shadow but His shadow, when the sun will be near and some will bathe in their sweat.
According to Abu Huraira RA, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Seven people Allah will give them His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but the Shade of His Throne (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection): And they are: a just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosques, two men who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer and) says: ‘I fear Allah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand does not know what the right has given; and a man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes become tearful”. [Bukhari]
A Place in Jannah
The one who gives alms respects the covenant between Allah and the believers, and the terms of the covenant imply that he gains Paradise. Allah says in Surah At-Tawbah 9: 111, “Allah has purchased from the believers their persons and their property in exchange for Paradise.”
Purify Unintentional Mistakes
There may be mistakes and shortcomings in the way we acquire our possessions, with the result that some of them are not acquired in the way Allah is pleased with. Almsgiving helps to purify these unintentional mistakes. Abu Dawud reported from Qays ibn Abi Gharaza that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “O gatherers of traders! Selling is (often) accompanied by inattention and abusive oaths, rectify it with alms.”
For those five reasons, we can start giving charity for the ones closest to us; our extended family, friends, neighbours, or even people we meet in the street who might need help. This is a small step to later help the community on a large scale.
A Call for Help
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May Almighty Allah grant you and your family blessings in health and wealth.
Contributed by Vincent Souleymane.
Vincent Souleymane, a French imam and shariah advisor at Muslim Pro, has devoted his time to study and enrich others with the knowledge of Islamic sciences ever since he converted to the religion in 1999. During his studies at the Oussoul Eddine Institute in Saint-Denis, he became aware of the importance of devotion to Allah and decided to continue his religious studies at the daroul ouloum achrafiya of the Island La Réunion and at the IESH of Château Chinon. Since then, Vincent Souleymane devotes himself to the Almighty by teaching Islam at the Oussoul Eddine Institute, as well as being an imam at the Fontenay sous Bois Mosque.