Charity in Islam

Shahnawaz Ali

Charity is an act of giving out to the people in need and society at large. Charity can be in form of money, goods, food or even simple act of spending time with those who need your assistance in any form. Life doesn’t offer equal opportunities for everyone; through charity we can share our blessings with those less fortunate and thus try to bring balance in the society.
Islam, being the religion of Peace, strongly advocates Charity. Allah has made charity (Zakaat) an obligation on every believing Muslim. Quran and Sunnah put great emphasis on charity through multiple mentions of charity in Quran and Hadith. The Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) presented many examples of charity in His lifetime and thus it becomes compulsory on Muslims to follow the suit. The Prophet (PBUH) said that
“The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 604)
The concept of charity derives from the fact to acknowledge that we own nothing but whatever has been given to us is a blessing by Allah (SWT) and it’s His property. So when we give out something from our pocket, we are actually sharing Allah’s blessings with His mankind and since we don’t own anything, we don’t lose anything by giving out but only gain Allah’s rewards.
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Quran 3:92)
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.
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.
Allah says “O you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. And it is the disbelievers who are the Zaalimoon (wrongdoers)” [al-Baqarah 2:254]
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
262. Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve” [al-Baqarah 2:261-262]
“O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allaah is Rich (Free of all needs), and Worthy of all praise” [al-Baqarah 2:267]
“Believe in Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allaah’s way), theirs will be a great reward” [al-Hadeed57:7]
It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever gives charity equal to a date from good (halal) earnings – for Allaah does not accept anything but that which is good – Allaah will take it in His right hand and tend it for the one who gave it as any one of you tends his foal, until it becomes like a mountain.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1344; Muslim, 1014.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no day on which the people get up but two angels come down and one of them says, ‘O Allaah, give in compensation to the one who spends (in charity),’ and the other says, ‘O Allaah, destroy the one who withholds.’” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1374; Muslim, 1010.
It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out – on Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha – to the prayer place, and when he had finished (the prayer) he preached to the people and enjoined them to give charity. He said, “O people, give in charity!” Then he went over to the women and said, “O women, give in charity for I have seen that you are the majority of the people of Hell.” When he went home, Zaynab the wife of Ibn Mas’ood came seeking permission to see him. It was said, “O Messenger of Allaah, here is Zaynab.” He said, “Which Zaynab?” It was said, “The wife of Ibn Mas’ood.” He said, “Yes, let her in.” So they let her in and she said, “O Prophet of Allaah, today you enjoined charity, and I have some jewellery which I wanted to give in charity, but Ibn Mas’ood claims that he and his child have more right to receive it in charity.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Give it in charity to Ibn Mas’ood, for your husband and your child have the most right that you should give it to them in charity.