Charity in Islam
The Concept of Giving in Islam
In Islam, there are several types of charitable acts, known as "sadaqah" or "zakat", that are encouraged as acts of worship and kindness towards others. Here are some examples along with references from the Quran and Hadith:
1. Zakat: Zakat is a mandatory form of charity given by eligible Muslims once a year as a specific percentage of their wealth, 2.5%, to those in need. It is considered one of the pillars of Islam and is mentioned in several verses of the Quran, including:
"Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah’s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing." (Quran 9:103)
2. Sadaqah al-Fitr is a compulsory charity given by Muslims at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan as an act of purification and to assist those in need. It is mentioned in a Hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him): "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made it obligatory on all the slave or free Muslims, male and female, young and old, to give one Saa' (of dates or barley) or half a Saa' of wheat as Sadaqat al-Fitr." (Sahih Bukhari)
3. Sadaqah is a voluntary acts of charity given by Muslims out of their own free will to help those in need. It can include giving money, food, clothing, or any other form of assistance. The Quran encourages Muslims to give sadaqah with sincerity and without seeking recognition:
"O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day." (Quran 2:264)
4. Sadaqah Jariyah, also known as ongoing or perpetual charity, refers to charitable acts that continue to benefit others even after the person who initiated the charity has passed away. This can include building a mosque or a school, digging a well, or supporting an ongoing charitable project. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity), knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him." (Sahih Muslim)
Giving in Ramadan
All kinds of charities are highly rewarded all year round, in Ramadan the charity is elevated to another level of recognition.
1. Increased Reward: The rewards for good deeds are multiplied during the month of Ramadan. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The best charity is that given in Ramadan." (Tirmidhi) This indicates that the act of giving charity during Ramadan is highly valued and carries increased reward.
2. Expiation of Sins: in Ramadan means expiating sins and seeking forgiveness from Allah (SWT). The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the Sadaqat al-Fitr are paid." (Sunan Ibn Majah) This implies that giving Sadaqah al-Fitr is a way to purify oneself and seek forgiveness for any shortcomings in the performance of Ramadan fasts.
3. Multi-dimensional Benefit: Charity in Ramadan not only benefits the recipient but also the giver. It purifies the wealth, purifies the heart, and strengthens the bond of brotherhood/sisterhood among the Muslim community. It also instills a sense of gratitude, humility, and selflessness in the giver, and promotes a spirit of generosity and compassion.
4. Proximity to Allah's Mercy: Giving charity during Ramadan is considered a means of coming closer to Allah's mercy and blessings. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, says: 'Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent upon.'" (Sahih Bukhari) This Hadith highlights the reciprocal nature of charity and how it brings the giver closer to Allah's mercy and blessings.
5. Protection from Hellfire: Giving charity in Ramadan is also believed to be means of protection from the Hellfire. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "The fast and the Quran intercede for the servant on the Day of Judgment. The fast says, 'O Lord, I prevented him from food and desires during the day, so accept my intercession for him.' The Quran says, 'I prevented him from sleep during the night, so accept my intercession for him.' Then their intercession is accepted." (Ahmad) Giving charity during Ramadan, along with fasting and reciting the Quran, is considered a means of attaining intercession and protection from the Hellfire.
The reward of giving in Ramadan is multiplied manifold. This concept is supported by various verses from the Quran and Hadith. Here are some examples:
"The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful." (Quran 2:185) - This verse highlights the significance of Ramadan as a blessed month of guidance and an opportunity for Muslims to earn rewards through fasting and other acts of worship.
The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah's cause 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 of) for whom He wills." (Quran 2:261) - This Quranic verse emphasizes that Allah multiplies the reward for those who spend their wealth in His cause, indicating that the reward of giving in Ramadan is multiplied many times over.
"Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward." (Tirmidhi) - This Hadith highlights that even providing food to someone who is fasting during Ramadan carries a reward similar to that of the person who is fasting, without diminishing the reward of the fasting person.
"The best charity is that given in Ramadan." (Tirmidhi) - This Hadith indicates that giving charity during Ramadan is considered particularly virtuous, further emphasizing the multiplied reward associated with charitable acts during this month.
These verses from the Quran and Hadith emphasize the multiplied reward of giving in Ramadan, highlighting the special significance and blessings of this month in Islamic teachings. Muslims are encouraged to actively engage in acts of charity during Ramadan, as the rewards are believed to be greatly increased during this blessed month.
Giving charity during the month of Ramadan holds numerous virtues and rewards in Islam, including increased reward, expiation of sins, multi-dimensional benefits, proximity to Allah's mercy, and protection from Hellfire. It is a highly encouraged act of worship and a way to seek closeness to Allah (SWT) while benefiting those in need.
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