Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Charity is an activity where one person acts for the benefit of others without seeking any compensation from anyone. Charitable activity takes place in every society without exception and is essential to the upliftment of society. It is what strengthens the social bonds between the members of the community. It takes different forms and had different emphases in different cultural contexts, and it is always more prevalent at times of crisis.
Charitable activity is not limited to providing food and money for poor people. It embraces many areas of life. Helping the elderly and indigent is charity. Protecting the environment and working to conserve wildlife is charity. Charitable work includes opening schools, building hospitals, and running clinics. It includes helping farmers in times of blight and pestilence. It includes developing the websites of charitable and educational organizations. It includes disaster relief. It embodies every case of giving of needful assistance to others without receiving any remuneration for it.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Greeting your brother with a smiling face is charity. Enjoying what is good and forbidding what is wrong is charity. Giving directions to a person who is lost is charity. Giving assistance to a person with weak eyesight is charity. Removing boulders and thorns from the road is charity.
Pouring water from your vessel into your brother’s is charity. [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (1879) – and authenticated by al-Albânî]
Charitable work is the most noble work. Its positive effects benefit the workers themselves, the individual beneficiaries, and society at large. In the message revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), charitable deeds are given a high priority. We see that the Qur’ân repeatedly encourages charity to the poor and the needy.
The general benefits of charity are numerous. Consider the following:
1. Charity is fertile ground for reaping Allah’s blessings in this world and the next.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I saw a man enjoying the delights of Paradise on account of his cutting down a tree that was on the road and that was causing harm for the believers.” [Sahîh Muslim (4745)]
He (peace be upon him ) also said: “One who hastens to help the widows and the poor is like one who struggles in the path of Allah or like one who spend his whole night in prayer and his days fasting.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
He (peace be upon him) also said: “Going forth to fulfill the needs of one’s brother is better than observing a retreat in the mosques for ten years.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]
2. Charity brings harmony and prosperity to society. It cements relationships between various sectors of the community and provides stability. It cultivates a civic spirit, solves social problems, and fosters bonds of love and friendship between members of society.
3. Charity contributes to an overall positive outlook. It counters self-centeredness and egoism. It refines and improves the character of the person who engages in it and helps turn a person’s negative traits into positive ones. It also rectifies indolence and makes a person proactive and industrious.
4. Charity work is one of the best ways a person can hone existing skills, develop new ones, and expand his or her horizons.
5. One of the effects of charitable work is economic improvement and a general rise in the standard of living for society as a whole. At the same time, it employs people’s spare time in productive and rewarding ways while building social solidarity.
Charitable Involvement is Personally Rewarding
Charity should be engaged in sincerely for Allah to earn Allah’s reward. A person does not expect any worldly payment or praise from the work that he or she does charitably and voluntarily. Nevertheless, the very nature of charity work, by Allah’s infinite grace, provides numerous benefits to those who are active in it.
From my personal experience with charitable work, I have found that it not only helps one to develop new practical and professional skills, it introduces a person to new contacts and vastly improves one’s social and professional network. The varied challenging experiences that it provides, and the exposure that it gives to new ideas and activities, is invaluable.
It also earns a person respect. Society needs charitable involvement and values it, so those who engage in it earn the confidence and trust of others.
Allaah says: “O you who believe remember Allaah with much remembrance, and glorify His praises in the morning and the afternoon.” [Surah Al-Ahzaab: 41-42]
“Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the Remembrance of Allaah, verily in the Remembrance of Allaah do hearts find tranquility.” [Surah Ar-Radd: 28]
And Allaah says: “Indeed I am as My servant presumes me to be. And I am with him when He remembers me, so if he remembers Me to himself then I remember him to Myself. And if he remembers Me amongst a company I remember him amongst a company greater than it and if he draws close to Me a span of a hand I draw near to him the span of an arm. And if he draws near Me the span of an arm, I draw near him the span of two outstretched arms. And if he takes a step towards Me, I quickly step towards him.” [Al-Bukharee and Muslim]
Rasulullah (salla Allahu alihi wa sallam) said: “The comparison of the one who remembers Allaah and the one who doesn’t is like that of the living and the dead.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree]
by Adil Khawfi