Charity – the ultimate act of virtue
Human nature is bestowed with kindness and this is why we feel inner satisfaction after committing virtuous acts, be it as little as helping a crippled person on his way or giving away huge sums of money to the deprived. Islam is the best religion that exists because it encourages man to perform such acts of compassion and always emphasizes on the value of goodness.
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.”
The aforementioned saying of Prophet Muhammad PBUH clearly highlights the importance of charity in the life of a Muslim. Giving money to the needy is not just a totem of Islam but is also a Sunnah of our beloved prophet.
WHAT IS SADAQAH (CHARITY)?
In Islam, Sadaqah is an act of voluntarily giving charity to the needy ones. It is not an obligatory act but is done out of one’s own goodness in the way of Allah. It is a practice to help those who are deprived of the basic necessities of life. Sadaqah is not always in the form of money but it can be anything as simple as passing a smile to someone. So basically Sadaqah is any act of righteousness done to help or support your Muslim brother. It is the easiest form of charity which helps a man seek pleasure of his Creator and is thus one of the many acts with innumerable awards promised by Allah, the Almighty.
WHO CAN GIVE SADAQAH?
Sadaqah, unlike Zakaat, is not a mandatory act and can be given by anyone at any time of the year. However, during certain times such as Ramadan, the blessings of giving charity increase several folds. Sadaqah is specifically given to poor people who are unable to make ends meet. For instance, sick individuals who are unemployed, retired people and those who are unable to find a job due to some disability. In short, it can be given to any such person who can’t make a living for himself and his family. For the most part, it is given to widows, the homeless and the deprived ones.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ZAKAT AND SADAQAH
It is of utmost importance to understand that Zakat and Sadaqah are two different entities and should not be confused with each other. While former is the third pillar of Islam that binds a Muslim to pay a fixed amount out of his personal wp-content to the underprivileged, Sadaqah is purely an act of uprightness that is dependent on a person’s own will and desire. There is no demarcation of social status when giving Sadaqah and anyone can contribute towards eradicating harm via incessant deeds of goodness.
TYPES OF SADAQAH
As already mentioned, Sadaqah doesn’t always has to be something materialistic. Prophet Muhammad PBUH has identified several ways to give Sadaqah and according to that tradition, the following are the examples of how to give charity.
EVERY ACT OF GOODNESS:
Any act of decency that leads towards adaptation of a virtuous lifestyle is considered charity in the light of Islam. Helping a needy who appeals for help, spending on the underprivileged from what you’re earning and even staying away from evil and following the right path comes in the definition of charity.
REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH:
As Allah’s Prophet once said, “Every utterance of praise of Him is an act of charity; every utterance of profession of His Oneness is an act of charity; every utterance of profession of His Greatness is an act of charity.” This clarifies that even our prayers are a form of charity.
PASSING A SMILE TO A MUSLIM BROTHER:
A mere smile is a universal sign that reflects a friendly attitude and promotes the feelings of love and humanity. It gives happiness to the other person and thus becomes a charity. According to one Hadith, “To smile in the company of your brother is charity.”
FOLLOWING THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:
Performing acts of morality and avoiding the path of evil is a charity in itself. One who prevents his Muslim brothers from performing sin enjoys great blessings from his Lord. The Messenger of God is narrated to have said, “…To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity….”
PROVIDING GUIDANCE TO A FELLOW:
To direct an unacknowledged individual such that he reaches his desired destination is also an act of charity. A Hadith states, “…To guide a person in a place where he cannot get astray is charity….”
CLEANING THE PASSAGEWAY:
Removing harmful objects such as stones and thorns from the street or passageway save others from unnecessary trouble and thus comes under the umbrella of charity.
QUENCHING SOMEONE’S THIRST:
Pouring a glass of water for a thirsty person is the biggest act of charity anyone can perform. Allah has promised immense rewards for anyone who provides water when his brother is in need of it.
BENEFITS OF SADAQAH
- Sadaqah is kind of an investment in the way of Allah and He has promised to multiply it several times and return to his creation.
- The person who gives charity would be kept under shade during the blazing heat on the Day of Judgment.
- Anyone who gives Sadaqah saves himself from unforeseeable misfortunes and tragedies.
- Sadaqah helps an individual reap unlimited blessings from Allah even after his death.
- Sadaqah is a key to sustenance because Allah himself has promised a generous award.
- Charity increases knowledge and opens up pathways of success.
THE FINAL VERDICT
From the above teachings, it is quite evident that Islam has provided us with many ways to strengthen our bond with Allah and to make our faith increase day by day. Islam is a religion of peace and thus focuses on providing quality life to people of all statuses. Thus, it is our responsibility to join hands in this virtuous deed and help this world become a better place. Let us all take inspiration from this saying of Hazrat Jafar-us-Sadiq R.A.
“An act of charity given openly prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a secretly given charity cools the anger of our Lord Allah (SWT).”