Muslim Aid and Charity

In Islamic society, money is not important. What important is, is the use of money. One may not have much money but the way he uses it can not only be his reward and prize in this world but also in the hereafter. In the initial years of Islamic revival in Arabia, Muslims were not so much in wealth. The importance of wealth was known so our beloved prophet Muhammad pbuh urged Muslims to give Aid charity and help those in need.

The concept of charity is not only limited to pay yearly obligated zakah. It has more to it. Even a penny given in the name of ALLAH is charity. A smile for parents is charity. So charity is not limited to money only, a help in time of need, a knowledge shared, a smile shared becomes charity as long as it is beneficial for the society. In holy Quran, ALLAh swt has mentioned about charity on many places.  In the following verse, ALLAH swt say;
2:271 It is good if you (give openly and) let your charity be known. But truly excellent it would be, if you give to the poor and let your charity remain a secret. Allah will rid you of your sins! And Allah is very well Aware of everything you do!

So, charity which is told of and which is kept secret both are correct. But best is to give charity and keep it a matter of secrecy. When charity is given openly, it encourages other people too to think about those in need. Thus, both ways are liked but surely what ALLAH likes the most is the best.

Prophet Muhammad pbuh always appreciated charity and gave glad tidings to those who give charity along with doing other good deeds. The following hadith tells us;

Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 82, Number 798:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Seven (people) will be shaded by Allah by His Shade on the Day of Resurrection when there will be no shade except His Shade. (They will be), a just ruler, a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, a man who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears, a man whose heart is attached to mosques (offers his compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque), two men who love each other for Allah's Sake, a man who is called by a charming lady of noble birth to commit illegal sexual intercourse with her, and he says, 'I am afraid of Allah,' and (finally), a man who gives in charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given."

A person, who gives charity secretly, will be in the shade of ALLAH on the day of judgement. What a blessing this is. What a glad tiding to know that giving charity brings such a great reward. Charity is not just the sourcesof earning reward but it is also expiation from so many sins and troubles. The following ahadith indicate charity as expiation against a trouble and expiation against sin.

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 79, Number 699:
Narrated Ka'b bin 'Ujra:
I came to the Prophet and he said to me, "Come near." So I went near to him and he said, "Are your lice troubling you?" I replied, "Yes." He said, "(Shave your head and) make expiation in the form of fasting, Sadaqa (giving in charity), or offering a sacrifice." (The sub-narrator) Aiyub said, "Fasting should be for three days, and the Nusuk (sacrifice) is to be a sheep, and the Sadaqa is to be given to six poor persons."

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 79, Number 701:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "I am ruined!" The Prophet said to him, "What is the matter?" He said, "I have done a sexual relation with my wife (while fasting) in Ramadan." The Prophet said to him?" "Can you afford to manumit a slave?" He said, "No." The Prophet said, "Can you fast for two successive months?" He said, "No." The Prophet said, "Can you feed sixty poor persons?" He said, "No." Then an Ansari man came with an Irq (a big basket full of dates). The Prophet said (to the man), "Take this (basket) and give it in charity." That man said, "To poorer people than we, O Allah's Apostle? By Him Who has sent you with the Truth! There is no house in between the two mountains (of the city of Medina) poorer than we." So the Prophet said (to him), "Go and feed it to your family."

Thus, charity can be given in case of a trouble getting out of control and a sin which has to be regretted and repented. Then prophet Muhammad pbuh said that charity is also a sheild against the fire of hell. In the followign hadith, He pbuh said;

Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 547:
Narrated 'Adi bin Hatim:
The Prophet said, "There will be none among you but will be talked to by Allah on the Day of Resurrection, without there being an interpreter between him and Him (Allah) . He will look and see nothing ahead of him, and then he will look (again for the second time) in front of him, and the (Hell) Fire will confront him. So, whoever among you can save himself from the Fire, should do so even with one half of a date (to give in charity)."

Therefore, charity is to be given as much as one can afford so that on the day of judgement, hell fire is not our destination. This hadith also indicates that poors are not exempted from spending in ALLAH's way. They can do whatever they can. Unfortunately, in today's age, poor people only want to take, they do not want to share. Whenever they are heard, they are heard complaining. While Islam has never liked complaints.

The islamic economic system also encourages charity because a society where charity is an integral part, poverty vanishes with the passage of time. Int he time of third rightly guided khalifah, hazrat usman gani r.a, the poverty was eliminated to such an extent that he used to take money in his hand and look for a person to accept charity. This time will come again, as indicated by prophet Muhammad pbuh in the following hadith,

Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 88, Number 236:

Narrated Haritha bin Wahb:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Give in charity because there will come a time on the people when a person will go out with his alms from place to place but will not find anybody to accept it."
So, give aid and charity as much as you can for expiation against sins, for a solution of troubles, and for the ease of hereafter. 
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