The Importance of Charity and Giving in Islam
A hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says that a voice was once heard commanding a cloud to irrigate a man’s garden. When the man was asked what he did with the garden, he replied that he estimated the produce of his garden. Then he distributed one-third to charity, kept one-third for himself and his family, and invested one-third back into the garden. Just as Allah (swt) sent a cloud for this man who gave to the poor, Allah will also provide for us in miraculous ways if we give what we love for the pleasure of Allah and in the service of mankind. As the hadith beautifully illustrates, Allah replaces what we give and multiplies it.
مَّن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يُقْرِضُ ٱللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَٰعِفَهُۥ لَهُۥٓ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْصُۜطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.”
The Benefits of Charity:
The Almighty promises us that if we train ourselves to give in times of ease and hardship, our sustenance will increase. Giving awakens our souls and triggers genuine concern for the well-being of others. Priority is given to feeding the poor and the needy, as that is one of the best acts in Islam.
Giving from what we are given from The Provider and Owner of everything not only releases us from the disease of want but also reminds us that everything belongs to Allah (swt) and must be used for the well-being of all of humanity.
We will never attain righteousness until we spend what we love, loving for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Protect yourself from hell-fire even by giving a piece of date as charity.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The personal sacrifice of giving one’s possessions, no matter how small, for the sake of helping those in need is a blessing and means purifying our souls and wealth. From a drop of water to gardens of fruit we must remember that everything in this world is loaned to us for a brief period of time. The true test is the test of giving the given.
“Allah, the Exalted, says, ‘Spend, O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). How will you give today?
Quranic Verses on Charity
وَأَنفِقُوا۟ مِن مَّا رَزَقْنَٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ فَيَقُولَ رَبِّ لَوْلَآ أَخَّرْتَنِىٓ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍ قَرِيبٍ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُن مِّنَ ٱلصَّٰلِحِينَ
And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.”
[Quran, 63: 10]
مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍ مِّا۟ئَةُ حَبَّةٍ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
[Quran, 2: 261]
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا رَزَقْنَٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ يَوْمٌ لَّا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ وَلَا خُلَّةٌ وَلَا شَفَٰعَةٌ ۗ وَٱلْكَٰفِرُونَ هُمُ ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ
O you who have believed, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers – they are the wrongdoers.
ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُم بِٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ۚ وَمَا تُقَدِّمُوا۟ لِأَنفُسِكُم مِّنْ خَيْرٍ تَجِدُوهُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
And establish prayer and give zakah, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing.
Ahadith on Charity
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said that:
Allah The Glorious and Exalted Says: ‘Spend (on charity), O son of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’
Narrated by Abu Huraira
A man asked the Prophet (saws), “O Allah’s Messenger (saws)! What kind of charity is the best?” He (saws) replied. “To give in charity when you are healthy and greedy hoping to be wealthy and afraid of becoming poor. Don’t delay giving in charity till the time when you are on the death bed when you say, ‘Give so much to so-and-so and so much to so-and so,’ as at that time the property is not yours but it belongs to so-and-so (i.e. your inheritors).”
Narrated by Haritha bin Wahab: I heard the Prophet (saws) saying:
“O people! Give in charity as a time will come upon you when a person will wander about with his object of charity and will not find anybody to accept it, and one (who will be requested to take it) will say, “If you had brought it yesterday, I would have taken it, but today I am not in need of it.”
Narrated by Adi bin Hatim: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying:
“Save yourself from the (Hell) Fire even with half a date (to be given in charity); and if you do not find a half date, then with a good pleasant word.”
Narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri: The Prophet (saws) said:
‘A man giving a dirham as sadaqah (charity) during his life is better than giving one hundred dirhams as charity at the moment of his death.’
Narrated by Asma: Allah’s Messenger (saws) said:
“Give (in charity) and do not give reluctantly lest Allah should give you in a limited amount; and do not withhold your money lest Allah should withhold it from you.”
Narrated by Abdullah ibn ash-Shikhkhir: Allah’s Messenger (saws) said:
‘The son of Adam claims: ‘My wealth! My wealth!….. O son of Adam, is there anything as your belonging except that which you consumed, which you utilized, or which you wore and then it was worn out, or that which you gave as charity and sent it forward (for the life Hereafter)?’
Narrated by Mu’adh ibn Jabal: The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:
‘Charity obliterates sins just as water extinguishes fire.’