The religion of Islam is a religion of mercy. It is the religion of helping others for the sake of Allah SWT. It is about helping the poor and helping the needy.
In Sura Baqarah, ayat 261, Allah SWT says:
The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the way of ALLAH is like the similitude of a grain of corn which grows seven ears, in each ear a hundred grains. And ALLAH multiplies it further for whomsoever HE pleases and ALLAH is Bountiful, All-Knowing.
My brothers, if one was to analyse the above ayat, it is evident that Allah SWT is describing the way in which the reward for giving charity is multiplied many times over. In fact this ayat is telling us that the reward for whatever is given in charity is multiplied 700 times by Allah SWT.
This, my brothers, is the extreme bounty which Allah SWT displays towards his servants.
One can be mistaken into thinking that charity is reserved for those who can afford to give it. This is not true. We know from our Prophet SAWS that giving charity does not decrease wealth and so we are transgressing ourselves if we think this and therefore don’t give to charity.
Allah SWT reminds us of this in ayat 195 of Sura Baqara which is translated to say:
And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
On top of this, we also have the our beloved Prophet SAWS advising us to give to charity. In a Sahih hadith, the prophet SAWS is narrated to have 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).
There are several different categories of charity in Islam, the two main ones being Zakat (obligatory charity) and Sadaqa (voluntary charity).
Zakat is a specific, standardized charity that must be given to the poor and those in need. The general guide to for the amount is 2.5% of capital assets, i.e. money.
Sadaqa, on the other hand, can be given to anyone, and in many different forms, including: a smile to another, advice to a friend, helping someone out with a task or chore.
And probably, the best of all, is the charity that we can invest in that will work for us after we have departed this world and that is Sadaqa Jariya.
Examples of this can range from paying for the maintenance or building of a masjid to planting a tree that wildlife can feed off or even teaching others about Islam.
Charity serves as a way to bring justice, balance and kindness to every society and community. It should be the prayer of every single Muslim that their community fulfils their charitable duty correctly and does their part to eliminate poverty from the neighbourhoods.
There are numerous benefits of giving Sadaqa besides what has already been mentioned. This reminder concludes with summarizing these so that we may be encouraged to give to charity consistently and without reminder.
Charity wipes away sins. Charity protects us from the anger of Allah SWT in other transgressions we may be guilty of. It protects us from the Hellfire, it keeps us under the shade of Allah SWT on the Day of Judgement and it results in angels praying for us that would otherwise not.
In the dunya, we have benefits of giving to charity. The first is that our wealth isn’t diminished. In fact, our wealth is filled with baraqa. What does that mean though? In practical terms, we get a sense that the money doesn’t just disappear as we may have all experienced from time to time. The money we acquire has more substance, more meaning and just appears to last longer even if the amount is the same.
The other and final point on the benefit is one of it being a cure. Charity cures illnesses and it is a remedy for the heart. Allah SWT mentioned the benefit in ayat 92 of Sura Imran which is translated to say:
Never will you attain the good[reward]
until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.
Dear brothers and sisters, giving to charity gives us peace in our hearts, cures to our ailments and blessing to our wealth. It is one of the biggest gifts we have the choice to take. And all it requires is for us to part with that which we are known to love, part with it in the knowledge that it is better for us in this life and the next to do so.