When most of us think charity, we think of how much money we have or do not have, and what we can or cannot afford to give. Money being the only form of charity is a misconception, as there are so many opportunities to do good, whether you are poor and have nothing or are rich and seemingly have everything.
Allah (swt) instructs us on how we can be charitable in many different ways. It may be that He has not blessed us with much money, but He has given us brilliance and intelligence. He may not have given us knowledge, but He has given us compassion and kindness. By finding the good in ourselves, we can find ways to do good to help others and to please Allah (swt).
Doing Good with Good Speech
In the Quran, Allah (swt) emphasizes the importance of charity, and has instructed us to use our words wisely. Being kind and smiling in forgiveness to a family member, a friend, or even a stranger who has just insulted us may be considered better than an act of charity, in shaa allah.
Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing. [2:263]
When we give, we must give from our hearts and not allow shaytan to tempt us to gossip after doing good. What is the point of giving someone who is homeless a meal just to walk away and talk about how raggedy his clothes were?
Giving the Gift of Knowledge
Knowledge can be much more powerful than money. When you have this wonderful gift, it is possible to change lives with your words and wisdom. Sharing any beneficial knowledge you have been blessed with may be considered a good deed.
He brings (the) Wisdom to whomever He decides; and whoever is brought (the) Wisdom, then he has been brought much charity (i.e., benefit); and in no way does anyone constantly remember except the ones endowed with intellects. [2:269]
If you have extensive knowledge of Quran, teach. If you are good in worldly subjects like math and science, find a way to contribute positively to the world. If you know how harmful foods and chemicals in products are, share in the hopes someone may be spared an illness because of the knowledge you possess.
There is also much blessing when you share the bounties Allah (swt) has given you with those who are in desperate need. We can share our blessings in many ways, big or small.
And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah ; for you therein is good. So mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. [22:36]
If you know a family who is suffering, invite them to share dinner with your family or offer someone a hand at the grocery store if they are a little short on their bill. Just remember, whatever you have, someone else always has less and Allah (swt) loves those who give from what He gives.
Keeping Good Deeds Good
Allah (swt) also shares with us how our efforts of charity can be accepted rather than wasted by being humble and doing good to please Allah (swt), not mankind.
O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a [large] smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable [to keep] anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. [2:264]
If we can keep the intentions of our heart good, and remember that we are doing good to please Allah (swt), in shaa allah He will accept our deeds and bless us with many more chances to earn more.
Charity: Do it for Allah (swt): Part II
In Part I, we discussed the many ways Allah (swt) has blessed us with to do charitable deeds. We found that charity is more than just what worldly resources we have been given, but also the wisdom we have, and the words we use. We also learned how we can please Allah (swt) by keeping our deeds good by using good character and judgement.
Charity is something that is very important to us as Muslims, and Allah (swt) stresses this importance when he speaks of the qualities of believers and those who earn his pleasure will ultimately be the ones who are given the best of rewards, Jannah.
And establish prayer and give zakah (charity), and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing. [2:110]
Rewards Charity Holds
Allah (swt) is The Most Bountiful, and gives to us from His bounty in order to ease our difficulties as well as giving us the chance to share those blessings. Allah (swt) promises us a reward for being patient, doing good, and spending for Allah (swt), but He also promises to reward us for refraining from evil, subhan Allah!
Those will be given their reward twice for what they patiently endured and [because] they avert evil through good, and from what We have provided them they spend. And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, “For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace will be upon you; we seek not the ignorant.” [28:54-55]
Give Now, Regret Not Later
Never make a promise that you are unsure if you can keep, especially when that promise is to Allah (swt). When we face hardship and make dua for Allah (swt) to ease our difficulties, when we find ease we must find a way to remember, be thankful, and spread joy as that is what Allah (swt) would want from us.
And among them are those who made a covenant with Allah , [saying], “If He should give us from His bounty, we will surely spend in charity, and we will surely be among the righteous.” But when he gave them from His bounty, they were stingy with it and turned away while they refused. So He penalized them with hypocrisy in their hearts until the Day they will meet Him – because they failed Allah in what they promised Him and because they [habitually] used to lie. [9:75-9:77]
We do not want to be facing our last moments on this earth wishing and begging to have time to do more good. Make the most of the time you have and what you have because our heart will only beat as long as our Creator has already determined, He knows all and knows best!
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.” [63:10]
Small Acts of Charity that Make a Big Difference
Turning Waste into Worth
1. Clean out your closet and find gently used clothes you wear seldomly, shoes you bought and never wore, and things that may be brand new but just do not fit. Find a family in need or give to a local homeless shelter or women’s shelter.
2. Instead of throwing away those cardboard toilet paper rolls, almost empty jars of peanut butter, and that too stale to eat cereal turn it into a meal for the birds and squirrels. Plan a day with children at your local Masjid or community center and have children bring in their supplies. Smear the peanut butter on the rolls, roll them in crushed cereal, and hang them from the trees using string, rinse and recycle the old peanut butter jars or use them for storage containers.
3. Organize a food drive at your Masjid, School, or work place and clean out your cupboards. All the food that is still good but you will never use, give. Plan a day for everyone to bring sealed and unexpired foods and give all of the food to a homeless shelter or keep it in storage at the Masjid for families who may be facing difficulty.
So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it [99:7]
Give Wealth through Wisdom
4. If you know someone new to your Masjid who is struggling to learn their salah, offer to spend time with them to help them learn and memorize. If you have just $10, you can pay for them to have 30 days of access to one of the courses on Understand Quran Acadamy. If you do not have $10 and neither do they, let them know that UQA offers free access to learning for those who cannot afford it, subhan Allah!
5. You can purchase the learn 50% of Quran course package from UQA and keep it for use at your Masjid in the library or learning center to help those who do not speak Arabic learn.
6. Use what you know about Quran to write or speak to inspire others. Give reminders about salah, about not gossiping or backbiting, and give simple advice to those who are struggling.
There are many creative ways that we can give, and the possibilities are endless! No deed is ever too small, especially if we recall the story of the man who used his shoe to feed a thirsty dog who was granted jannah because of this deed.
And whatever good they do – never will it be removed from them. And Allah is Knowing of the righteous. [3:115]
Find a way to do something good today and do as much good as you can! Teach your children, siblings, or friends to give in charity. Smile often, use kind words, and use that wonderful mind of yours to come up with ways to please Allah (swt) while benefiting others, in shaa allah. Allah’s (swt) promise is real, alhamdulillah.
Indeed, the men who practice charity and the women who practice charity and [they who] have loaned Allah a goodly loan – it will be multiplied for them, and they will have a noble reward. [57:18]
Praying you will benefit.