Fruits for the Week

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The true Muslim is generous no matter how poor he is and no matter how small the amount he gives. It is sufficient for him to have compassion in his heart towards those who are even poorer than him and to feel what others are suffering from the pain of deprivation. Hence, many hadeeths encourage the poor to spend a little, according to their ability, so that they will continue to feel that they are in solidarity with their brothers. Allah promised those who spend, no matter how small their gift is, or how poor they are, that their charity would bear fruits and increase until it became like a high mountain, on the condition that the money they spent came from a halaal source.

The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever gives charity equal in value to a date from a good source – for Allah does not accept anything but good – Allah will accept it in His right hand, and nurture it as any of you would nurture a foal until it becomes like a mountain.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

To prevent people from closing their minds and avoiding contributing to society, and to keep goodness, mercy, and compassion flowing in their hearts, the Prophet (saw) called on them to give charity, no matter how little. He warned them against being negative and tight-fisted because such attitudes would lead to doom and punishment. He (saw) said: “Protect yourself from the Fire, even by giving just a half a date in charity.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah wants the Muslim to be a good, beneficial, constructive element in his society, always overflowing with goodness towards people, whether he is rich or poor. So the Prophet (saw) encouraged the Muslim to do good, according to his abilities, and described every good deed as charity. He (saw) said: “Every Muslim must give charity.” They said: “O’ Messenger of Allah, what if he cannot do that?” He said: “Then let him work with his hands and benefit himself and give charity.” They said: “What if he cannot do that?” He said: “Then let him help one who is in desperate need.” They said: “What if he cannot do that?” He said: “Then let him do good, and refrain from doing evil, and that will be an act of charity on his part.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam extended the circle of goodness to encompass every Muslim. The one who is very poor need not feel that he is denied the opportunity to participate in this social goodness because of his lack of wealth. Every good deed that he does is an act of charity on his part, for which he will be rewarded just as the rich man will be rewarded for what he spends. The Prophet (saw) said: “Every good deed is an act of charity.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus Islam guarantees that all members of a society will participate in building, serving and improving it, and that all of them will feel the satisfaction of this participation which will give them back their pride and honor and will bring about their reward.

Islam is realistic and kind to Muslims. It does not expect them to do more than they are able, and it does not ask them to spend anything except their excess wealth. It does not blame those who have only a little, and it prefers that they should meet their own needs themselves; because the hand that gives is better than the hand that takes. But whatever is surplus to one’s requirements may be used to compete in generosity, for the true Muslim does not hold back from doing any good deed, for he has learned from his religion that spending in charity is good, while withholding it is evil.

The Prophet (saw) said: “‘O’ son of Adam, if you spend your surplus wealth it is good for you, and if you withhold it, it is bad for you. There is no blame on you if you hold on to what you need. Begin (your spending in charity) with those for whose support you are responsible. The upper hand is better than the lower hand.” (Muslim)

The true Muslim does not forget to be generous and to give in charity whenever he has anything in excess of his own and his family’s needs, even if it is savings that people keep to guarantee freedom from poverty or to raise themselves up to the level of being wealthy. Indeed, Islam sees charity in such circumstances as being the best kind of charity and the kind that will bring the greatest reward, as in the hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah: “A man came to the Prophet (saw) and said, ‘O’ Messenger of Allah, what kind of charity is the best?’ He said, ‘The charity you give when you are healthy and tight-fisted; when you fear poverty and are hoping the wealth. Do not delay until you are about to die and say, ‘This is for so-and-so and that is for so-and-so.’ It has already become the property of so-and-so.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)

(To be continued)

by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi