Many a time when people hear charity, their first thoughts range from ‘celebrities they see over the news donating huge sums’, ‘the size of their pockets’ and ‘how much they could use charity themselves’, these people probably don’t know that charity isn’t just an act of benevolence towards humanity or an obligation upon all muslims, it is in fact a proof of faith.
Here are a few points you probably didn’t know about charity starting with the fact that charity isn’t always about money.
Charity is best given out of little
Most people have a good heart, they care enough to want to help the poor and needy but they just never seem to have enough left to give. Some people even go as far as putting a time tag on charity before which they can’t afford it (they really have it in mind to give). The thing is you don’t have to wait till you own millions before you start giving in charity, give out of the little you have and that is the best.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: There came a man to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, which charity is the most rewardable?” He (PBUH) said, “That you should give charity (in a state when you are) healthy and stingy and fear poverty, hoping to become rich (charity in such a state of health and mind is the best). And you must not defer (charity to such a length) that you are about to die and would be saying: ‘this is for so-and-so, and this for so-and-so.’ Lo! It has already come into (the possession of) so-and-so”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Charity begins at home
There isn’t much goodness in having a lot of wealth and spending it all in charity while your family suffers and starves, charity should begin with the people closest to us because as It turns out, the cliché ‘charity begins at home’ isn’t arbitrary, the prophet said
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “A dinar you spend in Allah’s way, or to free a slave, or as a charity you give to a needy person, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spend on your family”.
No matter how much you own, little or much, begin your charity at home.
Charity in acts of worship
I have been talking about spending out of the little we have, spending on family and all, but truth be told, there are times when there just isn’t anything left to give, at this point, engaging in acts of worship will suffice as charity.
Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When you get up in the morning, charity is due from every one of your joints. There is charity in every ascription of glory to Allah; there is charity in every declaration of His Greatness; there is charity in every utterance of praise of Him; there is charity in every declaration that He is the only true God (worthy of worship); there is charity in enjoining good; there is charity in forbidding evil. Two Rak`ah of Duha (Forenoon prayer) is equal to all this (in reward)”.
There’s charity in every act of kindness
Kindness is the one currency that we all possess but which only a few people spend, it is the language that the blind can see and the deaf can hear, it doesn’t require a lot of money just a heart, a heart that cares enough to help the old cross the street, remove harmful things from the road, say a kind word to the beggar, relieve somebody of a heavy burden, plant a tree, enjoin what is good, forbid what is evil, all of these little acts of kindness might seem insignificant to you but to the person receiving it’ll mean a lot. Show kindness no matter how minute the act may seem; you just might make somebody’s day. The best part is that you will be rewarded for it because it is charity.
Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “Every good deed is charity”.
Muslim has reported the same on the authority of Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him).
On a final note
Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Giving in charity is an obligation upon every Muslim”. It was said (to him): “What about one who does not find (the means) to do so?” He (PBUH) said, “Let him work with his hands, thus doing benefit to himself and give in charity.” It was said to him: “What if he does not have (the means) to do so?” He (PBUH) said, “Then let him assist the needy, the aggrieved.” It was said: “What about if he cannot even do this?” He (PBUH) said, “Then he should enjoin good.” He was asked: “What if he cannot do that?” He (the Prophet (PBUH)) said, “He should then abstain from evil, for verily, that is a charity from him”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].