Ramadan 2019 –Day 6 : Significance of ‘Charity’ during the Holy month
During Ramadan, fasting from sunrise to sunset is obligatory upon Muslims who are able to do so and is representative of a spiritual cleansing, an effort to become closer to God, and an attempt to gain a better understanding of human suffering. The act of fasting calls for Muslims to practice self-discipline and sacrifice, as well as reflect upon and show compassion for the less fortunate.
Charity is a very important part of Islam and is even more significant during Ramadan. Muslims are also reminded to be generous and increase their charitable activities during this month. One type of charitable giving, which is known as Zakat, is obligatory for those who are financially able. There are two types of Zakat: Zakat al-Mal, which requires Muslims to give at least 2.5% of their assets to the poor and hungry, and another type, smaller in amount but for the same purpose, known as Zakat-al-Fitr which Muslims are required to pay before the commencement of Eid al-Fitr. Zakat is an integral part of the Muslim faith and, like fasting, is one of the five pillars of 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.
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.
In celebration of Ramadan, consider donating to one of these highly rated charities which have specific Zakat designated funds and strive towards the alleviation of poverty and hunger all over the world. You can even pick a few and add them to our Giving Basket to donate to them all at once. The notion of giving, especially giving and helping those in need, is so entrenched in Islam.