Charity (Sadqah) is an act of giving out to the people in need and society at large. Charity can be in form of money, goods, food or even simple act of spending time with those who need your assistance in any form. Life doesn’t offer equal opportunities for everyone; through charity, we can share our blessings with those less fortunate and thus try to bring balance to the society.
Islam, being the religion of Peace, strongly advocates Charity. Allah has made charity (Zakaat) an obligation on every believing Muslim. Quran and Sunnah put great emphasis on charity through multiple mentions of charity in Quran and Hadith. The Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) presented many examples of charity in His lifetime and thus it becomes compulsory for Muslims to follow the suit. The Prophet (PBUH) said that
“The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 604)
The concept of charity derives from the fact to acknowledge that we own nothing but whatever has been given to us is a blessing by Allah (SWT) and it’s His property. So when we give out something from our pocket, we are actually sharing Allah’s blessings with His mankind and since we don’t own anything, we don’t lose anything by giving out but only gain Allah’s rewards.
“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.” (Quran 3:92)
Charity is purely for the sake of Allah and no worldly gain should be intended while making charity. It should only be made to seek Allah’s forgiveness and His blessings.
“They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, “Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.”” (Quran 2:215)
It is said that no one should be aware of the charity you give out so much so that your left hand shouldn’t be aware of the charity you give out with your right hand. Secrecy should be kept when giving charity for two reasons. Firstly, charity is for Allah and not to show off your good deeds and wealth to the world, and secondly in order to not hurt the respect and honor of the person being given charity. In Quran, Allah reminds us not to be boastful of our charity in the following verse:
“You who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words.” (Quran 2:264)
There are two forms of charity in Islam – obligatory and voluntary, called Zakat and Sadaqah respectively.