Charity in Islam
Mohammad Nadeem Parray
As one of the Five Pillars of Islam, charity plays a huge part in everyday life for Muslims around the world. Helping those less fortunate than ourselves by donating and ongoing charity (also known as Sadaqah Jariyah) are just some of the many ways that Islamic teachings prioritize charity in the wider world.
Zakat is an obligatory form of charity, based on an individual’s personal wealth, and must be donated to help those who are in need of a helping hand. Zakat is calculated based on what we have that is over and above our own basic needs and ensures that nobody goes without. By definition, Zakat means to purify your wealth in this world by giving to those less fortunate.
By contrast, Sadaqah Jariyah is a form of ongoing voluntary charity that helps recipients build a better future as well as providing them with relief in the present. Instead of simply donating food and water, to give Sadaqah Jariyah provides recipients with the opportunity to create an income for their families on a much longer-term basis. This ongoing charity rewards both donor and recipient not just in this world but also in the Hereafter.
The Importance of Zakat
Zakat is an obligation that almost all Muslims must meet, provided they meet specific requirements. Zakat is compulsory as instructed by the Holy Qur’an and all able Muslim’s undertake this to deepen their connection with Allah (S.W.T) and betterment of themselves.
Charity giving is so important in Islam because there are so many people around the world that are without basic human needs. People are without food, clean water, shelter, clothing and education everywhere, whether nearby in our towns and cities or further afield in war-torn countries. By giving to those in need, a good deed is done for both parties, as the donor will also gain contentment from being able to help.
The Zakat Facts
To qualify for Zakat, one should be of good health both physically and mentally and meet the Nisab threshold. This is based on cash, gold, silver and other assets. Those eligible typically donate 2.5% of their profitable wealth as Zakat.
Sadaqah Jariyah is a voluntary form of ongoing charity that covers all aspects of giving. Whether this is something as small as giving advice or helping someone better themselves for the future. This kind of charity rewards all parties involved in the current day and long after their life has ended. Investing in the Hereafter as much as the things we have now is of great importance to all Muslims.
How Sadaqah can work for you
There are so many different ways to incorporate ceaseless charity in your life, and the rewards of which are immeasurable. Whether you choose to donate your time and energy or prefer to give monetary contributions towards a worthy cause, it could not be easier to get involved.
Education and skills development
Teaching the importance of Islam to others and spreading the knowledge you have is a great way to educate those around you. Engaging in discussion, sharing facts and knowledge with the purpose of doing good and spreading the word of Islam, and you shall reap the rewards every single time this knowledge is passed on.
Similar to the above, donating religious materials (like the Holy Qur’an or books of Dua), brings huge benefits to both donor and recipient. In addition, any religious items such as prayer mats, hijabs etc. are widely accepted as a form of Sadaqah and the rewards for this are tenfold. Each and every time an item you donate is used; you too will receive reward and benefits.
There are far too many children in the world who, along with being deprived of their basic human needs are being denied education, too. Without education, they will struggle to better themselves and create a future that they deserve.
By sponsoring a child, you are contributing to not just their education, but their emotional development and tapping into their creativity, inspiring them to want more from this world. By sponsoring a child, you are helping them develop skills that can change their families lives forever, as well as their surrounding communities.
Help in the Community
One of the greatest ways to give charity is to get involved in the construction of a Mosque or other significant building, such as a school or hospital. As with any other form of Sadaqah, you will receive just as much benefit from your generosity and the potential for reward is immense. Every prayer recited, every child learning, every sick or injured person treated is rewarded.
Giving life essentials
Although food and water are often taken for granted, for many people around the world, these life essentials are in short supply. Not only do they provide sustenance and sanitation, but they can completely transform the lives of those in need.
Donating food and clean water is just one way to help, but donating to a cause that gives these communities a means of accessing clean water themselves and nurturing their crops is one of the greatest ways to help ceaselessly. This ongoing charity is hugely beneficial.
Giving to charity is a way of restoring balance to the world, ensuring all communities are afforded the same rights and as instructed by the Holy Qur’an. Moreover, it is doing so discreetly and for the right reasons. Giving to purely receive praise will not be rewarded as this is not a selfless charitable act, but giving to help others and seeking fulfilment from their happiness along with the happiness of Allah (SWT) will only bring great reward in return.
By integrating ongoing charity into our everyday lives, it will soon become the norm. By adopting this way of thinking and accepting Sadaqah Jariyah as a way of life, Allah (SWT) will ensure that our good deeds are rewarded not just today, but in the Hereafter, too.
(The author is pursuing Post graduation in Chemistry)