Aisha Badeji

Just about everyone knows how highly placed giving Sadaqah (charity) is in Islam. There are quite a number of verses in the Qur’an and of course, Hadith about the concept of giving to the poor, needy, orphans and generally, those in need. However, Islam being the religion that provides a level playing ground for all its adherents, has taught us that giving charity doesn’t have to be monetary.

In a popular Hadith, the Prophet was quoted to have said that smiling is charity. The narration was reported by Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) and he said the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said ‘’charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day as the sun rises. He was then asked ‘’from what do we give charity every day?’’ The Prophet answered ‘’The doors of goodness are many…enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one’s legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help and supporting the feeble with the strength of one’s arms- all of these are charity prescribed for you.’’

He also said ‘’ your smile for your brother is charity.’’ (At-Tirmidhi 1879). Imagine how great this Islam is, merely doing any of the above simple acts can earn you the reward of giving charity.

In another narration by Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him), ‘’Abu Dharr said to the Messenger of Allah, ‘The wealthy people have all the rewards, they pray as we pray; they fast as we fast and they have surplus wealth with which they give in charity; but we have no wealth which we may give in charity.’ Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: Abu Dharr, should I not teach you the phrases by which you acquire the rank of those who excel you? No one can acquire your rank except one who acts like you.’ He said, Why not Allah’s Messenger (SAW). He said: ’Exalt Allah say ‘’Allah Akbar’’ (Allah is great) after each prayer thirty-three times; and praise Him say: ‘’Alhamdulilah’’ (praise be to Allah) thirty three times and glorify Him say: ‘’Subhan Allah’’ (Glory be to Allah) thirty-three times; and end it by saying ‘’La ilâha illallâhu wahdahu la shareeka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yumeetu wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in Qadeer’’ (There is no god but Allah alone, He has no partner, to Him belongs the Kingdom, to Him praise is due and He has power over everything). Your sins will be forgiven even if they are like the foam of the sea.’’ (Abu Dawud 1499). This is an awesome offer everybody should literally jump on.  Because why not?

Asides the numerous rewards that will be granted to those who give charity, the act of giving the less privileged or helping people in need is so humbling. The believer is reminded that this life is a test, no condition is permanent and that Allah gives His bounties to whom He wills and withholds them from whom He wills.

Giving charity to fellow human beings is also capable of showing the world the beauty of Islam and the compassion and kindness that it propagates. However, it is very important to note that Islam discourages begging, contrary to the misconception some people have. One of the prominent Sahaba of the Prophet, Umar bn Khattab said ‘’Earning a livelihood by following some profession is better than living on charity.’’

  Almighty Allah, in Surat Baraqah, verse 261, informs us about the goodies that will be given to those who constantly spend in His way. ‘’The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed of grain which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies His reward for whom He wills. And Allah is All-Encompassing and Knowing.’’

In verse 274 of the same Surah, Allah (SWT) reminds us that ‘’those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them nor will they grieve.’’

Lastly, as much as we want to seek the pleasure of Allah by giving charity, the most important thing is to purify our intention and perform the act solely for the sake of Allah, not for show-off or to get praises from fellow human beings. Once this is sorted, be sure to have the angel on your right shoulder record maximum rewards for all your deeds of charity, even as little as a smile.