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22 I SPECIAL FEATURE Passion Islam I September 2009
Continued from Page 21 equal amount to this.’ Then Abu Bakr Give to the near of kin their due, and
such charitable payments, a believer (Radhiallaahu Anhu) came with all his also to the needy and the wayfarer. Do
activates within himself some of Allah’s property. The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi not squander your substance wastefully,
own attributes, as Allah is the one who Wasallam) asked him, ‘What have you left for the wasteful squanderers are Satan’s
gives and feeds. for your family?’ he said, ‘I have left them brothers, and Satan has always been
When a believer is able to give others with (faith in) Allah and His Messenger.’ I ungrateful to His Lord. But if you must
so as to make them happy, he himself said, ‘I will never try to compete with you turn aside from them in pursuit of an act
experiences a sense of real happiness. again.’ of kindness you hope to receive from your
His is a sense of personal satisfaction, not This report, however, which suggests Lord, then at least speak to them kindly.
arrogance or conceit. He simply realizes that a believer is free to give away half or Do not be miserly, allowing your hand to
that his action brings him closer to the all his property for a cause to earn Allah’s remain shackled to your neck, nor stretch
ideal image of a Allah-fearing believer, pleasure and reward, relates to a case it out fully to maximum limit, lest you
which is his ultimate goal. Whenever the of emergency and Jihaad. The Prophet find yourself being blamed or reduced to
reality draws closer to the ideal image (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) had learnt destitution. Your Lord gives in abundance,
one paints for oneself, a sense of serenity that the Byzantines had mobilized to or in scant measure, to whom He wills. He
and reassurance, as well as freedom from invade Arabia, and the Muslims were is indeed fully aware of all His servants,
worry, becomes paramount. going through a period of hardship, with and sees them all.’ (Qur’aan 17:26:30)
farm produce at a very low level and A believer may feel ashamed or guilty
Charity: Too Much or Too Little blazing summer heat. Hence, the Prophet if he holds on to what he has without
We quoted earlier several Hadiths (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) encourages giving it away to poor and needy people.
making it clear that Islam prefers that his well-off followers to donate for army But Allah reassures us that it is He who
people should steer a middle way when equipment and to help others who did gives some of His servants in plenty, while
giving money for charity, without being not have enough to provide themselves He gives others in a scant measure. That
stingy or careless. Even when a person with mounts and arms. The Prophet which He does has a wise purpose behind
is approaching death, the portion of his (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) needed it.
own estate he may leave for charity, for an army to withstand a very long march A believer, however, helps the poor
relatives who are not his heirs, and for to meet the Byzantines at Tabuk in and donates for charity, but leaves himself
good causes is set at a maximum of one- North Arabia. That army was termed, enough to look after his family and cater
third. Another highly authentic Hadith that ‘The hardship army’, and it was for for any emergency. He is keen to belong
may be quoted in this regard is one related equipping it that Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu to the believers described by Allah in
by both al-Bukhari and Muslim quoting Anhu) donated all his wealth and Umar the following terms, ‘Successful are the
Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas (Radhiallaahu (Radhiallaahu Anhu) donated half his believers who humble themselves in
Anhu), a close companion of Rasulullah wealth, while Uthmaan donated 10,000 their prayer, and turn away from all that is
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Dinaars, 300 fully-equipped horses. That frivolous, and who pay out their Zakaat.’
‘Allah’s messenger came to visit me donation had a profound effect on the (Qur’aan 23:1-4)
when I was very ill at the time of his farewell Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) I am not calling on believers to reduce
pilgrimage. I said to him, ‘Messenger of who said, ‘My Lord, be pleased with what they give away in charity, but I am
Allah, you see how poor I am and I have Uthmaan, for I am pleased with him.’ simply saying to them that they must not
some property. I have no heirs other than These were exceptional circumstances, feel any sense of guilt or deprecate their
my one daughter. May I leave two-thirds when the Muslim community was facing own action when they hear that some
of my property for charity.’ The Prophet a very serious external threat. In fact, devout people of the past used to give
(Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, ‘No.’ I it was a situation of life and death for away everything they earned. When all
said, ‘Then, what about one-half?’ again, many Muslims and their newly-born state. Muslims pay out their Zakaat on time, the
the prophet said, ‘No.’ I asked again, Hence, the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alayhi eradication of poverty may not require
‘What about one-third?’ He said, ‘You may Wasallam) accepted such large donations anything more than such Zakaat or a little
leave one-third, even though one-third is like half the property of Umar and the more in Sadaqaat or voluntary charity.
plenty (or too much). To leave your heirs whole property of Abu Bakr (Radhiallaahu A believer, who limits himself to
well-off is better than leaving them in Anhu). But exception does not override spending a portion of his money, retaining
poverty, asking people for help. You will the rule. In fact, it confirms it. The rule the larger part for himself is neither
certainly be rewarded for any amount you here is that the best charity is that which guilty, nor failing to meet his duty. When
give away for Allah’s sake, even the bite leaves the donor self-sufficient. he remains in funds, this means that he
you put in your wife’s mouth.’ We may reflect on these verses in which will be able to give to charity repeatedly.
Abu Dawud and al-Darimi transmit a Allah orders his Messenger to donate to giving away a little amount on a regular
report that may be seen to contradict what charity, and if he has nothing to give, then basis is better than giving a large donation
we have quoted above. Both quote Umar to speak kindly to those in need, as he once only. We should remember Allah’s
ibn al-Khattaab as saying, hopes to get something of Allah’s favours statement, ‘They ask you (O Muhammad)
One day, the Prophet (Sallallaahu when he can help the needy. It is in this what they should spend in charity; say,
Alayhi Wasallam) asked us to donate to context that God tells His messenger not ‘Whatever you can spare?’ (Qur’aan
charity, and I happened to have some to give away carelessly, so that he would 2:219). Al-Qurtubi, a famous commentator
money. I thought that this provided me not come to rue his actions. The best on the Qur’aan, says that this means what
with the chance of doing better than Abu charity is that which leaves the donor in a a person can easily dispense with, without
Bakr, if I could ever do better than him. good situation to look after himself and his having to struggle within himself for giving
I took half of my property and gave it to dependants. It is not the charity that takes it away. Thus, Allah tells us to spend in
the Prophet.’ He asked, ‘What have you away his means so as to leave him poor. charity what we can spare without leaving
left for your family?’ I said, ‘I have an Allah Ta’ala says in the noble Qur’aan: ourselves in a position of need.
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