Charity holds immense importance in Islam. It goes beyond simply giving money – it encompasses acts of kindness, compassion and selflessness. This blog delves into the significance of charity in Islam, exploring its various forms and the profound transformations it can bring about in ourselves and those around us.
Doing good is deeply embedded in Islam. It shapes our character, strengthens our faith and purifies our hearts, allowing us to connect with Allah (SWT) on a deeper level.
Many verses in the Qur’an emphasise how Allah (SWT) loves and elevates the status of those who perform acts of goodness. Such as in these verses, which state:
Ulaaa’ika yusaari’oona fil khairaati wa hum lahaa saabiqoon
أُولَٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ
It is they who hasten to every good work and these who are foremost in them.
Innal laaha laa yazlimu misqaala zarratinw wa in taku hasanatany yudaa’ifhaa wa yu’ti mil ladunhu ajran ‘azeemaa
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ ۖ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَاعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِن لَّدُنْهُ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward.
One of the most significant acts of goodness in Islam includes giving in charity, which can come in many forms.
Giving Charity in Islam
In Islam, charity can refer to two words. As they both serve as a reminder of our duty to care for others in Islam and nurture our sense of compassion, empathy and generosity within us.
The first is Zakat, which, in Arabic, literally means “to cleanse”. It is one of the five pillars of Islam and is an obligatory yearly charity for every Muslim whose wealth surpasses a certain threshold (nisab). Fulfilling Zakat helps strengthen our connection with Allah (SWT) and ensures those in need in our community receive essential support.
General or voluntary charity is known as Sadaqah. In Arabic, the word ‘Sadaqah’ literally means ‘righteousness’ and stems from the root word ‘sidq’, which means sincerity. As Sadaqah itself is an act of sincerity that helps spread goodness.
Sadaqah can also refer to charity beyond giving money. As the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“A charity is due for every joint in each person on every day the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
As such, Allah (SWT) has encouraged all believers to give in charity in any way they can, regardless of how much they have. As giving charity is a means for us to share our blessings and support each other as a community, whether it be through giving donations or lending a helping hand.
Community and Charity
Community has an important place in Islam. We often rely on our community for support and guidance, particularly during challenging times. Whether it is through our families, friends, school, work or community organisations, having a supportive community can make a significant difference in our lives.
The Prophet (ﷺ) himself stressed the importance of community, saying, “The believers, in their mutual love, compassion, and sympathy are like a single body; if one of its organs suffers, the whole body will respond to it with sleeplessness and fever.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim)
As such, there are many ways we can give as charity to our community. We can hold fundraising activities or donate to different charities and organisations. But we can also help out in ways that go beyond money, such as volunteering our time or skills. This can include helping out at community events, teaching others new skills, building support networks or simply checking in on our loved ones.
All in all, charity holds immense importance in Islam, serving as a fundamental pillar of the faith. Moreover, charity is not limited to how much we have. Alongside giving donations, acts of kindness, compassion, forgiveness and spreading goodness are also considered forms of charity in Islam.
As such, through our acts of generosity, we can alleviate hardships and bring hope to those in need in our community and help work towards building a more compassionate and just society.
May our charitable efforts be a source of blessings, purification and a means of attaining closeness to Allah (SWT).