Concept of Charity in Islam

Charity is given voluntarily in order to please Almighty Allah. Sadaqah also describes a voluntary charitable act towards others whether through generosity, love, compassion or faith. Charity is an important way of bringing justice to this world, and has been preached by every religion in the world. Islam has made charity obligatory and binding on all those who embrace Islam, to provide support for the needy, orphans and widows. It is thus the duty of the rich to give part of their wealth for the needs of the deprived members of the community. In Islam, charity is also called Sadaqah. Sadaqah and Zakah are the two forms of charity in Islam. Zakah is obligatory in Islam and believers have to give two and a half percent of their income for public welfare. Zakah is on wealth, agriculture production and jewellery etc. Islamic law empowers the Islamic state or community to collect Zakah and spent on poor and the destitute, the bankrupt, captives and in the cause of Almighty Allah. There are traditions which stress the importance of giving Sadaqah especially during the month of Ramadhan. The root word of Sadaqah is “To speak the truth, to be true” therefore it literally means to be righteous. Good conduct is also referred Sadaqah in the Quran.

Muslims are always inspired by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who never refused anything to anyone in need. He even used to give the little he had for himself to a needy person. It is recorded that the Prophet once said “Almighty Allah does not bless a community in which the weak cannot take from the strong what is rightfully theirs.”(Sunan Ibni Majah).

The Quran says that even a poor person who has nothing to give to another can smile or say a kind word. In this sense, acts of loving kindness and even greeting one another with a cheerful expression are regarded as Sadaqah. In short we can say that every good deed is Sadaqah, it is therefore recommended to give Sadaqah by night and by day, in secret and in public to seek Almighty Allah’s pleasure. (Al Quran 2:274). Inspired by the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) the spirit of assisting others to earn Almighty Allah’s pleasure is reflected in Muslim society in the field of education also, where Muslims have devoted themselves to the enlightenment of others. This is done individually by establishing Makatabas and Madrasas. In these educational centers orphans and poor people are given stipends in addition to boarding and lodging. Waqf is a permanent form of charity called Sadaqah- Jariah. It gives education to the needy, extends monetary assistance to those in need of medical help, looks after orphans and the needy and also gives scholarships. Muslims are always inspired by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who never refused anything to anyone in need. He even used to give the little he had for himself to a needy person. It is recorded that the Prophet once said “Almighty Allah does not bless a community in which the weak cannot take from the strong what is rightfully theirs.”(Sunan Ibni Majah).

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