You might have observed many Muslims giving away loads of charity in the sacred month of Ramadan. The nature of such donations varies, of course. Nevertheless, it does signify an important Islamic tradition. However, a question arises in mind: What is the importance of charity in Islam? Is it obligatory? Is not giving charity a sin? But most importantly, what is the role of charity in Islamic culture? We attempt to answer these fundamental questions in today’s discussion. With the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan, you need a quick recap of this topic anyways.
Different forms of charity in Islam
However, before we explore the importance of charity in Islam, it is important to recap, most of the forms of charity in Islam. The variations and details of these forms are too complex to be discussed here. Hence, we will concern ourselves with two that are given extreme importance. These are zakat and sadaqah.
The basic difference between these two forms of charity is a compulsion. Zakat is obligatory while sadaqah is not. Zakat is the 2.5 percent of your annual savings that you have to pay in any case. However, with sadaqah, there are no specific instructions. It is a noble act of voluntary nature. Another difference between the two is the nature of the respective charity types. Zakat is monetary; sadaqah can or cannot be monetary. Good words are also sadaqah!
Why charity in Islam is important
In the modern-day and world, money keeps life going. The sustainability of our lives heavily depends on these paper notes, which were of no value once! Islam is not just a religion of prayer mats and beads to be rolled. Rather, it is a complete code of conduct. Charity in Islam and Islamic injunctions has been heavily emphasized. In the upcoming passages, we explain why charity in Islam is so important.
Charity will save you on the Day of Judgment!
The promise has been made none other than the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In a hadith quoted from Al-Tirmidhi, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi: 604)
It will be a time when nothing or no one will save you, even if they wanted to. The scorching heat under which all humankind will have to stand will be simply unbearable. However, Allah (SWT) will not ignore those, who helped their poor fellow humans, in times of discomfort and distress. A shelter on even the Day of Judgment is promised for those, who were not oblivious of the importance of charity in Islam.
Charity saves you from calamity
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Give charity without delay, for it stands in way of calamity” (Al-Tirmidhi)
If your past has been riddled with incidents and accidents, which have caused you a lot of trouble, here is your ticket. Now, you know what to do, do not you? We can tell you that giving a few bucks in charity for protection from calamities is not a bad deal, at all!
Charity gets the wealth circulating in society
In the context of the modern-day world, this is perhaps the most important aspect of charity in Islam. Through zakat, fitrana, and sadaqah, the poor get their rightful share from the wealth of rich ones. The beautiful system of zakat gets the wealth circulating in the system. This then leads to the eradication of discrimination that separates the rich and the poor.
The charity that goes on forever
We are sure that you are aware of the phrase sadaqah e jariya. Even if you are not, let us help you. A sadaqah e jariya is the kind of charity that goes on forever. For example, a water pump that was installed at a mosque because people were facing water shortage. You see, acts like these, that sort of thing. This kind of charity has immense importance in Islam. It is because this is something that goes on, even after you are not a part of this world anymore. However, the reward of your noble deed continues to be credited, in the life hereafter as well!
What you have read in this discussion is just a brief recap of value that charity in Islam has. If we do not help our needy brothers and sisters, even after reading this article, one can only lament on such a sad state of affairs. Nevertheless, we hope that this discussion will serve as a driving force for you to give more charity this year!