[Hadeeth Commentary] Charitable Acts

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Eman Al Obaid conducts classes on Quranic exegesis (Tafseer), Hadeeth, Fiqh and other Islamic themes at AlHuda Sisters, Dubai.

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Abu Dhar reported that some of the companions of the Messenger (sa) said to him:

 “O Messenger of Allah (swt), the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give Sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet (sa)) said: “Has Allah (swt) not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do Sadaqah? Verily in every Tasbih (i.e., saying Subhan’Allah) there is a Sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a Sadaqah, every Tahmid (i.e., saying Alhamdulillah) is a Sadaqah, every Tahlil (i.e. saying La ilaha illa Allah) is a Sadaqah, enjoining of good is a Sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a Sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a Sadaqah.” They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt), is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.” (Muslim)

In particular this Hadeeth addresses the fact that the Sahabah were always concerned about the Hereafter and how to compete in seeking Allah’s (swt) reward. The background tells us that the questioners were poor Muslims who understood that their prayer and fasts were equal to that of the richer Muslims. They did not envy them for their wealth, but were only troubled about how to compete when giving in charity (Sadaqah). The companions were sad because they were not able to donate money for charity like other people. Our lesson from this situation is to note that only the thought of not being able to compete in good deeds for Allah’s (swt) sake was what troubled the Sahabah the most, they were not least bothered with what others had – their anxiety stemmed from not being able to please Allah (swt) as much as others could. Subhan’Allah.

In the 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, Ibn Rajab states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types:

  1. The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rajab gave some examples, such as educating and teaching people like teaching the Quran, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and contributing to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes doing Dua (prayer) and Istighfar (forgiveness) for other Muslims.
  2. Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform any harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to benefit others.

The Prophet (sa) then assured his companions, and offered them an alternate explanation of ‘Sadaqah’. A broader concept than the one we usually limit it to – we only take it as monetary in nature.

How does Dhikr benefit you?

When you say ‘Subhan’Allah’ you are granted a tree in Paradise. When you remember Allah (swt) by saying ‘Subhan’Allah’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ you are actually being good to yourself and Allah (swt) will give you the reward in the Hereafter.

  • Allah (swt) remembers you
  • Allah (swt) will remember your name
  • Allah (swt) will praise you.

hadeeth1Every time you receive a blessing and you say ‘Alhamdulillah”, Allah (swt) will give you a reward. When amazed or in a problem, say ‘Subhan’Allah’ and say Allahu Akbar‘, when you notice yourself feeling proud, this will train you to stay humble and remain a servant of Allah (swt). Finally, our entire lives are based on La ilaha illa Allah. Muslims should make it a habit to do Dhikr during the morning and evening and after every prayer as a minimum. How many times do the rich give monetary Sadaqah? They cannot do so every moment of their life. Allah (swt) has favoured His servants with something that can earn rewards every waking moment. When you say ‘Alhamdulillah’, you get richer. Don’t compare yourself to what other people do, how much do they pray or fast; Allah (swt) has a way for everyone to compete equally. Focus only on what you can do. We know for a fact from this and the other Hadeeth that the ways of pleasing Allah (swt) are numerous and affordable for everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, and potential; therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do such good deeds that are more convenient and suitable for him or her. People have choices and preferences in doing acts of Ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. (An-Nawawi)


If you know of something good, and you want to share it with others, you must make sure you fulfill the conditions. You desire Paradise for others the same way you desire and strive for it yourself – but make sure you do not cause a greater harm than is already present. For example something may not actually be Munkar but in your culture it is considered that way. It has to be Munkar in the Shariah  and not just what your mother or father said. Speak with proof. It is a greater sin to term something as Haram when it is not actually Haram. If you call something Halal when actually it is Haram it is a lesser sin. Everything is Halal except what Allah (swt) has deemed as Haram. The etiquette is not to say something is Haram unless you are certain.


Acquiring knowledge and spreading it is one of the greatest Sadaqah, this leads to the ability of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Every moment we spend in learning is never wasted. Every normal activity that we do as part of our daily routine will be rewarded for doing it with a good intention. For example, if we leave home for work with an intention to benefit our co-workers and treat it as an opportunity for Dawah; Allah (swt) will reward us for this and it would become Sadaqah.

Finally, the end of the Hadeeth states that fulfilling the desire in a Halal way is Sadaqah. Fulfilling your desires is a right upon yourself and you are doing well when fulfilling the desire of your spouse. No one can say we are deprived – a deprived person is one who deprives himself from the good. Allah (swt) has made it easy for us to earn rewards and practice charity, no matter how rich or poor we are. Alhamdulillah.

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