Sadaqah Matters – A Marginalized Profit?

charityMost of us rush to do good deeds in Ramadan in order to make Allah (swt) happy and earn His promised reward of Jannah. We increase our acts of generosity by spending for those in need. But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid? Are we giving good things or the old discarded ones? Are we down to earth? Or walk boastfully in pride? Do the ones we helped feel inferior because of our behaviour towards them, during and after helping them?

These are some areas of concern that we must look into before we do something good. Allah (swt) has mentioned some important aspects of Sadaqah in Surah Al-Baqarah.

As an individual, an entrepreneur, or any random person from any walk of life, we act in ways which are favourable to us or which will earn us some rewards in return. We maintain ties of kinship with relatives who enjoy luxuries, have high financial status, and enjoy a good social repute. In short, man is greedy by nature. Our desire to attain pleasure and fame drives us to do anything.

In Surah Baqarah, verses 261 to 267, Allah (swt) talks about ways to maximize one’s wealth along with some other sub topics that come in relation with doing charity (Sadaqah).

But have we ever reflected on our intentions? Have we ever checked the quality of our aid?

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:261)

A promised and guaranteed profit

Subhan’Allah! How generous Allah (swt) is. For every single penny, you will earn seven hundred times more reward. This verse explains the virtue of spending in the way of Allah (swt) to attain His pleasure.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If one gives in charity what equals to one date-fruit for the honestly-earned money, and Allah (swt) accepts only the honestly earned money, Allah (swt) takes it in His right (hand) and then enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” (Bukhari)

“Those who spend their wealth in the Cause of Allah, and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah 2:262)

The humble intention

This stresses on the intention behind the act of Sadaqah. Firstly, the intention should be to spend for Allah’s (swt) pleasure. After emphasizing on Niyyah, the stress is shifted to the behaviour of the giver. When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do. We are of the opinion that we can suppress them as they are under our feet because of the generosity we have shown to them. When the intention and behaviour is polluted then the act will go in vain.

The person is considered as a transgressor because of hurting one’s pride and self-respect; and it is more heinous as compared to any financial or physical harm. The psychological attack especially on one’s pride is unbendable.

On the contrary, if one’s intention and action are in concordance to the principles of Islam while giving charity, then surely, his reward is with Allah (swt); and he shall not fear or grieve.

Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Al-Baqarah 2:263) One kind word can warm the iced hearts

This verse talks about the notion of being polite and considerate. A sweet tongue can conquer many hearts, whilst a sharp tongue breeds the seeds of hatred. When a needy asks the one who is superior to him in terms of finance, then the upper hand must respond with kindness; and if he has to refuse, then he must do so with politeness.Islam is truly a religion that one can fall in love with every time he comprehends its teachings via Quran and Sunnah. It takes care of the rights of each and every individual, and guards their rights.

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

When we spend in the way of Allah (swt) by giving money or things to our maids, we think we can now ask them to work more and assist us with chores that they are not entitled to do

Showing off will not bring glory

This verse talks about showing off (Riya).  When we do something good we expect to be praised, and raised in status in the eyes of society and home. Often, the picture is blurring with the intention of to be seen only; however, in reality, one feels no sympathy. A similitude has been used here to make a relation with the act and its outcome. It says when a farmer plants a seed on a rock the surface of which is hard and soil is infertile, a gush of water in the form of rain, will take away the dirt on it. No fertilizer, temperature control, pesticide control- nothing will bear any fruit of success as the land on which it is sown is barren. Similar is the case of a man whose heart is solid, empty of the love of Allah (swt), and is filled with the attitude to show off, then the act of charity, will not earn him any reward nor it will touch his heart.

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their own selves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer of (knows well) what you do.” (Al-Baqarah 2:265)

The second verse is opposite to the above one- it says about the one who spends to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt) and to acquire Taqwa by strengthening his faith. When a seed is sown in a fertile soil, all measures that one takes to improve the yields will support the outcome- i.e. a healthy, abundant yield. Spending in the name of Allah (swt) is a guaranteed reward. The reward is twofold. One is that the spender’s faith will enrich and the other is awaiting him in Jannah.

Would any of you wish to have a garden with date-palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt? Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses) to you that you may give thought.” (Al-Baqarah 2:266)

A worth incentive

In this verse, Allah (swt) is giving an incentive to do well. Just like a mother, who provokes her kid, makes him greedy to do work in order to enjoy any favourable outcome. Allah (swt) loves us more than seventy mothers, Subhan’Allah. He is describing the appearance of heaven to make man greedy to attain it.

O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), and Worthy of all praise.” (Al-Baqarah 2:267)

Quality of Aid is more important than quantity

When it comes to spend for charity, we tend to choose the things which are not worthy to be used again, or have lost their liking in our eyes, or are not pleasurable for us, and/or have depreciated. Allah (swt) knows the hidden intentions and thoughts, as well as, a man’s psychological level. Therefore, He also warned us to not to spend the things which we ourselves will not accept if given to us.