Ramadan 05: Learning Generosity and Sacrifice

Ramadan is a school for learning generosity and sacrifice. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us in the Qur’an how we will be rewarded for good deeds:

“For whatever good you send before yourselves, you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward.” (Surah Al-Muzzammil:20)

Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, also informs us of the reward for spending in His way:

“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 wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” (Surah al-Baqarah:261)

It is narrated in authentic hadith that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was naturally the most generous of men, but he used to be even more generous in the month of Ramadan. The month of fasting calls us to feed the hungry and give to the poor. Ramadan offers us a blessed opportunity to help those in need with sacrifice and generosity, and in exchange, Allah promises us a greater reward. Remember that our wealth is like water – if its flow is obstructed it becomes stagnant, but if it flows freely it becomes sweet and fresh.

Another hadith tells us that:

“There is no day that people will wake up except that two angels will call on them and say, ‘Oh Allah give the one who is giving replacement for what he gave’. And the other one will say, ‘O Allah give the one who is withholding disappearance or waste for what he is withholding’.” (Agreed upon)

Thus, every time the servant of Allah gives something in charity, Allah eases their physical, spiritual and mental conditions. He, all praises and glory be to Him, also expands their sustenance due to it. Further, charity purifies the giver, as the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“Charity extinguishes the sins like water extinguishes fire” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)

Sins create a heat in the hearts, a flame in the souls and a burning fire in life. Only charity can put out this blazing fire. Indeed charity is a cooling for the heart and a fragrance for the spirit, erasing in the most complete way, our wrong-doings.

The Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, informed us that:

“Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward like that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward.” (Recorded by At-Tirmidhi)

Hence the generosity of the righteous person is increased in Ramadan. They give, they spend, they sacrifice. Many of them provide meals for gatherings of the poor Muslim to break their fast. By doing so, they seek abundant reward for Allah, all praises and glory be to Him. The mosques of our righteous predecessors were filled with food provided for the poor, to the extent that one could not find a hungry or needy person. It is amazing to think that all that a Muslim spends on their food, drink and clothing is of no consequence except that which was spent seeking the pleasure of Allah, all praises and glory be to Him. Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

“If you lend Allah a goodly loan (i.e. you spend in His cause), he will double it for you, and will forgive you. And Allah is Most ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forbearing.” (Surah At-Taghabun)

One of the most profound rewards for the giving of charity was stated by the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when he listed among those whom Allah will shade with His shade on the Day when there will be no shade but His:

“… a man who gives charity and conceals it so much that his left hand does not know what his right hand is doing.” (Agreed upon)

SubhanAllah, our charity will actually become shade for us on the Day of Resurrection.

The third Rightly Guided Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, was very rich. He used his wealth and vast possessions to gain the pleasure of Allah by equipping the Muslim army for the Battle of Tabuk. Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, was another wealthy companion who assisted the poor people of Madinah for the sake of Allah, purchasing for them the merchandise of an entire caravan of 700 camels.

We should remember during this blessed month, that there are people who fast, who do not have food to break their fast. There are others who fast, who do not have a house to shelter themselves. How many blessings has Allah bestowed upon us? And how do we use them?

Remember, that by your sacrifice and giving you are actually giving a loan to your Lord for the Day of your own poverty and need. Know that a drink of water, a taste of milk, a handful of dates, a little food, money, clothes and fruits that you give to the needy are all that it takes to clear you way to Paradise. Know that nothing preserves wealth like charity, and nothing purifies wealth like zakat. Many a rich person died and left wealth and treasures, tall buildings and palaces, the quantity of which only Allah knows. Yet all of it became a source of sorrow and regret, because they didn’t use their wealth in the right way. You will see the ultimate winner and losers, and surely help is only from Allah.

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