ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِلْمُتَّقِين الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ
وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُون
(The Glorious Quraan) In it there is guidance for those who fear Allah and believe in things not visible; they establish Salaah and spend from what We have bestowed on them; and they believe in what has been sent down to you and sent down before you; and they are certain of the Akhirah. They depend on the guidance from their Lord; they are the successful. (Al-baqarah: 2-5)
Note: These Ayaat contain several subjects, all of which need close consideration:
(a) The Quraan is a guidance to those who fear Allah Ta’ala Shanohu. Obviously, the one who does not fear his Lord, nor considers the Lord as his Master, and the one who does not know his Creator, cannot see the path indicated by the Glorious Quraan. He alone can see the path who has the capability of seeing. Similarly, a person whose heart is devoid of the fear of Allah has no regard for His commandments.
(b) "To establish Salaah’ is to perform it with full concentration, following the prescribed manner and fulfilling the necessary conditions. Ibne Abbas Radhiallaho anho says something to the effect that: ‘The establishment of Salaah’ depends on correct performance of Ruku and Sajda, whole-hearted concentration and humility towards Allah. According to Qatadah Rahmathullah alaihe, perfection in Salaat can be achieved by observing it at its proper time, by proper ‘Wudhu’ (ablution), and by ‘Ruku’ and ‘Sajda’ in the proper way.
(c) The highest achievement of man is to attain الفلاح ‘Falaah’. The term Falaah implies success and happiness, both in spiritual and worldly affairs.
Imaam Raghib Rahmathullah alaihe has written that ‘Falaah’ in the worldly sense means attainment of excellence in certain aspects of worldly life, in respect of lasting satisfaction, contentment and honour. ‘Falaah’ in the life of Akirah consists in four things:
1. Eternal life
2. Riches that have no shadow of poverty.
3. Honour with no trace of disgrace.
4. Knowledge with no taint of ignorance.
In the case of absolute ‘Falaah’, success is implied in its highest degree, both in spiritual and material life.
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ
وَالْمَلائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ
وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ
It is not right righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or West; but the righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels, and the Scriptures and the Ambiya and gives his wealth for the love of Him (Allah) to kinsfolk and to orphans and the destitute and the wayfarer and to those who ask (in need) and to set slaves free; and observes Salaah properly; and pays Zakaah. (These are worthwhile attainments). (Al-baqarah: 177)
(The Ayat mentions a few more qualities of the righteous and in conclusion, asserts, "Such are they who are truly sincere. Such are the people who fear Allah")
Note: commentating on this verse
1. Qatadah Rahmathullah alaihe says that the Jews used to turn their faces to the West while offering their prayers and the Christians faced the East; so this Ayat was sent down concerning their practice. Several other Ulama have expressed the same opinion (Durre Manthur).
2. Imaam Jassaas Rahmathullah alaihe has said that this Ayaat was sent down to refute the objection of the Jews and the Christians against the change of ‘Qiblah’ i.e. from Bait-ul-Muqaddas to Ka’bah. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has, in this Ayat stressed the fact that virtue lies in obedience to Allah Ta’ala, without which the turning to the East or West is meaningless (Ahlamul-Quran).
Spending for the cause of Allah means
1. That, in all cases, money must be spent only to seek the pleasure and love of Allah, and not for getting name and fame for one-self, in which case the spending will not count as an act of virtue. It will rather become a sin instead of being a virtue.
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said
"إن الله لا ينظر إلى صوركم ولا إلى أموالكم، وإنما ينظر إلى قلوبكم وأعمالكم"
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said that Allah Ta’ala Shanohu does not look at your faces and your wealth (how much you spent). He rather, looks at your deeds and your hearts (the motives behind your deeds). (Mishkaat).
Another Hadith reports
إِنَّ أَخْوَفَ مَا أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ الشِّرْكُ الْأَصْغَرُ قَالُوا
وَمَا الشِّرْكُ الْأَصْغَرُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الرِّيَاءُ
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "The thing I fear most for you (the Ummah) is the minor ‘Shirk’. On being asked what the minor ‘Shirk’ was, he replied, "To do something for the sake of show".
Repeated warnings have been given in the Ahadith against spending for the sake of displaying one’s generosity.
2. The translation given indicated that spending of money should be motivated by love for Allah. Some Ulama have interpreted the Ayat as follows:
Spending of money should be accompanied by a feeling of love for spending i.e. one should be delighted to give away things as Sadaqah, should have no second thoughts, nor regret having spent money, nor fear from want, nor blame oneself for spending it lavishly (Ahkamul Quraan).
3. Many other Ulama have given a different interpretation. They say that the Ayaat refers to spending for the cause of Allah while one still needs and loves money.
A Hadith says that someone asked Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam, "What is meant by spending money while one loves it; for everybody loves money?" Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "It means that you should spend money while you are conscious of your own needs, fear from want and neediness and feel afraid lest you should need it at a time during the long years of your life lying ahead".
Another Hadith says
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الصَّدَقَةِ أَعْظَمُ
أَجْرًا قَالَ أَنْ تَصَدَّقَ وَأَنْتَ صَحِيحٌ شَحِيحٌ تَخْشَى الْفَقْرَ وَتَأْمُل الْغِنَى وَلَا تُمْهِل حَتَّى
إِذَا بَلَغَتْ الْحُلْقُومَ قُلْتَ لِفُلَانٍ كَذَا وَلِفُلَانٍ كَذَا وَقَدْ كَانَ لِفُلَانٍ
That the best Sadaqah is to spend at the time when you are in good health, hoping to live long. Do not go on postponing Sadaqah till you find yourself on the death-bed, with little or no hope of survival, at which juncture, you may begin to give away your wealth saying, ‘So much to so-and-so and so much for such and such cause, though it now belongs to your heirs. (Durre Manthur).
When the hope for life vanishes, feeling for personal needs is no longer there and, with the apprehension of all the property going to your heirs, you begin to distribute it among Masjids and Madrasahs! So long as the feeling of one’s own neediness was uppermost, the will to give as Sadaqah was absent. Therefore the ‘Shariah’ has ordered that such last-moment directions for giving things in Sadaqah or to non-heirs should be limited to a maximum of one third of the total property. Thus if the total property has been given away at the time of death, only one third of it can be validly disposed off according to such a ‘will’ of the deceased. The above Ayat specifically emphasizes spending on the orphans and the destitute while Zakaah has been mentioned separately, at the end of the Ayat.
This shows that spending on the things specified therein has to be done from the property left with a person after payment of Zakaah.
وَأَنْفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ
وَأَحْسِنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah, and make not your hands contribute to your destruction; and do good. Lo! Allah loves those who are beneficent. (Al-baqarah: 195)
Commentating on the verse "Do not contribute to your own destruction”
· Hazrat Huzaifah Radhiallaho anho, says the command "Do not contribute to your own destruction," means giving up Sadaqah for fear of becoming poor.
· Ibne Abbas Radhiallaho anho has said, "To get killed in the path of Allah, is not ruining oneself: in fact, ruination lies in withholding the expenditure on sadaqah".
· Dhahhaak Bin Jubair Rahmathullah alaihe has said that the Ansaar used to spend in the path of Allah and also give things in Sadaqah. Once, in a year of famine, they changed their minds and stopped this noble practice. On that occasion this Ayat was revealed.
· Aslam Rahmathullah alaihe has said that he was once of those who participated in the battle of Constantinople. A large force of the enemy advanced to oppose them. A man from their side rushed alone into the enemy lines. Upon this, some of the Muslims started shouting that the men had blindly invited his ruination and they recited this particular Ayat in support of their contention.
Abu Ayyub Ansaari Radhiallaho anho, who was also in the field, got up and said that the action of that man was not self-ruination at all; he said that the Ayat of the Quraan being quoted by some people referred to the Ansaar.
He explained that Ansaar quietly took a decision among themselves that the time had come for them to engage themselves in improving their lands and farms, etc; in the belief that, by the grace of Allah Ta’ala, Islam by then had become predominant and many people besides the Ansaar had joined the ranks of its supporters and helpers and, so the Ansaar could turn to their fields, plantations, etc, which were in ruin due to neglect and lack of care. At that juncture, the Ayat in question was revealed in order to admonish them that it would be self-ruination if the Ansaar gave up Jihaad for the sake of improving their properties. (Durre Manthur).
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنْفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ
(People) ask you what they should spend (as Sadaqah). "Tell (them) what they can spare". (i.e.) what is in excess of their requirements). (Al-baqarah: 219)
Note: Wealth is meant to be spent; whatever is left over, after meeting personal requirements, should be spent as Sadaqah.
Ibne Abbas Radhiallaho anho has said that, after meeting the requirements of one’s family the balance becomes ‘Afv’ which means that it is to be spent as Sadaqah.
Abu Umamah Radhiallaho anho has reported Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as saying, "O men, give what you can spare for charity, this is good for you; if you hold it back, it will be bad for you. You are not to blame for keeping back just enough for your own requirements; begin by spending on those who are dependant on you. The upper hand (which gives) is better than the lower hand (which is stretched out for accepting alms)".
Ataa Rahmathullah alaihe is quoted as having said that ‘Afv’ means wealth in excess of actual needs. (Durre Manthur).
Abu Sae’ed Khudri Radhiallaho anho has said that once Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said that when a person has an extra conveyance he should give it to someone who has none, and whoever has provision in excess should give the excess to those who do not have any. Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said this so emphatically that we thought no one would have any right over his own property in excess of his actual needs. (Abu Dawood).
In fact the highest virtue lies only in giving away everything that is over and above one’s legitimate requirements; nothing is to be hoarded. Certain Ulama have said that ‘Afv’ means "What is convenient"; one should spend as Sadaqah what can be spared with convenience and ease, so that no hardship or distress is caused to oneself afterwards. Also that no dependant should be deprived of his or her legitimate rights (which is a responsibility of the spender), due to which the latter may get into trouble on the Day of Judgement.
It is narrated that Ibne Abbas Radhiallaho anho said, "Some people used to give so much Sadaqah that nothing would be left with themselves, even for eating, and they would be compelled to look for Sadaqah from others. It was for this reason that the above Ayat was revealed".
Abu Sae’ed Khudri Radhiallaho anho has said that Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam, seeing the very poor condition of a person just arrived in the Masjid, asked the people to give him clothes as Sadaqah.
Plenty of these were contributed; Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam gave two garments out of these to the poor man. Later, once again Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam persuaded people to donate as Sadaqah. That poor man also gave one garment out of the two, whereupon Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam showed his displeasure and returned the piece to him. (Durre Manthur).
The Glorious Quraan does invite us to give in charity, in spite of our own requirements, but this is for such people who can do it cheerfully, because the importance of ‘Akhirah’ prevails over worldly requirements in their minds.
مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً وَاللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ
وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
Who is it that will lend to Allah a goodly loan, so that He may give it increase manifold? (Do not fear poverty) Allah straitens and enlarges (your provision), and to Him you will return. (Al-baqarah: 245)
Note: The act of spending for the cause of Allah has been interpreted as advancing loan to Allah Ta’ala, which means that, just as the return of a loan is obligatory, the recompense and reward for spending in charity is a certainty. That is why Sadaqah has been termed as loan.
· Umar Radhiallaho anho has stated that giving a loan to Allah Ta’ala means spending in charity.
· Ibne Mas’ood Radhiallaho anho has said that, when the above Ayat was revealed, Abu Dahda Ansaari Radhiallaho anho came to Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam and submitted, "O Rasulullah, does Allah Jalla Shanohu desire a loan from us?" Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam replied, "Certainly so" He then said, "Please give me your hand" (for making a promise).
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam stretched out his hand towards him and Abu Dahdah Radhiallaho anho, taking it in his own hand as a gesture of a vow, said that he was giving his garden to Allah Ta’ala as a loan. That garden had six hundred date-palms and his wife and children were living in it.
Abu Dahdah Radhiallaho anho went to the garden, called his wife Umme Dahdah Radiyallaho anha and told her that they had to leave the garden as it had been given away to their ‘Lord’ (Allah Ta’ala).
Another Hadith by Abu Hurairah Radhiallaho anho says that Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam distributed that garden among some orphans.
Still another Hadith says that when the sacred Ayat was revealed, saying: "Whoever earned a single virtue would receive ten times the reward for it"
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam made a dua, "O Allah! Compensate my ‘Ummah’ even more than that". As a result this Ayat was revealed (i.e. who is it that will lend to Allah a goodly loan,).
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam again implored Allah for a further increase. Thereupon the Ayat The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way (for good deeds) is as the likeness of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains, was revealed.
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam again made supplication saying, "O Allah, increase the reward of my Ummah" Thereupon the Ayat was revealed "That whoever is steadfast will receive a full return, which will be boundless." (az-Zumar: 19)
Another Hadith says that an angel calls out, "Whoever offers a loan today will receive a full compensation tomorrow"
Another Hadith says that Allah Jallah Shanohu proclaims, "O man, entrust your treasures to me for safe custody; none of these will catch fire, nor sink, nor be stolen, you will receive these back from Me at the time when your need for them will be the greatest". (Durre manthur).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْفِقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ يَوْمٌ لا بَيْعٌ فِيهِ
وَلا خُلَّةٌ وَلا شَفَاعَةٌ
O you who believe! Spend, out of what We have provided for you before the Day comes when there would be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession (without Allah’s permission). (Al-baqarah: 254)
Note: It means that there shall be no selling or buying on that Day to enable you to buy virtues from others, nor would there be any friend to intercede or entreat on your behalf. In short, all means of help from any source shall cease. If anything is to be done for that Day, now is the time to do it and to sow the seed; that Day shall be the day of harvest. Whatever is sown shall be reaped, whether it be grain or flower, thorn or firewood! It is a matter for all to ponder and to examine what each one is sowing?
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنْبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي
كُلِّ سُنْبُلَةٍ مِائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way (for good deeds) is as the likeness of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. Allah is All-Embracing, and All-Knowing (He knows the motive for which wealth is spent). (Al-baqarah: 261)
Note: Ahadith say that there are six categories of deeds and four categories of men.
The six types of deeds include two that are obligatory and two bring equal compensation, the fifth one brings ten times reward and the sixth may bring seven hundred times reward in return.
The obligatory two are that, if a person dies without committing any ‘Shirk’ he shall go to ‘Jannah’ and if he is guilty of ‘Shirk’ he shall land himself in ‘Jahannam’.
Those at equal compensation are; if a person intends to do a good deed but is unable to accomplish it, he shall receive a single virtue as a reward for making the good intention. Similarly, if a person commits a sin, his punishment shall correspond to a single sin.
When a person actually accomplishes a single good deed, his reward shall be tenfold, whereas, if he spends for the cause of Allah, his return shall be seven hundred times the value of the wealth spent.
The four categories of men referred to are as follows:
1. The one who receives ample provisions in this life as well as in the ‘Akhirah’.
2. The one prosperous in this life but poor and miserable in the ‘Akhirah’.
3. The one who suffers hardships in this life but shall flourish in the ‘Akihirah’.
4. The one who is miserable in this life as well as in the ‘Akirah’ (Kanzul Ummal).
His misery is due to poverty, and his bad deeds lead him to suffering in the ‘Akhirah’, so that both his lives are ruined.
Abu Hurairah Radhiallaho anho reports Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as saying that whoever gives in charity the equivalent to a date that is part of lawful possession and not unlawful, Allah nourishes that date as you nourish colt, to such an extent that your provision grows up to the dimensions of a mountain. Allah Ta’ala Shanohu accepts only pure and flawless things. Allah Ta’ala increases the reward of this simple virtue to a size larger than that of mount Uhad, which is the highest mountain near Madina.
This indicates that the reward for a single virtue would grow far beyond the seven hundred times limit mentioned above.
الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنْفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى
لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah and afterwards make no reproach or injury (in any way) to follow that which they have spent, their reward is with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve. (On the Day of Judgment). (Al-Baqarah: 262)
Note: this great Ayat follows the previous one, and the whole section (Ruku) deals with the same subject. It encourages us to spend for the cause of Allah and warns against boasting of the favour done or teasing the beneficiary with taunts and insults, which means treating him with contempt, or to look down upon him.
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said that certain people shall not enter ‘Jannah’. These include one who boasts of his generosity after spending for the cause of Allah, the other who is disobedient to his parents and the third who is a habitual drunkard, etc. (Durre Manthur).
Commentating on the word ‘Mann’ and ‘Azaa’
* Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah alaihe has written in the ‘Ihya’ about the etiquettes of Sadaqah that it must not be destroyed by ‘Mann’ (reproach) and ‘Azaa’ (injury).
· Some Ulama have explained ‘Mann’ as boasting about it to the person to whom the Sadaqah has been given and ‘Azaa’ as talking about it to others.
· Other Ulama have said that ‘Mann’ is to demand free labour in return for Sadaqah and ‘Azaa’ is taunting the beneficiary for begging.
· Some others have said that ‘Mann’ is to show a feeling of superiority over the receiver of alms, and ‘Azaa’ is to rebuke the poor for begging.
· Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah alaihe has said that ‘Mann’ is as follows:
Having spent the money on the poor man, one would be conscious of it as a favour shown to him. This very thought becomes the source of all the evils mentioned above. In reality it is the poor who does favour to the rich, as their acceptance of Sadaqah absolves the rich of their obligation to Allah Ta’ala and also because the poor become a source of purification of the rich man’s wealth, besides saving him from the fire of ‘Jahannam’ to which he was destined, if the Zakaah had remained unpaid. (Ihya).
The famous Mohaddith Imaam Sha’abi Rahmatullah alaihe has said that unless a rich person considers himself more in need of reward from Allah for his Sadaqah than he thinks the poor person to be in need of his Sadaqah, he has wasted his alms, which would be thrown back on him. (Ihya-ul-Uloom).
The Day of Judgement shall be a day of great severity, sorrow and terror, to be safe from these calamities on that day would be a great privilege.
إِنْ تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِنْ تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ
وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنْكُمْ مِنْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
If ye publish your almsgiving, it is well, but if ye hide it and give it to the poor, it will be better for you, and will atone for some of your ill-deeds. Allah is informed of what you do. (Al-Baqarah: 271)
الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ
وَلا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
Those who spend their wealth by night and day, by stealth and openly, verily their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon neither shall they grieve. (Al-Baqarah: 274)
Note: In both the above Ayaat, the giving of Sadaqah either publicly or privately has been praised while, in many Ayaat of the Quraan and also in several Ahadith, an act committed for show or hypocritically has been termed as a vice or ‘Shirk’; in fact it nullifies the reward and turns the act into a sin.
However, it should first be understood that ‘show’ has another sense as well. It may not necessarily mean that every good deed done in public would amount to ‘show’. Actually ‘show’ means that an act is done to display one’s own greatness or for the sake of publicity or honour or for being called generous.
A deed done purely for seeking the good-will and pleasure of Allah Ta’ala, even publicly, for some good cause would thus not be ‘show’ at all. Still the best form of every act of charity, presumably, is that done in secret, so as to eliminate all doubts of show and publicity.
Also it will prevent the poor from feeling humiliated. Even though an open deed may not be for show, the inevitable fame may lead to self-conceit and pride for being generous. It may also result in harassment, as a large number of people may start seeking his favour.
His fame for being wealthy may bring him to harm. He may have to pay taxes; his riches may tempt the thieves and breed ill-will in the heart of the jealous.
Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah alaihe has said that one keeps away from publicity and hypocrisy when alms are given in secret.
It has also been related that. Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said: "The best charity is that given by a person who is himself pressed for money and who gives Sadaqah to a needy person quietly out of his own earnings; and whoever talks about his charity is a seeker of publicity; and the one who gives alms in public is a hypocrite. In olden days, the truly pious tried their utmost to remain unknown to the poor who received help from them.
Some of them chose blind persons as recipients of their charity. Some would slip money into the pocket of a sleeping person, some would give through others, so as to remain anonymous and save the poor from humiliation. However, Sadaqah given for self-publicity means destroying a good deed, and getting a sin.
Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah alaihe has written, "Where publicity is the aim, the deed becomes useless", the reason being that obligatory Zakaah has been ordered to reduce the love of wealth.
Usually the love for status is stronger than the love for wealth. Both will be the cause of ruination in the ‘Akhirah’. Miserliness will appear in the grave as a huge scorpion, while love of status and hypocrisy will assail the dead man in the form of a python" (Ihya-ul-Uloom). According to a Hadith, it is enough for one’s condemnation if people point him out for worldly or religiously fame.
Ibrahim Bin Adham Rahmatullah alaihe has said that when a person takes pleasure in self-publicity, his dealings with Allah are not sincere. Ayoob Sakhtiani Rahmatullah alaihe has said that a person true to Allah would prefer to keep the whereabouts of his residence unknown to people. (Ihya-ul-Uloom).
Zaid ibn Aslam narrates from his father an incident that occurred between Umar (R.A) and Ma’az (R.A)
عن زيد بن أسلم، عن أبيه، عن عمر، رضي الله عنه، أنه دخل المسجد فإذا هو
بمعاذ بن جبل يبكي عند قبر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال له: ما يبكيك يا معاذ؟
قال: حديث سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، سمعته يقول:
"إن اليسير من الرياء شرك، وإن الله يحب الأتقياء الأخفياء الأثرياء،
الذين إذا غابوا لم يفتقدوا، وإذا حضروا لم يعرفوا، قلوبهم مصابيح الهدى،
ينجون من كل غبراء مظلمة
Once Umar Radhiallaho anho came to the Masjid-Nabawi and found Ma’az Radhiallaho anho sitting and crying by the grave of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam. He enquired why he was crying. Ma’az Radhiallaho anho replied that he had heard Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam saying that the smallest hypocrisy amounts to ‘Shirk’ and Allah loves those pious people who live in unknown corners so that no one looks for them when they have left a place and if they are in a crowd no one recognizes them; their hearts are the torches of guidance and they keep away from all dark and dirty spots. (Ihya-ul-Uloom).
Although many Ayat of the Quraan and many Ahadith are there to condemn show and hypocrisy, nevertheless, sometimes an open deed becomes a religious necessity. As for example, Sadaqah from a small number of persons may not be enough to meet an important religious requirement; in which case, the difficulty could be solved through encouraging others by raising funds through open charity. For this very purpose, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said
الجاهر بالقرآن كالجاهر بالصدقة والمُسِر بالقرآن كالمُسِر بالصدقة
That a man reciting the Quraan aloud is like one giving Sadaqah in public, while reading it in low tone is like giving Sadaqah quietly. (Mishkaat).
Hence, the best mode of reading the Quraan depends on expediency, sometimes it may be better to read aloud and at another time in a low tone.
Many Ulama have been quoted as saying that the first of the two Ayaat mentioned above refers to obligatory charity (Zakaah) as well as the optional one (Nafl) Sadaqah. The best way to give Zakaah is to give it publicly, as is the requirement about all obligatory performances. This is for the purpose of encouraging others to fulfill the divinely ordained obligations and also for the sake of absolving oneself from the possible blame of neglecting the payment of Zakaah. For the same reason Salaah is to be performed publicly in congregation (Jama’at).
Hafiz Ibne Hajar Rahmatullah alaihe has said that Allama Tabari Rahmatullah alaihe and others have quoted a unanimous opinion of the Ulama that the obligatory Sadaqah (Zakaah) is better given openly and the ‘Nafl’ Sadaqah is better when given secretly.
Zain Ibnul Munir Rahmatullah alaihe has said that it all depends on circumstances: if the ruler is known to be unjust, and property is kept concealed, giving Zakaah is better kept secret.
In the same way, if a person is being followed, any type of charity given by him openly will be beneficial. (Fathul Bari).
Ibn Abbas Radhiallaho anho, in his explanation of the above mentioned Ayaat, has said that Allah Ta’ala makes the reward for Nafl Sadaqah given secretly to excel seventy times the reward for open Sadaqah. The reward for ‘Fardh’ (obligatory) Sadaqah given openly however excels twenty five times the reward for Sadaqah given secretly. Similarly, the same rule applies to all other deeds of worship, obligatory or optional. (Durre Manthur).
It implies that amongst all deeds, the performance of Obligatory one’s is best if done in public rather than in secret, because doing them secretly may bring the person concerned under false accusations, of neglecting the relevant Ibadat (worship) and secondly, if such an accusation comes from persons connected with him, the value and importance of that Ibadat may leave their hearts.
Open performance is preferred even in Nafl Ibadat, if others are thereby likely to follow the example.
Ibne Umar Radhiallaho anho has reported Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as saying that a virtuous deed done secretly is better than the one done openly, except when the latter is meant as a persuasion for others.
Abu Umamah Radhiallaho anho has said that when Abu Zarr Radhiallaho anho asked Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as to which type of Sadaqah was best, the reply was, "Giving something quietly to the poor". To make effort to help another, in spite of ones own helplessness, is, however, better.
The superiority of giving ‘Nafl’ Sadaqah secretly is the basic rule; if a religious exigency be in mind, giving it publicly becomes better, but in the event the man should not be heedless in allowing the baser self (Nafs) and Shaitan to convince him that there is an exigency in giving openly, and thus ruin his Sadaqah. He should rather determine carefully if there is really an exigency in giving openly. Above all, he should avoid mentioning the Sadaqah given by him, because that too, would be tantamount to giving openly.
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said
سَبْعَةٌ يُظِلُّهُمْ اللَّهُ فِي ظِلِّهِ يَوْمَ لَا ظِلَّ إِلَّا ظِلُّهُ الْإِمَامُ الْعَادِلُ وَشَابٌّ نَشَأَ فِي عِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ
وَرَجُلٌ قَلْبُهُ مُعَلَّقٌ فِي الْمَسَاجِدِ وَرَجُلَانِ تَحَابَّا فِي اللَّهِ اجْتَمَعَا عَلَيْهِ وَتَفَرَّقَا عَلَيْهِ
وَرَجُلٌ طَلَبَتْهُ امْرَأَةٌ ذَاتُ مَنْصِبٍ وَجَمَالٍ فَقَالَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ وَرَجُلٌ تَصَدَّقَ أَخْفَى
حَتَّى لَا تَعْلَمَ شِمَالُهُ مَا تُنْفِقُ يَمِينُهُ وَرَجُلٌ ذَكَرَ اللَّهَ خَالِيًا فَفَاضَتْ عَيْنَاهُ
That seven persons shall enjoy the shade of Allah Jalla Shanohu when there will be no other shade on the Day of Judgement:
(i) A just ruler
(ii) A young person who is nurtured in ‘Ibadat’ of Allah Ta’ala;
(iii) A person whose heart is attached to the Masjid;
(iv) Two persons who love each other for the pleasure of Allah; without any worldly motive, and they meet and separate in that spirit;
(v) A man who due to fear of Allah, refuses to go near a respectable beautiful woman, sexually inclined towards him, as also a woman who in a similar situation refuses to meet a man;
(vi) A person who gives Sadaqah so secretly that his left hand does not know what the right hand gives away;
(vii) A person who cries when remembering Allah in solitude.
This particular Hadith mentions only seven persons; according to a nother Hadith some other people, besides these, will enjoy the shade of the ‘Arsh’ (Allah Ta’ala’s throne) on that severe Day. The Ulama have counted them as eighty two categories, which have been recounted by the writer of ‘It-haaf’.
Many Ahadith relate Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam as saying, ‘Concealed Sadaqah causes the wrath of Allah to wane".
Saalim Ibne Abil Ja’ad Rahmatullah alaihe has said that a woman was traveling alone with her infant son when a wolf snatched it away from her hands. The woman was running after the wolf when a beggar approached her and asked for something. She had only a single loaf of bread, which she gave away to the beggar. Thereafter, the wolf returned and left the baby with his mother.
Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam has said that three persons are loved by Allah and He is displeased with three. Those whom He loves are:
· the first is a person in a crowd of people who, when a man approaches and begs for something from them (among whom none is related to the beggar), moves away from the crowd and gives the beggar something of which only Allah Ta’ala is aware;
· the second is a person who is traveling with a group at night and when sleep overtakes them and they call a halt, leave their conveyances and go to sleep, he stands up instead of sleeping and offers his Salaah with full humility;
· the third is the person who, when engaged in a battle against the Kaafirs, holds his ground bravely till he is killed (meets Shahadat) or is victorious, while his companions turn their back due to heavy pressure of the enemy.
The three with whom Allah Ta’ala is displeased are;
ثلاثة لا يكلمهم الله ولا ينظر إليهم ولا يزكيهم ولهم عذاب أليم شيخ زان وملك كذاب
· First, a person who indulges in adultery even in his old age;
· second who is a beggar, and still arrogant;
· And third, a rich man who is cruel.
One of the Hadith quoted by Jabir Radhiallaho anho says that once Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam gave a sermon saying, "O people repent of your misdeeds before death overtakes you; be quick in seizing the opportunity of doing a good deed lest you should lose the chance by getting busy in something else; try to attain nearness to Allah Ta’ala by means of ‘Zikr’ and by Sadaqah given openly as well as secretly; because due to this, you will receive your livelihood, Allah’s help and remedy for discomfiture".
Another Hadith says that, on the Day of Judgment, every one will be under the shade of one’s Sadaqah, i.e. when the sun will be very close overhead, on the day of ‘Qiyamah’ every person will be provided shade overhead according to the amount of his Sadaqah till the reckoning is finished. The larger the Sadaqah, the larger will be the shade.
Many Ahadith have mentioned the point that Sadaqah drives away many afflictions. Due to their own misdeeds, the Muslims today are afflicted with perils all over the world. Obviously, the remedy lies in giving more Sadaqah.
In the prevailing conditions when one is likely to lose one’s property, all of a sudden, the best way to protect it is to give maximum Sadaqah. That part will be certainly saved and its blessing will drive away the coming misfortunes. But alas! In spite of seeing these conditions with our own eyes, we do not seem to give charity to the extent that the time demands.
Another Hadith says, "Sadaqah closes seventy doors towards evil", while still another one says
إن الصدقة تطفئ غضب الرب وتدفع ميتة السوء.
That Sadaqah removes Allah Ta’ala’s anger and saves the giver from a bad death.
According to another Hadith, "Sadaqah increases the span of a man’s life and cures him of conceit and arrogance".
Yet another Hadith relates that Allah Ta’ala, in return for giving a morsel of bread or a handful of dates, or anything else that may satisfy a poor man’s need, shall grant entry into Jannah to three persons:
(a) The owner of the house who ordered the Sadaqah
(b) The house-wife who cooked the bread, etc.
(c) The servant who took it to the needy person.
After saying this much, Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam remarked, "All praises are for Allah who has not forgotten even our servants while giving His rewards".
One of the Hadith narrates
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "مَا تَعُدُّونَ فِيْكُمُ الصُّرعَة؟" قلنا: الذي لا تَصْرَعه
الرجال، قال: قال "لا ولكن الذي يَمْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ عِنْدَ الْغَضَبِ". قال(الراوي)
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: "مَا تَعُدُّونَ فِيْكُمُ الرَّقُوبَ؟" قال(الراوي)
قلنا: الذي لا ولد له. قال: "لا ولكن الرَّقُوبَ الَّذِي لم يُقَدِّمْ مِنْ ولَدِهِ شَيْئًا".
Once Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam asked the Sahabah, "Who is the strongest of men?" They replied, "The one who gets the better of his opponent in a contest". He said, "The strongest man is he who can control himself when he is angry" He then asked, "Who is a barren person?" They replied, "The one who is incapable of bearing offspring." Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "No, it is the one who has not sent a child ahead of him to the Hereafter". "He then asked, "Who is a destitute person?" They replied, "The one who has no property". Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "The destitute person, and the utterly destitute, is he who possessed property but did not send anything ahead of him" (for the Day when his needs would be the greatest but he would be empty-handed).
Abu Hurairah Radhiallaho anho narrates that once Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam said, "Aishah! Bargain your amnesty from Allah Ta’ala, even though it may be with a piece of a date; for I shall not be able to help you against any demand from Allah Ta’ala; O Aishah, let not a beggar go away from you empty-handed; give him something; even if it be a goat’s hoof". (Durre Manthur)
Imaam Ghazali Rahmatullah alaihe says that, in the early days of Islam, people used to consider it a bad day if no charity had been given during it, and they gave alms every day, even though it was a date or a piece of bread. For, they kept the Hadith of Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam in view, which says, "Everybody will be under the shade of his Sadaqah, on the Day of Resurrection". (Ihya)
Allah has blighted usury and made alms-giving fruitful. (Al Baqarah: 276)
Note: We have already quoted many traditions about the fruitfulness of Sadaqah; these Ahadith say that the reward for Sadaqah goes on increasing till it becomes as big as a mountain.
Those rewards will accrue in the Akhirah, but even in this life the Sadaqah causes one’s income to grow. If a man gives away charities, sincerely and plentifully, his income goes on increasing. Let anyone try it, but sincerity is the condition; there must be no inkling of self-display or pride in spending.
By Sheikh Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (R.A)