Alhamdulillahi rabbil aalameen. Was salaatu was salaamu ala ashraful mursaleen sayyidina Muhammadi wa ala aali sayyidina Muhammadi wa ashaabihi ajma’een.
All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the entire universe. And the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw) his family and his companions.
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Mathalul ladheena yunfiqoona amwaalahum fee sabeelillahi kamathali habbatin ambatat sab’a sanaabila fee kulli sumbulatin miatu habbah. Wallahu yudaa’ifu li man yashaa’. Wallahu waasi’un ‘aleem – The metaphor of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is that of a grain which produces seven ears; in every ear there are a hundred grains. Allah gives such multiplied increase to whomever He wills. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
In this ayah Allah (swt) describes the way in which the reward for giving Sadaqa is multiplied many times over, and this is the topic which I would like to touch on today – the giving of charity. He (swt) mentions that those things we give in charity is like a grain of corn which gives rise to seven ears, and in each one these there are a hundred grains. What this means is that whatever is given in charity, the reward for it will be seven hundred times more than what is given. This is the extreme bounty which Allah (swt) displays towards His servants. He is Dhul Fadlul ‘Azeem, the Possessor of Great Bounty, and He gives generously from this bounty of His to those whom He pleases. And this multiplication of reward applies to all good deeds. In another ayah of the Quran it is mentioned that any good deed will be rewarded with ten times greater than it. So is the minimum, but in the ayah quoted here it specifically mentions that reward for charity may be multiplied as much as 700 times.
Another ayah states: “Alladheena yunfiqoona amwaalahum fee sabeelillahi thumma laa yutbi’una maa anfaqoo mannaw wa laa adhallahum ajruhum ‘inda rabbihim wa laa khawfun alaihim wa laa hum yahzanun – Those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, and then do not follow what they have spent by demands for gratitude or insulting words will have their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow.” Here the reward for charity is once again emphasised, which is that the giver of charity will not fear or grieve in the Hereafter but will have his reward with Allah (swt).
This ayah also raises another point, part of the adab of giving charity, which is that it should be done with a pure heart and with good intention. If you give sadaqa to someone then you shouldn’t thereafter remind that person of what you did. This would cause him embarrassment and shame. A person should also not expect anything in return for what he has given. To do any of these things is an indication that the person did not give the charity solely for the sake of Allah (swt), which is how it should be done. These acts can nullify the good deed of giving charity – there would no longer be any reward for it.
This is mentioned in the Quran just two ayat after the one mentioned previously. It says: “Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo laa tubtiloo sadaqatikum bil manni wal adhaa kalladhee yunfiqu maalahu ri’aa annaasi wa laa yu’minu billahi wal yawmil aakhir – O you who believe! Don’t nullify your sadaqa with demands for gratitude or insulting words, like the one who spends his wealth showing off to people and not having iman in Allah and the Last day.”
A third way in which a person can destroy the good of his giving charity is discussed here, in addition to the two mentioned previously. This is when a person gives charity in order to show off to people and to brag and boast about his generosity. A person who does this is only fooling himself because to act in this way is nothing but foolishness. He gives charity and thinks that he will get reward for it and feels good about himself, but in reality his deeds are worthless. This is because he had no sincerity – his desire was only to be seen by people, so therefore he will achieve that but in the Hereafter it will not benefit him.
But this does not mean that charity cannot be given in open. This is allowed and also encouraged. Allah (swt) says: “In tubdus sadaqati fa ni’immaa hee; wa in tukhfoohaa wa tu’toohal fuqaraa’a fahuwa khairul lakum wa yukaffiru ‘ankum min sayyi’aatikum; wallahu bimaa ta’maluna khabeer – If you make your sadaqa public that is good. But if you conceal it and give it to the poor, that is better for you, and We will erase some of your bad actions from you. Allah is aware of what you do.” So this ayah clarifies the issue. There is nothing wrong in a persons giving charity openly. It is good, because by doing so other people might be encouraged to follow his example. But care must be taken that it is done only for the sake of Allah (swt) and not for the sake of fame and to be known as a generous person. And to give charity secretly is better than to do it in the open.
Perhaps the reason why this is so is because it protects one from falling into the trap of riyaa’ – of doing things for show. It protects one from having the good of his charity being nullified. The giving of charity in secret was encouraged by the Prophet (saw). He stated in a hadith that one of the seven people who will be shaded under the Throne of Allah (swt) on the Day of Qiyamah will be the one who spends so secretively that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand gave (Bukhari).
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo anfiqu min tayyibati maa kasabtum wa mimmaa akhrajnaa lakum minal ard. Wa laa tayammamul khabeetha minhu tunfiquna wa lastum bi aakhidheehi illaa an tughmidoo feeh. Wa’lamoo annallaha ghaniyyun hameed – O you who believe! Give away some of the good things you have earned and some of what We have produced for you from the earth. Do not have recourse to bad things when you give, things you would only take with your eyes tight shut! Know that Allah is Rich Beyond Need, Praiseworthy.” This ayah informs us of another of the etiquettes of giving sadaqah, which is that we should not give in charity the bad and ugly things we have, the things which we dislike. We shouldn’t give away those things which we ourselves would not like to receive. Rather, when giving charity we should spend out of the best of our things, the things we love the most. If a person does not do this then he will not attain to true piety.
This is what is mentioned in another ayah which states: “Lan tanaalul birra hattaa tunfiqoo mimmaa tuhibbon. Wa maa tunfiqoo min shai’in fa innallaha bihi ‘aleem – You will not attain true goodness until you give of what you love. Whatever you give away, Allah knows it.” So we should spend from the things that we love. It is related that Talhah (ra), a companion of the Prophet (saw) and one of the ten who were promised Jannah during their lifetime, used to own a very beautiful garden. And this garden was a great source of wealth for him. He used to love to relax in it and once he made Salah there. While he was making Salah, some bees or a bird distracted him from his Salah. Because of this, he then went to the Prophet (saw) and donated the entire garden to him. So this is one example of the Sahabah (ra) spending in sadaqah from the things which they loved, and we should try to emulate them in this.
It is mentioned in the Holy Quran: “Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo anfiqoo mimma razaqnaakum min qabli ay ya’tiya yawmun laa bai’un feehi wa laa khullatu wa laa shafaa’ah – O you who believe! Give away some of what we have provided for you before a Day arrives on which there is no trading, no close friendship and no intercession.” Allah (swt) orders us here to spend out of that which He has given us. This makes us realise that whatever we possess of wealth and material goods, does not really belong to us, but to Allah (swt), the Lord of the Worlds. Whatever we have has been gifted to us by Him. We don’t really own it, but are merely caretakers of it. We look after it for a short while and then He (swt) will take it back.
This point is emphasised in other ayat of the Quran. Allah (swt) says: “Wa lillahi meeraathus samaawaati wal ard – To Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth” and also: “Wa lillahi mulkus samaawati wal ard – To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth.” Once we realise this fact, that our wealth truly belongs to Allah (swt), then it becomes easier for us to be generous. Since we are not the owners of it, then why should we not do with it as the True Owner orders us to do and give it away in charity?
There are various types of charity and one of the best kinds is that which is known as sadaqatul jariyah. This is an ongoing charity which benefits a person continuously during his lifetime and even after his death. The Prophet (saw) mentions in a hadith: “Idhaa maata al-‘abdu inqata’a ‘amaluhu illa min thalaath: sadaqatun jaariyatun, aw ‘ilmun yantafi’u bihi, aw waladun saalihun yad’oo lah – When a slave dies his actions come to an end except three things: a continuing charity or knowledge which gives benefit or a pious child who prays for him” (Sahih Muslim).
This sadaqah jaariyah is things such as building a well, a masjid or madrassah – things which people can continuously benefit from. If someone donates to help build a madrassah for example, then for as long as that madrassah remains in operation and there are people who make use of it, then that person will continue to be rewarded for it. So there is great reward in such actions and we should try to benefit from it. It is related that ‘Uthman (ra), the third Khalifah of Islam and a very wealthy businessman, once bought a well when the Muslims migrated to Madinah. It had previously belonged to a Jew who used to sell the water from the well to the people. ‘Uthman (ra) then bought it from him and allowed the people to use the water freely. So this is an example of a sadaqah jariyah, for as long as the people continued to use that well, then ‘Uthman (ra) would be continue to receive reward from Allah (swt).
Based on all these ayat, we can see the great reward which lies in the giving of sadaqah, and so hopefully we should all try and spend more of our wealth in the path of Allah (swt). Insha Allah, Allah (swt) will increase our wealth because of this and grant us better than that which we give.
Wa aakhiru da’waanaa ‘anil hamdu lillahi rabbil aalameen.