The writer, Zamena Manekia Manji (Bujumbura, Burundi) is a bookworm with a passion for writing and community service.
The pangs of hunger we feel this Ramadhan isn’t meant for desperately waiting for iftar to feast on those crispy samosas, but for us to understand the plight of the poor who can barely afford to eat once a day. Yet, somehow, the act of helping the less fortunate doesn’t really come on top of our Ramadhan to do list.
Islam heavily emphasizes on giving to the poor to the extent that certain forms of charity are obligatory such as Zakaat and Khums. In Nahjul Balaghah, Imam Ali (a.s) mentions how the Lord has placed the livelihood of the poor into the earnings of the wealthy, and this clearly states how responsible we need be towards aiding the less fortunate.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah (swt) mentions Say, ?O Prophet,? “Surely ?it is? my Lord ?Who? gives abundant or limited provisions to whoever He wills of His servants. And whatever you spend in charity, He will compensate ?you? for it. For He is the Best Provider.” (Surah Sabah 39)
The act of charity is so powerful it sometimes even reverse one’s time of death and seeks to repel all sorts of misfortunes afflicting the giver. These are only two of the countless rewards we receive when we give charity after paying our dues. i.e Zakat, Khums and Kaffarah and covering our expenses. Yet, sometimes we find it so difficult to part with our money which we worked so hard for, sometimes wondering if we may need it in the future, but we tend to forget how the Lord promises to compensate us, despite bestowing us with the sustenance in the first place.
But perhaps,the best form of giving is the one the Ahlul Bayt practiced through their lives. The kind that works like a mailman who only delivers without being seen; making the less fortunate feel like the sustenance came directly from Allah(swt). for they would walk through the streets in the dead of the night, giving bags of food without the receivers even knowing where it came from.
Another form of giving as stated by Ahlulbayt is that the reward of giving is multiplied by 10 and the reward when one gives a loan is multiplied by 18, leaving one wondering how is a loan better than the act of giving without measure.
The reasons being that when one receives a loan, it results to the person not feeling humiliated and makes him answerable, and once he is able to stand up on his own feet and can return the loan, the giver could gift it back to them as a capital for their new venture. However, Islam also places great importance in first helping a family member in need, the reward multiplying by 45.
There are also many ways to help the poor within our neighbourhoods/cities, such as buying bananas from a woman who is trying to make an income under the scorching sun without over bargaining and gifting the fruits to a beggar who can sell and make some money. This way, one motivates both the hard-working fruit seller and the desperate beggar to Further strive. Any act that is solely for the sake of aiding the less fortunate is greatly loved by the Lord.
If we ponder over the act of charity and implement it into our lives as guided by the Lord and the Ahlul Bayt, the World will truly change into a better place for every human being.
Source of reference : Lecture by Shaykh Ali Rajani | Giving in the way of Allah (swt)