Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What is Sadaqah?

What is Sadaqah?

By Imam Ghazali (rahimahullāh)

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.

Sadaqah - Giving in Charity

The word SADAQAH means “giving in charity”. It is a deed designed by Allāh as an instrument to eradicate the spiritual malady of miserliness. Since the heart of the giver is not immune from showing and insincerity, it has been emphasized that Sadaqah should always be done secretly. Certainly, Riyā’ (show) and miserliness are both very destructive diseases and Sadaqah that is rendered secretly is a powerful remedy to them.

In the grave, Riyā’ assumes the form of a snake and miserliness takes the appearance of a scorpion and both are set on the sinner to inflict torture and pain. Thus, one who desists from spending in the Path of Allāh out of miserliness has, in reality, incurred the punishment of scorpions and one who spends, but with insincerity, has, in fact opted for the punishment of snakes.

 Sadaqah Should Not Be Considered a Favour

If is quite common to feel that one is rendering a favour on which one confers a Sadaqah. This is an absolutely erroneous concept and should be dispelled. At times it is difficult to ascertain the presence of such malady in one's heart. This can be achieved by carefully observing the condition of the heart after having given Sadaqah. For instance, if you expected an expression of gratitude in return of your Sadaqah or subsequent to your Sadaqah, the recipient showed disrespect to you or maltreated you and this infuriated you, then this evidently explains that the Sadaqah had been by you as a favour.

A Cure for the Malady

A simple technique to eradicate such disease is to regard the needy as your benefactor, for he has become the cause of absolving you from your obligation and replacing the evil disease of miserliness with generosity.

Zakah and Sadaqah have been imposed to root out the undesirable problem of miserliness, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), considering the object of its imposition would never bring the money of such funds into personal use. He would explain that this is the dirt of (people's) wealth. Hence the Muslim who has become instrumental in washing away the dirt accumulated in your wealth has rendered you a favour and not vice versa.

Zakah and Sadaqah play a key role in fulfilling the needs of the poor and eliminating starvation from the world, this is also regarded as a pillar of Islam.

To facilitate the giving of Zakah and Sadaqah Allāh has firstly ordered the creation to love Him and then made the act of giving in charity a yardstick to measure the extent of love in the hearts of those who claim to do so. To demonstrate this love, believers are commanded to spend in the Path of Allāh and thereby distinguish themselves from the false claimants of love.

If a human can sacrifice his entire possession for the petty love of another then sacrificing a small proportion of wealth for the Creator should not be felt as a burden. In fact, a Muslim should be prepared to give away all his possessions.

Those Who Do Spend In the Path of Allāh Can Be Divided Into Three Categories.

The ones who belong to the highest are those who give away, wholeheartedly everything they possess thus proving true their claim of love.  Abu Bakar Siddiq (radiyallāhu’anhu) held this rank, which, on one occasion had brought every content of his house before the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). And when asked, ‘What have you left for yourself?’ He replied, ‘Allāh and His Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)’ On this occasion Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallāhu’anhu) had also brought his belongings and in reply to the same question said, ‘I have left as much as I brought.’ Upon hearing the answers of both, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said (addressing the two), 'Your ranks are evident from your replies.'

The second category consists of those who, although fail to give away their entire possession, neither spend unnecessarily on other avenues such as personal pursuits. Their spending is not unrestricted and liberal at all times like the first group; rather, they will wait for situations and needs to arise and when they do their generosity will know no bounds. They will spend as much as they are capable of spending. Much of the money they have accumulated stays with them awaiting opportunities for them to spend in the Cause of Allāh.

The lowest category comprises those Muslims who suffice on paying their annual due. They will neither decrease in that nor increase. The ranks of the above mentioned categories and the degree of their love for Allāh can easily be assessed by their conditions, i.e. how much and how frequently they spend.

You should endeavour to reach the highest of these categories. If not possible, you should at least avoid being classed amongst the lowest. To achieve this, apart from the obligatory acts, you will need to spend a little every day. This will allow you to reach the lower stages of the second category, rising above the category of the miserly ones.

Muslims who are poor and unable to spend should not be disheartened by their inability, as the achievements of the rewards of Sadaqah are not only confined to giving in charity and helping the poor. They can be attained by other deeds as well. Any good deed, no matter how small, will earn them an equivalent reward. Some of these are mentioned below:
  • To visit the sick.
  • To attend a funeral.
  • To assist someone in times of need, such as helping a labourer carry some of his weight or interceding on someone's behalf.
  • To say a good word, such as consoling the grief stricken, or encouraging a despairing one.
These are all known as acts of Sadaqah and one does not have to be wealthy to accomplish them.

The Wisdom behind Spending Secretly

It is important that when you spend, you should do so quietly and not publicly. 

Firstly, it is loved by Allāh. A Hadith in this regard states. 'To spend secretly in the Path of Allāh extinguishes the Anger of Allāh (i.e loves by Allāh).' On another occasion, it has been mentioned, 'One who spends with the right hand such that it even goes unnoticed by the left (i.e. he exercises extreme sincerity) shall be resurrected among the seven categories of people who will be under the shade of the Throne of Allāh on a day when there shall be no shade except that one.'

But that should not mean that you wait for the heart to reach that stage in order to spend, for this is clearly a deception from Shaytaan. You should continue to spend, regardless of the conditions of your heart and eventually you will reach your goal and be able to give wholeheartedly. Until then, Allāh will reward you abundantly for overcoming your desires of withholding the money.

Secondly, spend the best of your possessions in the Path of Allāh. Would it not be inappropriate to give something to Allāh which you yourself dislike? As explained earlier, such spending has been designed to gauge one's love for the Creator. Hence your selection of wealth will determine the intensity of your love for Him. 

Thirdly, you should spend wholeheartedly. With respect to this a Hadith states, '(The reward of spending) one Dirham can exceed (the reward of) one hundred thousand Dirhams;' i.e. the reward of one who spends wholeheartedly and unrestrictedly will be multiplied manifold in contrast to one who does not do so.

Fourthly, the avenues of spending should also be thoughtfully and carefully chosen. In giving Sadaqah, preference should be given to one who has noble spiritual qualities over one who does not. If all the good qualities are not found in a single person then even the possessor of a single quality will be deserving of your Sadaqah. However, piety and Deen I knowledge should be given preference above all else. For only a pious and an 'Alim (Islamic scholar) will fulfil the prime objective of the provisions gifted by Allāh.

They are the ones who live on this earth solely to make preparations for the Hereafter and consider this mortal world to be only a rest house wherefrom the souls will very soon depart. Hence such persons can surely be expected to utilize your Sadaqah in the correct avenues. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said, 'Feed the pious people.'

Qur’anic Text Regarding Sadaqah

'The believers ... are steadfast in prayers, and in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged, for the poor and the destitute. [Al-Ma’arij, 70:22-24].

“That which you give in usury for increase through the property of (other) people, will have no increase with Allāh: but that which you give for charity, seeking the Countenance of Allāh, (will increase); it is those who will get a recompense multiplied.” [Al-Rum, 30:39]

“Only those who believe in Our Signs, who when they are recited to them fall down in adoration, and celebrate the praises of their Rabb (only God and Sustainer), nor are they (ever) puffed up with pride. They forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Rabb (only God and Sustainer), in Fear and Hope. And they spend (in charity) out of the sustenance which We have bestowed on them. Now no person knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden (in reserve) for them -- as a reward for their (good) Deeds. Is then the man who believes no better than the man who is rebellious and wicked? Not equal are they. For those who believe and do righteous deeds are Gardens as hospitable Homes, for their (good) deeds.” [As-Sajdah, 32:15-19]

“The likeness of those who spend for Allāh’s sake is as the likeness of a grain of corn, it grows seven ears every single ear has a hundred grains, and Allāh multiplies (increases the reward of) for whom He wills, and Allāh is sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower).” [Al-Baqarah, 2:261]

'For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women for devout men and women for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allāh’s remembrance for them has Allāh prepared forgiveness and great reward.' [Al-Ahzab, 33:35]

“Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public have their reward with their Rabb (only God and Sustainer). On them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” [Al-Baqarah, 2:274]

Hadiths Regarding Sadaqah

Every good deed in the path of Allāh is Sadaqah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said that even our smile for our brother is Sadaqah. Our simple effort like removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is Sadaqah. Our guidance of a person who is lost is Sadaqah. Sadaqah is a noble deeds and very rewarding. The believer's shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his Sadaqah.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: “To smile in the company of your brother is Sadaqah. To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is Sadaqah. To guide a person in a place where he cannot get astray is Sadaqah. To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is Sadaqah. To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is Sadaqah. To guide a person with defective vision is Sadaqah.” [Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as saying: “Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allāh adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allāh elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” [Muslim]

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, 'The example of a miser and the one who gives in Sadaqah, is like the example of two men wearing iron cloaks so tightly that their arms are raised forcibly towards their collar-bones. So, whenever a charitable person wants to give in Sadaqah, his cloak spreads over his body so much so that it wipes out his traces. But whenever the miser wants to give in Sadaqah, the rings (of the iron cloak) come closer to each other and press over his body and his hands get connected to his collar-bones. Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) heard the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, 'The miser then tries to widen it but in vain.' [Bukhari]

Qais ibn Abu Hazim (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “A Muslim is rewarded (in the Hereafter) for whatever he spends except for something that he spends on building.” [Bukhari]

Mu'adz bin Jabal (radiyallāhu’anhu) related from the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) “Sadaqah extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.” [Ahmad, Tirmidzi]

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Every day two angels come down from Heaven and one of them says, 'O Allāh! Compensate every person who spends in Your cause’, and the other (angel) says, 'O Allāh! Destroy every miser.’” [Bukhari]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: 'A Muslim does not plant, or sow anything from which a person, animal or anything eats but it is considered as Sadaqah from him.' [Bukhari]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: The believer's shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his Sadaqah.” [Ahmad]

Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Those who have much wealth (in this world) will be the least rewarded (in the Hereafter) except those who do like this and like this (i.e., spend their money in charity).” [Bukhari]

Abu Hurairah (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Verily what a believer continues to receive (in the form of reward) for his action and his virtues after his death is the knowledge which he acquired and then disseminated; the pious son that he left behind him; or a copy of the Qur’an which he left as a legacy; or the mosques that he had built; or the inn that he had built for the wayfarers; or the canal that he caused to flow, or a sadaqah which he gave out of his property in the state when he was healthy and alive. (These are the acts of goodness the reward of which) reaches him even after his death.” [Tirmidzi, Ibn Majah and Baihaqi]

Abu Musa (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Every Muslim has to give in sadaqah (charity).” The people asked, “O Allāh’s Messenger! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” He replied, “Then he should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied, “Then he should perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” [Bukhari]

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “A crafty one, a miser, and one who keeps reminding people of what he has given, will not enter Paradise.” [Tirmidzi]

Abu Hurairah narrated that Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu’anhu) said to the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), ‘The wealthy people have all the rewards; they pray as we pray; they fast as we fast; and they have surplus wealth which they give in charity; but we have no wealth which we may give in charity.’ Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Abu Dharr, should I not teach you phrases by which you acquire the rank of those who excel you? No one can acquire your rank except one who acts like you.’ He said, Why not, Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam)? The Messenger of Allāh(Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘Glorify Him: 'Subhān Allāh' (Glory be to Allāh) thirty-three times; and praise Him say: 'Alhamdulillāh' (Praise be to Allāh) thirty-three times Exalt Allāh say: 'Allāhu Akbar' (Allāh is Most Great) after each prayer thirty-three times; and end it by saying, 'Lā ilāha illAllāhu wahdahu la sharīka lahu, lahul mulku wa lahul hamdu yuhyi wa yūmītu wa Huwa ‘ala kulli shai’iñ Qadīr.' (There is no god but Allāh alone, He has no partner, to Him belongs the Kingdom, to Him praise is due and He has power over everything.) Your sins will be forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea.’” [Abu Dawud]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) has said: 'Sadaqah (charity) does not decrease wealth.' [Muslim]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

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