Monday, April 22, 2013

Dzikirullah Is a Sadaqah

Hadith  25: Dzikirullah Is a Sadaqah
(Charitable Acts)

By Imam An-Nawawi

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

Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari whose real name was Jundub bin Junadah (radiyallahu`anhu), reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, (sallallahu`alayhi wasallam), said to him:

"O Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches." Upon this he (the Prophet, Sallallahu`alayhi wasallam) said: "Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do sadaqah? Verily in every Tasbih (i.e. saying Subhanallah) there is a sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a sadaqah, every Tahmid (i.e. saying Alhamdulillah) is a sadaqah, every Tahlil (i.e. saying Lailaha illallah) is a sadaqah, enjoining of good is a sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a sadaqah. They (the Companions) said: "O Messenger of Allah is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?" He said: "Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward."

[Recorded by Muslim]


In another hadith recorded by both Muslim (rahimahullāh) and Al-Bukhari (rahimahullāh), it is mentioned that the questioners were the poor of the Muhajruun or immigrants from Makkah. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh) says that this hadith shows that those poor people thought that giving sadaqah (charity) can only be done through money, something which they could not afford. The Prophet, (Sallallahu`alayhi wasallam), told them that all good deeds are considered as charitable acts.

There are other versions this hadith of Abu Dharr (radiyallahu`anhu), as well as some other hadiths which show similar meanings. One of them is in Sahih Muslim which says that: "Every good act is an act of charity". In another version the hadith, it says: "Your smile to your brother is a charitable act. Ordering good is a charitable act. Forbidding evil is a charitable act. Helping a man who has bad eyesight to see things is a charitable act. Removing a stone, rubbish or bones is a charitable act. Emptying your cup in the cup of your brother is a charitable act."

Also in the Sahihain (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) it is mentioned that “A man spending money upon his wife is charity”. In another hadith in the Sahihain it is mentioned that “No Muslim plants a plant or soils a seed and has it eaten by a bird, animal or human except that it will be a charitable act for him”.

In another narration, Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said: For every bone of the son of Adam a charity must be given each day. Every Tasbihah [saying Subhān Allāh (Glory be to Allāh)] is a charity, every Tahmidah [saying Al-hamdu Lillāh (Praise be to Allāh)] is a charity, every Tahlilah [saying Lā ilāha ill-Allāh (There is no god but Allāh)] is a charity, every Takbirah [saying Allāhu Akbar [Allāh is Most Great]) is a charity, enjoining what is good is a charity, forbidding what is evil is a charity, and two raka`at offered in the mid-morning (Duha) is most rewarding.” [This is recorded by Muslim, 720]


According to Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh), the hadith proves that the Companions of the Prophet, (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam), were so eager to do good acts and charitable deeds. They had very strong desires to do Al-Khayr and charity in order to please Allah subhana wa ta'ala. They were sad when they could not afford to donate their money to charity especially as it was being done by some other people. They had a strong desire to spend they wealth and to do good deeds when they saw some members among the Companions doing it. They wanted to be like them in terms of rewards and  tawab. They were able to do solah, fasting and other ibadah but one thing they could not do was giving money or sadaqah because they did not have any. But they were told to do more dzikir which is equal to giving money or charity in terms of rewards.

We can see here how the Companions were so keen to do all forms and acts of ibadah in order to please Allah subhana wa ta'ala. This should be the case with every Muslim. We should be eager to do every good deed which pleases Allah. At least we should have the will and desire to do it even if we cannot do it.

Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh) states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types:

1.  The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh) gave some examples such as education and teaching people, teaching the Qur'an, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and also doing whatever that contributes to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes making du`a (prayer) and istighfar (forgiveness) for the other Muslims.
2.   Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform a harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to do to benefit others.

Charitable acts are rewarded even without niyah or intentions. This can be understood from the first impression or the general observable meaning of the text of the hadith. But it seems that Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh) is not happy with this interpretation. He says that a charitable act, according to many scholars, is conditional to a good intention. That is we must do it for the sake of Allah only and to seek His Pleasure. According to Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh), this view is supported by two evidences:

1.   In another version of the hadith good intention was mentioned and hence it applies to the other places where good intention was not mentioned.
2.   In Surah Al-Nisa, 4:114, Allah says: "There is no good in most of their secret talks except one who exhorts to a good deed of charity or goodness or conciliation between people. To him who does this seeking the pleasure of Allah, We shall soon give him a reward of high value." Ibn Rajab (rahimahullāh) says that in this verse it is mentioned that the reward is conditional to a good intention only.

Each of the phrases of Dzikirullah such as Al-Tahmid, Al-Tahlil, and Al-Tasbih is a charitable act. This show us the importance if Dzikirullah. There are general types of dzikir and there are specific types of dzikir. Muslims should remember Allah all the time. The recommended time to do dzikir is during the morning and the evening and after the Salawat. Every Muslim should maintain and observe the dzikir in order to become among those who are described as Al-Dzakirun.

The acts of pleasing Allah are very wide and affordable to everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, potential, etc. There is room for all where everyone has the ability to perform some act of charity. Therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do good deeds which are more convenient and suitable for him or her. However, we are encouraged to do as much of good deeds and charitable acts as we can.

There is story that Imam al-Dhahabi (rahimahullāh) related about a dialogue between Ibn al-Juwairiyah (rahimahullāh) and Imam Malik (rahimahullāh). He said that Ibn al-Juwairiyah (rahimahullāh) wrote a letter to Imam Malik (rahimahullāh) about ibadah and advised him to do more acts of worship. Imam Malik (rahimahullāh) was well known for his lectures in the Masjid Al-Nabawi where he used to disseminate `ilm (knowledge) and the sunnah of the Prophet, (Sallallahu`alayhi wasallam), that he learned. Ibn Juwairiyah (rahimahullāh) was known of his piety and devotions to worship. Imam Malik (rahimahullāh) replied Ibn al-Juwairiyah's letter saying that Allah has divided the acts of deeds among people as He divided rizq or wealth among them. Some are given talents in knowledge and how to spread it while others are given talents in jihad, fasting and so on. So what he (Imam Malik) was given is not less than what Ibn al-Juwairiyah (rahimahullāh) have been given and he hoped that both of them are on the right track and do the things that please Allah subhana wa ta'ala.

Also In the stories of the Sahabah we can find that everyone was good at doing some specific acts. This means talents are divided among people. Ibn Masud (radiyallahu`anhu) said that fasting the sunnah prevented him from reciting the Qur'an. It made him weak. So he chose the recitation of the Qur'an over the non-obligatory fasting. This is mentioned by Al-Shatibi (rahimahullāh) in his Al-I'tisam.

So people have choices and preferences in doing acts of `ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. One of them was Abu Bakar Al-Siqdiq, (radiyallahu 'anhu). He was given the talents to perform all forms of `ibadah and was good at doing them.

Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) mentions said that it is recommended to compete towards good deeds as mentioned in the Qur'an. People are allowed to compete for goodness and for the acts of charity in accordance with their talents and ability. There is a story of a man who was in Madinah who usually goes to solah with some money in his pocket. After the solah and on his way back, he would give the money to any needy person that he met. He was well known for doing this kind of charity. Then there is the story of an old man who was over 80 years old who used to do many good activities for the people of the village. He used to walk around the streets of the village and cleaned the roads and streets. Every morning after the Solat Fajar he would go to the school and clean the muddy and dusty road to that school. He was an illiterate man but yet he did a lot of good jobs for the villagers which other people did not bother to do. This is indeed a great deed in the sight of Allah. It is a good opportunity to get the pleasure of Allah. Therefore every Muslim should be doing this kind of action which is actually easy and simple but has great rewards. We cannot do all charitable acts at one time but we have to do whatever we can do. We have to have the intention to do any charitable act. The hadith that says: "Your smile to your brother is a charitable act" is a good example of this type of ibadah. It is common now to see many people who have the habit of smiling at other people. They are in fact good at this kind of charitable act. They are blessed with this behavior. It has a positive influence on other's behavior. When you smile to your brother and say "Assalamu `Alaikum" to him, you are in fact making him happy and this act will create a good environment among the Muslim community.

Scholars have emphasised the distinction between "Ghibtah" and "Hasad". Al-Ghibtah means to have the desire to achieve the good qualities that others have. Al-Ghibtah is a positive behavior which motivates you to do good, as good as other people does. For example, when you see a knowledgeable person, you admire and wish to be knowledgeable like him; when you see someone who does a lot of `ibadah, you wish to do the same; when you see a rich person who pays charity, you admire him and wish to be like him. So you admire these people for their good actions and hence you wish to be like them. Al-Ghibtah, then, is actually good and desirable. It influences our attitude and behavior in a positive way.

Al-Hasad, on the other hand, means 'envy'. It is a negative behavior which is prohibited and condemned in Islam. The Prophet, (sallallahu`alayhi wasallam), said that Al-Hasad demolishes the rewards. It is envy and jealousy that occurs when you see someone who is given some privileges that you do not have. It is Allah who gives His Bounty to anyone He chooses. So we should not feel any objection to Allah's plan. That is why Al-Hasad is considered a very bad behavior and a major sin.

We are encouraged to perform the acts of ordering good things and prohibiting evils because when we do it we contribute to the well-being of the society. We do not do it to offend or put down someone. We do it in order to help them. Carrying out this concept will always contribute to the betterment of the whole society. We have to do it with tolerance and patience so that the other party may accept it. When we do this act with good intentions, the other person sees it positively. He sees it as caring and concern from our side. So most likely, he will accept it. We should not do it in a harsh or aggressive way that it may offend others.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu`anhu) narrated from the Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam), who said:
“Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) have supernumerary angels who rove about seeking out gatherings in which Allah's name is being invoked: they sit with them and fold their wings round each other, filling in that which is between them and between the lowest heaven. When [the people in the gathering] depart, [the angels] ascend and rise up to heaven.”
The Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said: “Then Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) asks them - [though] He is most knowing about them: ‘Where did you come from?' And the angel say: ‘we have come from some servants of Yours on Earth: They were glorifying You [Tasbih: Subhana llah], exalting you [Takbir: Allahu Akbar], witnessing that there is no god but You [Tahlil: La ilaha illa llah], praising You [Tahmid: Al-Hamdu lillah], and asking [favours: mercy and forgiveness] of You.’

Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘And what did they ask of Me?’ The angels say:They asked of You Your Paradise.’ Allah (Subhānahu wata‘ala) says: ‘And have they seen My Paradise?’ They say: ‘No, O Lord.’ Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘and how would it be were they to have seen My Paradise!’

The angels say: 'And they asked for protection of You. Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says:  ‘From what do they ask protection of Me?’ They say: ‘From Your Hell-fire, O Lord.’  Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘And have they seen My Hell-fire?’ They say: ‘No, O Lord.’ Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘and how would it be were they to have seen My Hell-fire!’
The angels say: ‘And they asked for Your forgiveness.’” The Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said: “Then Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘I have forgiven them and I have bestowed upon them what they have asked for, and I have granted them sanctuary from that from which they asked protection.’”

The angels say: ‘O Lord, among them is So-and-so, a much sinning servant, who was merely passing by and sat down with them.’”  The Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said: “And Allah (Subhānahu wata`ala) says: ‘and to him [too] I have given forgiveness: he who sits with such people shall not suffer.’”

[Recorded by Muslim, also by Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidzi, and An-Nasa‘ie]

Abu Dharr (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported: The Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) said:

"Allāh, the Almighty, says, `Whosoever does a good deed, will have (reward) ten times like it and I add more; and whosoever does an evil, will have the punishment like it or I will forgive (him); and whosoever approaches Me by one span, I will approach him by one cubit; and whosoever approaches Me by one cubit, I approach him by one fathom, and whosoever comes to Me walking, I go to him running; and whosoever meets Me with an earth-load of sins without associating anything with Me, I meet him with forgiveness like that".

This Hadith mentions the infinite Compassion and Mercy of Allāh to His obedient servants and a special expression of which will be made by Him on the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, He will servants at least ten times reward for each good deed. In some cases it may be far more than that, seven hundred times or more, as He would like. Such benevolence on His part warrants that a Muslim should never lose hope of His forgiveness.


Scholars state that all permissible acts can be turned into `ibadah. These acts can be rewarded with the condition of having good intentions. So every normal activity that we do in our everyday life can be turned into `ibadah and we will be rewarded for doing it with good intentions. For example, when you are driving or putting petrol into your car with the intention of benefiting your family or relatives, you will be rewarded and this act will be considered as `ibadah. Also, when you make a telephone call to your family or relatives with good intentions, you will be rewarded for that. Hence, these simple acts of our everyday life can be turned into `ibadah and be rewarded. We need to train ourselves with this habit and In sha Allah we will get a great reward from Allah.

Mu`adz Ibn Jabal (radiyallāhu`anhu) reported that Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) once held him by the hand and said: “O Mu`adz! I swear by Allāh that I love you. I advise you not to miss supplicating after every solāh saying: ‘Allāhumma a `inni `alā dzikrika, Wa shukrika, wa husni `ibâdatik. (O Allāh! Assist me in mentioning You, expressing gratitude to You, and worshiping You in the finest manner).”[ This is recorded by Abu Dawud; An-Nasā`ie]

This Hadith stresses the fact that one should seek the Help of Allāh for His remembrance, thanksgiving and worship, because one cannot do anything without His Help and Support. The Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) combined between gratitude and the mentioning of Allāh, because they are the means of attaining true felicity. If one who does not mention Allāh is certainly of the ungrateful.

`Abdullah bin Mas`ud (radiyallahu`anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu`alayhi wasallam) used to say: “Allahumma inni as `alukal-huda wat-tuqa wal-`afafa wal-ghina (O Allah! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency)".

[This is recorded by Muslim].

Commentary: This du’a contains four words, the meanings and implications of which constitute its essence. These words are guidance, piety (fear of Allah), chastity and sufficiency. Guidance here means guidance at every turn of life and steadfastness on the path of truth. Piety (fear of Allah) is the greatest means of piety and strongest defense against sins. Chastity is the state of being free from what is unlawful. Self-sufficiency is the antonym of poverty and here it means the self-contentment. What it implies is that one should not care for what people possess. In view of all these qualities, the prayer is very comprehensive and valuable

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from commentary on Hadith  25: “Charitable Acts I, 40 Hadiths Of Imam NawawiBy Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi, via IC Truth]

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