What is charity?
Charity means to love ones fellow men and to help them in times of need.
It is important to the concept of community life, and Islamic morals.
This is a question, which most people ask when told of charity drives, blood donation drives, wildlife charities, etc. They do not usually ask Why???!!!, but “Why should I help him/her?” “What will I get?” Moreover, some also ask, “Why should I help them when I’m not even related to them by the hundreds (neither their first or second cousin, nor anywhere close to their hundredth one)?!!!” etc, etc, etc….Just think, “Does Allah ever ask that?” He helps even the non-Muslims. He neither complains nor does he stop helping. So what right do we have to not help others???!!!
Types of Charity
Charity does not always have to be money. It can be our time, our duas, or even a smile. 😉 .We can give charity secretly or openly. Secretly, to avoid pride, and openly, so that others may follow our example. Without charity, the society will become selfish and cold hearted.
It is the opposite of charity. It means to collect things and pile them up on the side without ever really using them. If you are hoarding, then you are denying others by keeping things for yourself.
A hoarder is not only greedy, but also a miser. He collects everything he gets his hands on, but does not use it. He just keeps for safekeeping.
Collecting and Hoarding
Nothing is wrong in collecting things and using them. If I have a collection of stamps or books, it is a considerable hobby. If I have a collection of grains or any other daily necessity, I would be called a hoarder and a miser.
So now that you have read all this, I hope you have become more conscious towards giving charity.
Imam Ali has said, “The coin of a miser is as worthless as a pebble.”
This should be a lesson in our life that we should never deny giving charity.
A story goes to narrate explaining charity:-
The prophet once called some of his companions and gave them some money as a gift. He told them to spend it as they liked. A week later, he called them into the desert in the scorching midday heat. He told each of them to stand on a very hot stone and told them to list out their expenses. As they went on, they all wished they had bought fewer things as they had to think a lot and tell. The stone was burning hot and it was very hard to stand there. Imam Ali was the last person. When his turn came, he simply climbed up the stone and said, “I spent all my money as charity. “and got down. The companions then realized that it is always best to give in the way of Allah, because the rewards and benefits come in many ways.
Contributions of non-Muslims in charity
Many famous non-Muslim personalities have made tremendous efforts for charity. Selling autographed posters, books, CDs of them featured in games.
In the recent Haiti earthquake, more than 500 lives were lost. More than US$10,000,000 was raised just to rebuild the buildings! People were living on roadsides for days, hungry, thirsty, and lamenting the loss of their relatives. Isn’t it saddening?
All the credit for even the little help given to these disaster-ridden countries goes to non –Muslim people. Why not Muslims? Why not Shias? It is something to keep pondering about. Next time anyone informs you about charity drives, make sure to attend.
By Mustufa Ali
(Class 8 )