Islam Explained By Husain Zakariyya Yawale
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Allah says: “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, to Him will we give a new life, a life that is good and pure and we will bestow on their reward according to the best of their actions.” [an-Nahl: 97]
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, is His servant, and messenger. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.
The Apostle of Allah was sitting one day with his Companions discussing their affairs, and one of the issues deliberated was about the condition of the Day of Resurrection was on seven people that Allah will shade under his Throne from the unbearable heat of the sun, as it will be brought very close to the mammoth gathering, frying them. The hadith reads: It is related from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade with His shade on the day when there is no shade but His shade: a just Imam, a youth who grows up worshipping Allah, a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, two men who love each other for the sake of Allah alone, meeting for that reason and parting for that reason, a man who refuses the advances of a noble and beautiful woman, saying, 'I fear Allah', a man who gives charity and conceals it so that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives, and a man who remembers Allah when he is alone and his eyes overflow with tears.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
The next category of the most fortunate people whom Allah will shade on the Day of resurrection when the sun will be brought very close to human skulls and stir fry them into black colour completely, is “...who gives charity and conceals it such that that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives...”
This category like the aforementioned ones in the previous weeks, seems also easily attainable, but that is on the surface. If we analyze this segment we will arrive at the following results.
Firstly, “...one who gives...” That means someone must have access to the wealth, attain self sufficiency and then spend the excess for the sake Allah in return for eternal dividend. This is because you cannot give what you do not have. More so, Islam has laid down rules on how to acquire wealth. Amassing wealth in Islam is not a open- ended competition without legitimacy. Only halal possessed wealth can earn the reward of Allah. An ill-gotten or haram wealth is a source of Allah's wrath in both worlds. In a very popular tradition the Apostle of Allah said, “Verily Allah is Pure and does not accept, but what is pure” Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, “If one gives in charity what equals one date-fruit from the honestly earned money and Allah accepts only the honestly earned money Allah takes it in His Right (hand). And then, enlarges its reward for that person (who has given it), as anyone of you brings up his baby horse, so much so that it becomes as big as a mountain.” [Bukhari, Vol. 2, Hadith: 491]
That is to say it is not the quantity of the charity that matters, but source and the sincerity. Allah says in the Qur'an: “And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it As bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a Little of (other) people's property.” [al-Baqarah: 188]
The very first step to giving charity or spending in the cause of Allah is to acquire it from legitimate sources. Any wealth sourced from illegal means is rejected by Allah, out-rightly! Thus, wealth attainment is an act of worship and must be done in the way and principled the Shari'ah enshrined clearly. Every step towards affluence must be in cognizance with teachings of the Sunnah. Lets no one steals, defalcates or embezzles wealth entrusted in him stealthily and think he can deceive Allah by spending part of it in the cause of Allah, and anticipate recompense from Allah on the resurrection day. If anyone forgets how he or she acquires his or her wealth, Allah never forgets! Allah says:
“On the Day that Allah will raise them all up (again) and Show them the truth (and meaning) of their conduct. Allah has reckoned its (value), though They may have forgotten it, for Allah is witness to all things.” [al-Mujadalah: 6]
Secondly, is the giving or spending what was legitimately attained. There are similarly rules and regulations concerning how one spends his or her money. Let no one expects that he or she is at liberty to spend his or her wealth anyhow and on anything! The crux of the matter in Islam, is that you and your possession are Allah's properties. He commands how to attain and spend it! he is the law-giver, and thus, He commands as he wishes without restriction.
In fact, even where the wealth is possessed in halal way, the spending must strictly follow suite otherwise one is liable to retribution before Allah. this is chiefly because spending for Allah must be as result of strong iman. And iman is like an-built policing of every deed of a Muslim. Thus, one cannot presumed that he or she is a true and sincere believer until he or she trades the path of honour and morality. The Qur'an is explicit right from the first verses, Allah says:
“A.L.M. This is the Book; In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah. Who believe In the Unseen, are steadfast In prayer, and spend out of what we have provided for them.” [al-Baqarah: 1-3]
The next step prioritizing the spending in accordance with the Qur'anic laws, thus: “They ask Thee what They should spend (in charity). say: whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those In Want and for wayfarers. and whatever ye do that is good, (Allah) knoweth it well.” [al-Baqarah: 215]
Similarly, one should not spend all his wealth in the cause of Allah, and the next day he or she becomes a pauper to start begging people for sustenance. Allah enacts: “... They ask Thee How much They are to spend; say: ‘What is beyond your needs.’ Thus doth Allah make Clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider.” [al-Baqarah: 219]
And: “Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard’s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.” [al-Isra'i: 29]
Also, one should spend for the purpose of attracting crowds and popularity in order to achieve any worldly objective at any time in the future. Spending must be solely for winning the face of Allah! The Qur'an says: “Not those who spend of their substance, to be seen of men, but have no Faith In Allah and the Last Day: if any take the evil one for their intimate, what a dreadful intimate He is!” [an-Nisa'i: 38]
And furthermore states: “And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls, is as a garden, high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not heavy rain, light moisture sufficeth it. Allah seeth well whatever ye do.” [al-Baqara: 265]
Thus, while spending in accordance with the prioritized Shari'ah ruling and for the sake of winning the pleasure of Allah in strengthen one's faith, is rewardable immensely in both worlds, spending for any other objective attracts His chastisement. This is the incontestable fact. That is the main reason why spending becomes an act of worship solely based on the strength of one's belief.
In Islam, intention is most influential matter of every deed; if it is for Allah, it is for Him to recompense, otherwise wrath awaits offenders. it does not matter if one gives the wrong person, provided there was no apparent reason to refuse or not give. it is only Allah Who knows the hidden. The following hadith explains further:
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: (A man said, "Tonight, I shall give charity.'' He went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to an adulterer. The next morning the people said that alms were given to an adulterer. The man said, "O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I gave my alms) to an adulterer. Tonight, I shall give alms again.'' He went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to a rich person. The next morning (the people) said, "Last night, a wealthy person was given alms.'' He said, "O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I gave alms) to a wealthy man. Tonight, I shall again give charity.'' So he went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to a thief. The next morning (the people) said, "Last night, a thief was given alms.'' He said, "O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I have given alms) to an adulteress, a wealthy man and a thief.'' Then, someone came to him and said, "The alms that you gave away were accepted. As for the adulteress, the alms might make her abstain from adultery. As for the wealthy man, it might make him take a lesson and spend his wealth that Allah has given him. As for the thief, it might make him abstain from stealing.''[Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith: 167 8, narrated by Abu Sa`id al-Khudri]
The golden rule here is the sincerity in the intention for which the charity is given; notwithstanding the quantity and the end receiver if there is any hindrances, but the cause.
However, there is no sin in giving charity openly to the needy or in the cause of Allah, whatsoever! The only apprehension in openly spending in the cause of Allah is the creeping of 'riya', that is show-off, to stealthily becloud one's intention.
“Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by Day, In secret and In public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall They grieve.” [al-Baqara: 274]
Thus, the methodology of giving is not the issue but the very intention while administering it. Allah has explicitly warned, thus: “What They spend In the life of This (material) world may be likened to a wind which brings a nipping frost: it strikes and destroys the harvest of men who have wronged their own souls: it is not Allah that hath wronged them, but They wrong themselves.” [aal-Imran: 117]
In essence, to give charity in a discreet manner is more rewarding as it entails, deep and sincere iman in Allah, His limitless knowledge over everything, His encompassing mercy and compassion, and above His assurance in recompensing the good deeds of all His servants. The one who gives openly was seen by two on-lookers (Allah and His servants), while the person who stealthily spends for His sake, simply trust in the witnessing of the Unseen; Allah! That is the epic of iman! hence the eligibility to be shaded along other six most prosperous believers that Day!
Finally, the charity in discourse here is not the compulsory alms or mandatory expiations, it is optional charity to the poor and the needy or to a good cause. Any charity without fulfilling the obligatory ones, is simply a ruefulness!