Fruits for the Week

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A man came to Prophet Muhammad (saw) and asked: “O Allah’s Messenger! Which charity is the most superior in reward?” He replied: “The charity which you practice while you are healthy, niggardly and afraid of poverty and wish to become wealthy,” He told him further: “Do not delay it to the time of approaching death and then say: ‘Give so much to such and such, and so much (as it is too late).’” (Bukhari)

According to a hadith the best sadaqah (charity) is that which is spent when you are in good health and active, and hope to live long. You should not also withhold sadaqah till you find you on the deathbed with no hope of survival. When the hope of life vanishes and feeling for personal needs is longer, and with the apprehension of all your property going to your heirs, when you begin to distribute among mosques and madrasahs. Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “A man giving a dirham as sadaqah during his life is better than giving one hundred dirhams as sadaqah at the moment of his death.” (Dawud)

Money spent should be accompanied by a feeling of love for spending, that is, one should be delighted to give away as sadaqah without second thoughts and regrets for having spent it and without the fear for want and would not blame himself later for spending it lavishly when in fact he needs money and loves it. Imam Hasan (ra), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (saw), showed great magnanimity and once gave away his entire wealth of fifty thousand dirhams and five hundred dinars along with the wages for two porters to carry the money to his house, when he was left with no means to buy food that day.

When someone asked what is meant by spending money while one loves it for everybody loves money, Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied: “It means that you should spend money while you are conscious of your own needs, fear from want and neediness, and feel afraid lest you should need it during the long years of your life ahead.” Prophet (saw) said: “The best charity is that which is practice by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.” (Bukhari). Prophet (saw) said: “Shall I not guide you to the most excellent sadaqah? It is to provide to your daughter when she is sent back to you and has no one but you to provide for her.” (Tirmidhi).

In this case, all that is spent to meet her needs is treated as an excellent sadaqah, for it combines many acts of virtues such as sadaqah, helping a distress person, strengthening family bonds, loving care for one’s children, and showing sympathy with the grieved.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “For anyone helping a distress person, Allah, the Exalted, records seventy-three grades of forgiveness one of which shall suffice him for his well-being in all worldly affairs and seventy-two will raise him spiritually on the Day of Judgement.

Wealth is meant for spending first amongst the kith and kin that are considered the most deserving people for the sadaqah gift because of the common blood relationship.

However, Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “The most excellent sadaqah is that given to a relative who does not like you.” (Fiqhus-sunnah). When a man is in need and some of his relative is rich, naturally he looks to them for help because they are of one family. Also, it is natural for a man to feel more sympathy and pain with his hard-pressed and needy relatives than with strangers. He is humiliated by their degradation and elevated by their honor. Therefore, any well-to-do person who cuts off his kin from assistance and lives in luxury while his relatives are in a state of misery is devoid of natural feeling or lacks of belief and is far away from goodness or piety. On the other hand, for one who maintains close links with his kin, his sustenance is assured, and his relationship is of beneficence to his kin.

Allah’s Messenger (saw) said: “The most excellent sadaqah consists in your satisfying a hungry stomach.” (Tirmidhi). Prophet Muhammad (saw) further said: “Save yourself from Hell-Fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.” (Bukhari)

In the year of Hajjatul Wada’, the year of the Farewell Pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (saw) visited Sad (ra) when he had fallen ill and was about to die because of that illness. He said: “O Allah’s Messenger! I am very ill as you see, and I am a rich man and have no heir except my only daughter. Shall I give two-thirds of my property in charity?” He said: “No.” He said: “Shall I then give one-half of it in charity?” He said: “O Sad! Give one-third (in charity) and even one-third is too much. No doubt, it is better to leave your children rich than to leave them poor, reduced to begging from others. And Allah will reward you for whatever you spend with the intention of gaining Allah’s pleasure even if it were a mouthful of food you put into your wife’s mouth.” He said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Am I to be left behind (in Makkah) after my companions have gone?” He said: “If you should be left behind, you will be upgraded and elevated for every deed you will do with a desire to achieve Allah’s pleasure. I hope that you will live long so that some people will benefit by you while others will be harmed. O Allah! Please fulfil the migration of my companions and do not make them turn back on their heels. But (we feel sorry for) the unlucky Sad bin Khaulah.” (Bukhari). So the people started to will one-third of their property and that was permitted for them.

(To be continued)

by Mohammad H. R. Talukdar

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