This year has been incredibly difficult for most of the world’s population and no amount of shukr is enough to thank Allah for making us among those who still have some food, water, shelter, clothing, time, strength, energy, and security to spare. While we sit in air conditioned homes with a roof over our head, clean running water, and blessings upon blessings in every form, our brothers and sisters in almost every Muslim country are suffering from hardships we cannot even begin to imagine. Libya, Yemen, Syria, Misr, Gaza, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chad, Mali, Sudan, Bahrain, and most of all, Somalia.
I know you have all heard countless reminders of the situation of our brothers and sisters in East Africa but reminders benefit the believers. Reminders change the hearts of the believers and turn their faith into action. I pray that these short but powerful quotes may encourage all of us to give more than what we have already given and be among السَّابِقُونَ السَّابِقُونَ – The foremost, the foremost (in dunya wal akhirah)
Ja’far bin Muhammad once advised Sufyan ath-Thawri (rahimahullah):
“Acts of generosity are perfected by three qualities: giving it away sooner, seeing it as little, and giving it in secret”. [Hilyatul-Auliya’, vol. 3, p.198]
No matter how much you have given, tell yourself that you can give more and know that whatever you spend will be multiplied by Al Ghani. Build multiple bridges for yourself to Jannah and plant seeds of goodness wherever you can. One of the greatest tests of this life occurs when Allah subhanahu wata’ala blesses us with ni’am upon ni’am. Why? Because acknowledging that these blessings are a test from Allah is a test in itself. SubhanAllah. Don’t allow prolonged hopes to delude you from spending in the way of Allah. If we look at the lives of the Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them, whatever material wealth they had resided in their hands, not in their hearts and they were firm in their belief that what they gave would be replaced with something better and multiplied many times over.
‘Urwah (radhiallahu ‘anh) said:
“I witnessed ‘Aisha (radhi’allahu ‘anha) give away seventy thousand, but she would mend her garment.” [Sifwatus-Safwah, vol. 2, p. 30]
SubhanAllah, such great iman and taqwa is typical of Ummahatul Mu’mineen, ‘Aisha (radhiallahu ‘anha). She was raised in the house of ar-Rasool (salAlalhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and by his hands. Her father, as we all know would rush towards any type of ‘amal as-salih hoping to be called from every gate of Jannah on the Day of Judgement. This reminder is especially important for sisters. Many times we find that sisters are into the latest fashion and style, which isn’t wrong, but we should be careful about what we are drawn to and whether having something is beneficial or detrimental for us. How many of us can say that we are humble in our dress and wear the libaas of taqwa? Try and implement this beautiful Sunnah as it will help you to give more and care less about things that really don’t matter in the end.
Abdullah ibn Masud (radhiallahu ‘anh) said:
“If you want a safe place to keep your money where it will not be eaten by termites or stolen by thieves, then give it in charity.”
The intelligent person always looks at the long-term benefit of something. If you invest now, you hope to see a greater dividend in the future. Allah subhanahu wata’ala even called sadaqah a qard hasan – a goodly loan. If a person knows that what they are giving will soon be replaced, it will be easier for him to spend and give from what Allah has blessed him with. Knowing and believing the last point is also crucial to our mindset when it comes to Sadaqah. We should have full yaqeen that we will not get a penny more or less than what Allah has already written for us. So why worry about your rizq when it was decreed for you 50,000 years before creation?
Someone once asked Hasan al Basri (rahimahullah) about a man whom Allah has given wealth and he gives charity, as he out to, does he have the right to enjoy the delights that his wealth can buy? Al Hasan replied: “No, even if his wealth comprised the entire world, he can only spend from it what suffices for his needs. He should preserve all that for a Day when he will be poor.” [Mukashafatul Qulub, p. 156]
Look at the practical understanding of zuhd we can take away from this powerful reminder, subhanAllah. One of the best ways to soften your heart to make it easier to spend on others is to remember the Day when we will be raised without clothing and be asked to stand for 50,000 years beneath the shade of our sadaqah. We should ask ourselves if what we have given will be enough to last us that long. If not, we hope for Allah’s mercy but this hope should not make us forget about Allah’s la’nah upon those who are stingy and encourage others to be stingy as well. Allah ‘azzawajal tells us in Surah Haqqah that one of the main characteristics of the people of Jahannanum is that they did not encourage others to feed the poor وَلَا يَحُضُّ عَلَىٰ طَعَامِ الْمِسْكِينِ. We learn from a hadith of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) to “Avoid Hell fire even by a part of a date (given in charity).” Today we have an opportunity to feed our brothers and sisters, yet so many are doing very little to avail it.
The wife of Abu Hazim, a tabi’ee, said to him: Winter is coming and we do not have enough food, clothes, or wood.” He said to her, “We can do without all of this, but we cannot avoid death, resurrection, standing before Allah subhanahu wata’ala and either earn Paradise or the Fire”. [Al Ihya, vol. 4, pg. 239]
These are the words of a man who abstained from the world, seeking the pleasure of Allah and His ultimate reward. Realize that the merchandise of Allah is very expensive, the merchandise of Allah is Jannah. Allah tells us repeatedly in the Qur’an that we cannot attain Birr, until we spend from that which we love. Whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, high class or low class, be content with what you have and spend without limit seeking the pleasure of Allah. When we pray, make Hajj, do adhkaar, etc. these are all acts of ‘ibadah that benefit us and Allah loves it when we worship Him alone. But when we show compassion and genuine love for the makhluq of Allah, Allah’s love for us increases exponentially and He provides for us without limit, inshaAllah.
One final thought I’d like to leave you with is to frequently remember and read the Seerah of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the lives of the Sahaba (radhiallahu ‘anhum). Knowing and reflecting upon their trials will help us to honestly ask ourselves where we stand in comparison. They were the best of creation and faced so much in such a short amount of time, and we are nearing the end of time, nearly free of major troubles, yet we still find room to complain. May Allah forgive us.
Some action items:
- Give as much as you possibly can
- Make sincere du’a during the maqbul times. (after adhaan, before iftar, last 3rd of the night, etc.)
- Don’t waste anything
- Publicize the cause
- Be consistent in giving