Charity, Charity, Charity. A word that seems to echo throughout the masjid halls during this auspicious month of Ramadan. Words that seem to be snuck into the Friday sermon in an effort to get you when you least expect it, and jolt you into giving (if you’re not already sleeping). During this month it seems as though the charity card is being pulled at every moment. Your inbox reminds you of organizations that you had long forgotten about, dinners where your young girl raised her hand and it ended with you writing a check. You’ve been receiving messages telling you to text a certain number to make a donation of your choice. And just about every night when you are exhausted, and wanting to go home in an effort to prepare for your 9-5, someone stands up at the halfway mark of your taraweeh to remind you that God calls on you to give to those in need.
It’s easy to understand the frustration and how overwhelming it can be. For others it might even be embarrassing and depressing that one is unable to give freely without fearing the repercussions on their finances. There has been a growing disdain for such practices as many feel that they are wrong, or could be done in a better way. I’ve seen far too many upset uncles stand up in the middle of a fundraiser only to tell the organization to speed it up because they want to pray witr. Some organizations like ICNA Relief have set up campaigns (Be the Ansar) for the month of Ramadan for people to donate online to make the process easier, and organizations like LaunchGood continue to set the standard high in the realm of Islamic crowdfunding.
No doubt there are always better ways to facilitate the giving of charity but there are many among us that find it difficult to give, they might be well off but won’t find themselves visiting a website to donate towards a cause, instead someone must come to them, plead to them and remind them of the virtues of giving in this blessed month. Others might be on the verge of poverty themselves and questioning where they will receive the money to give, but because of the words and the reminders of the people of God they find it within themselves to reach deep into their pockets and give whatever they can. “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers” (Quran 51:55).
As someone who has spent their life in charitable work both within and outside of the Muslim community, I have seen the power that the Muslim community has, especially during the month of Ramadan. The capacity to change the world, to build homes for the homeless, to give food to the hungry, to take away the worry of the widow, to give a future to children, God opens the doors of opportunity through many of His servants, through you. Meanwhile He rewards you for doing so. “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of God is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And God multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And God is all-Encompassing and Knowing” (Quran, 2: 261)
Abu Hurairah (God be pleased with him) narrated that The Messenger of God (May God’s peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Seven people will be shaded by God under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His ….[one of them will be] a [person] who gives charity so secretly that their left hand does not know what their right hand has given.” (i.e. nobody knows how much they have given in charity). Agreed upon. (Bulugh Al-Maram)