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Charity Begins At Home

by | Jan 30, 2013

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Today I am a CEO of one of leading NGOs of my country. Having a very successful life. Giving a final touch to my preparation I looked at myself in mirror. Meanwhile my servant told me some relative is here to meet me, “ Oh these poor relatives, always there to disturb me” I said. “Just tell them I have to go in a meeting, they can come sometime later may be”. Saying this I leaved my room for main gate, but before I could reach the exit, one of my relative caught me in the way.

And like always, he started telling a long list of his pathetic problems. This time he needed money for a surgical operation of his daughter. “ I’ll surely see what I can do for you, but now I have to go for a very important meeting of my NGO”. “But my daughter is in emergency, doctor says she needs operation within 24-48 hours ! please help us! ”.


But I went out without paying any more attention to them. After all, I had international delegates to meet with me. And if I had started spending my time in listening to never ending lists of their problems, I would have missed a huge amount of funds for my organization. This group of delegates decided to visit us after watching documentary about our recent charity work in orphanage.

That event was really successful, a complete and brilliant media coverage. There was a great boost in our popularity after that mega event due to its media coverage. And a lot of organizations showed interest in collaboration with us, this meeting was one of the most important link of the chain.
And the meeting went successful. We managed to convince the other party for huge amount of donation every month. After a very busy and successful day, I headed towards home. And to my surprise, that poor relative of mine was again standing near gate. But this time his face was more dull and sad then before.  When I inquired about his arrival, he told me with watery eyes,” sir! I need some amount of money for funeral of my daughter”. This time he didn’t need money for her operation, because, the girl was dead!

Take Care of your Relatives:

We are often careless and over look things. We look clearly the things at distance but things present at inches from us are neglected. We are busy doing charity work in orphanage, old houses etc. But our own relatives are over looked often. Some times by will, because we need fame etc. in return of donation and sometimes unintentionally, because we never bother to know about our relatives’ conditions. We often are not much interested in our interpersonal relations with our near and dear ones. That is why some times we are looking a person for donation. But we don’t find a deserving one and then we either do not give donation or give it to some organization, while our relatives remain poor.

Charity in Islam:

Islam orders us to give donations in priority to our close ones or relatives. As they are the most deserving ones to be helped. There are several evidences in Quran and hadith about preferring relatives over others in matter of giving alms because charity begins at home.

According to Ahadeeth:

A Sahih Bukhari hadith as narrated by Sad: The Prophet (Pbuh) visited me at Makkah while I was ill. I said (to him),

“I have property; May I bequeath all my property in Allah’s Cause?” He said, “No.” I said, “Half of it?”, “No.” than I said, “One third of it?”, “One-third (is alright), yet it is still too much, for you’d better leave your inheritors wealthy than leave them poor, begging of others. Whatever you spend will be considered a Sadaqa for you, even the mouthful of food you put in the mouth of your wife”.

Rights of family:

Thus, the Prophet taught us to take care of our family members first as they have rights over our wealth and time.

‘When one of you is poor, he starts with himself. If anything is left, he spends it on his dependents. If anything is (still left) then on his relatives, and then, if more is left, he spends it here and there.’ (Prophet of Allah (SAS) related from Jabir.)

Often scholars have agreement that one’s brothers, sisters, paternal uncles and aunts, and maternal uncles and aunts may receive zakah or sadqa if they are eligible. Their opinion is based on the hadith which says:

“Sadaqah for the poor is rewarded as one sadaqah, but in the case of a relative it is considered as two: [one reward for] blood tieand [the other reward for] the sadaqah [itself].”

This is related byAhmad, an-Nasa’i, and at-Tirmizhi. The latter grades it hassan.

All these evidences make us assure that charity begins at home. While giving zakat or sadqa , do inquire about your relatives. May be some one of them is in intense need of help but may be not asking for help. As it says that actual deserving people never demand for help , you have to recognize them by their faces ( conditions, circumstances etc).

Prefer the Relatives:

In the end , summing up the whole thing, it is important to prefer a relative over another person in case of charity begins, provided that both are equally needy. And to give not just your money, but also your time and your sincere concern as well. He (peace be upon him) said

that even if you have no money to give, simply doing the good and refraining from the evil can be considered a form of charity.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

May ALLAH subhana hu wa ta’ala allow us to fulfill our duties and maintain our relations in best form. May he make us able to donate in HIS way and may he accepts our donations. Ameen.

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