Ramadan is a blessed month, it is a time for self-contemplation, spiritual gains and reconnecting with the Almighty. Muslims worldwide try to make the most of this month by taking part in regular and congregational prayers, reading the Quran, forgiving people, being kind to others and giving charity, i.e. Zakat.
Generosity & Giving Are Attributes That Allah Likes For Muslims To Have. Ramadan is a particular time of year. A time when Muslims worldwide take a step back from their daily routines and focus on Community, Donating to Charity, Fasting, Prayer & Worship in Ramadan.
What is Obligatory Charity (Zakat)?
Obligatory Charity means Zakat is a necessary part of completing a Muslim individual’s faith as it is the third pillar of Islam. Zakat means charity or welfare contribution to the poor and needy.
For every sane and mature Muslim who has an economic activity leading to a net increase in their wealth, Zakat payment is mandatory. Cleansing one’s wealth by contributing 2.5% of assets and income to the poor is an essential aspect of worship in Islam.
What is the Importance of Charity?
Charity or Zakat has great importance in Islam. In the Quran, Allah Almighty orders His believers to give Charity.
وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱرْكَعُوا۟ مَعَ ٱلرَّٰكِعِينَ
And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].
وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَٰقَ بَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ لَا تَعْبُدُونَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهَ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينِ وَقُولُوا۟ لِلنَّاسِ حُسْنًا وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنكُمْ وَأَنتُم مُّعْرِضُونَ
And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allāh; and to parents the best [treatment] and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words], establish prayer, and give zakāh.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, refusing.
How does Allah Define the Poor and Needy in Qur’an and Sunnah?
In the Qur’an, Allah mentions the poor (fuqaha) and then the needy (masakeen) when He details the deserving recipients of the Obligatory Charity, Zakah:
إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
“Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah]. And for bringing hearts together [for Islam]. And for freeing captives [or enslaved people] and those in debt and the cause of Allah and the [stranded] traveller. An obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Surah At-Tawbah 9:60]
Here are some ideas of what you can do this month to help those around you, including donating charity to the needy and poor.
How to Reach out to those around you?
Is there a family in your neighbourhood that you haven’t seen in a while? A student in a strange new city? A new Muslim who is fasting for the first time? An elderly couple who can’t get to the mosque? Why not take a few minutes to make a phone call, drop in for a visit, or invite someone to Iftar (dinner to break the daily fast). Even the smallest gesture of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
What is the reward or benefits of Charity?
All around the world, and even in your backyard. Some people are suffering from illness, hunger, or desperation.
ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُم بِٱلَّيْلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Those who spend their wealth [in Allah’s way] secretly and publicly by night and day. They will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.”
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:274]
لَن تَنَالُوا۟ ٱلْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِن شَىْءٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah knows of it.”
[Surah Al-Imran 3:92]
Donate Charity- Zakah in Ramadan: Best Way For Investing in Ramadan
Giving Zakat in Ramadan (Obligatory Charity) money to someone who is not getting by and living hand-to-mouth on an insufficient income is highly praiseworthy. Many a time, our family has personally handed over wads of Zakat money to extremely needy people on the streets and has felt the true joy of giving, witnessing their faces and eyes lighting up with almost delighted joy upon unexpectedly receiving the money.
However, the wisdom from the Prophet’s Sunnah dictates more prudence. After all, We do not know if the poor person will dispense the money wisely or foolishly. It is, therefore, more advisable to help the needy by providing them with a permanent and easy means of livelihood than to hand over some cash that will alleviate their poverty in the short term.
Anas ibn Malik narrated:
A man from the helpers came to ask Prophet Muhammad for Zakat. The Prophet asked about what he had at home, and the man said that he had some fabric they used to wear sometimes and other times to sit on. He instructed him to bring it over. Then he asked if any of his companions would like to purchase the fabric.
A man offered to buy it for one coin. He asked for a higher price until a man offered two coins. The Prophet took the money and gave it to the poor man. He told him to buy food for his family with one coin and to use the other to buy an axe-head and bring it back to him. The Prophet then tied a hand to the axe-head and asked the man to use it in cutting wood, then selling it. And so the man went to cut wood and began to sell it. He collected ten coins which he used for food and clothes.
The Prophet said to the man:
“This is better than asking for Zakat, which you will be asked about on the Day of Judgment. Asking for charity is permissible for only three cases: extreme poverty, paying off a large fine, or paying blood money in case of killing someone by mistake.” [Abu Dawud]
What is the significance of Gifting in Ramadan?
Ramadan is the month of giving, and while charity and donations to the poor come first, it is also a good idea to give gifts to family and friends. Many historical accounts of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) exchanging gifts with near and dear ones.
One of the most common gifts that were given as food, and therefore it has become a strong tradition in Muslim culture.