Charity In Ramadhan
The acts of charity and benevolence toward the less fortunate, for the sake of Allah, are highly desired on all occasions, but more so during the blessed month of Ramadan. In the book of Al-Bukhari, Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu anhu) related: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) is the most benevolent among the people. His benevolence increases markedly during the month of Ramadan when the angel Jibreel meets him every night of Ramadan, to rehearse with him the Qur’an. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) was more charitable with his good possessions than the moving winds that bring torrential rain.” Imam Ahmad added to this narration, “And nothing he was asked for but he would give it.” Furthermore, Al-Bayhaqi reported that ‘Aaishah, may Allah be pleased with her, had said, “When Ramadhan would start, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) would release all prisoners of war and fulfill the need of every person who would ask him for something.”
As you may be aware, there are different kinds of charitable acts. There is regular, voluntary charity, (sadaqah), that can be given any time, from inviting others to meals, at iftar time during Ramadan, to outright gifts to an individual or a charitable organization. On the other hand, there is an obligation of Zakaat (obligatory charity), which is the annual return of 2.5 percent that is levied against one’s savings or assets that have matured in the last twelve months.
Although annual calendars for Zakat can be set in any month, many people prefer to give their Zakaat to its rightful owners during Ramadan so as to offer these two obligations of Islam at the same time.
Another purpose of fasting is commiseration with the hungry and deprived of the earth. Privation is without doubt humanity’s constant and greatest affliction. There is no teacher more eloquent or effective than experience. For one to undertake the fast of Ramadan is to be reminded of and to sympathize with the deprived everywhere. To sharpen the lesson, Islam recommends to those who can afford it the voluntary act of feeding a neighbor, especially a poor one, every day of Ramadan, in further emphasis that Ramadan is the month of charity, of altruism, of neighborly love and kindness. It also prescribes, as personal atonement, the feeding of sixty persons for every day of Ramadan on which the fast is broken deliberately in defiance of God, and the feeding of two people (in addition to making up the fast on other days) if the fast is broken for legitimate reasons.
Finally, The zakat al Fitr (charity of fast ending) must be given. Its amount is prescribed as a measure designed to bring the joys of the feast to the poor and hungry as well.
The pursuit of this life and of this world is thereby ennobled and brought closer to righteousness through charity and obedience to Allah.
Generosity and giving are attributes that Allah likes for Muslims to have. Also, Allah is the most Generous and Giving of all. Indeed, Allah’s Generosity multiplies in Ramadhan. Similarly, the Prophet( sallallahu alaiyhi assallam’s) generosity increased in Ramadhan, and indeed he is the man whose personality entails all the attributes mankind seek and vie for.
This increased generosity of the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) in Ramadhan has several reasons and indications that we have to pay attention to, among them are:
1. Ramadhan is an honorable and blessed month, and the rewards for generosity are multiplied in it. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) said, “The best charity is that given in Ramadhan.” [At-Tirmithi].
2. This is a source of help and support, especially the ones fasting. To encourage this, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) said, “He who feeds a fasting person will gain the same reward as he will, without decreasing from the fasting person’s rewards.” [Ahmad].
The fasting person abandons food and drink in Ramadhan. Thus, when he gives others what he is craving for, this sacrifice would generate greater rewards, Allah willing.
3. Ramadhan is the month of giving and mercy, and in it Allah blesses the believers with forgiveness and being saved from Hellfire. Therefore, whoever is merciful and giving in Ramadhan, Allah will be even more Merciful and Giving, and will bestow upon him countless bounties and blessings.
4. Joining between fasting and giving charity leads to entering Paradise, by Allah’s Leave and Blessings. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) said, “In Paradise there are rooms that their inside can be seen from outside and outside can be seen from inside.” He was asked, “For whom are these rooms, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “They are for he who soften his speech, feeds the people, continues to fast, and prays at night while the people are asleep.” [Ahmad].
All these acts take place in Ramadhan, for in it there are fasting, prayer at night, and charity. Also, the fasting person is sternly prohibited from evil and useless speech. Thus, performing all these deeds and attaining such unique bounties can be easily attained during Ramadhan by the fasting person.
5. Charity and fasting are a stronger and more effective barrier that will keep the person away from the Fire. As for fasting, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi assallam) had said, “Fasting is a shield and protection from Hellfire” [Ahmad].
He also said regarding charity, “Charity extinguishes the sin just as water extinguishes the fire. The man’s prayer late at night has the same effect.”
Compiled by Al-Islaah Publications from Sources:
1.The Muslim Creed October 2001 Vol. 9 No. 10( Daar of Islamic Heritage)
2.The Essentials of Ramadan, The Fasting Month by Tajuddin B. Shu?aib