In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
All praise be to Allah, and may peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers
While reading the first few hadiths in an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, I couldn’t help but notice the theme of charity. While paying zakat may be one of the ‘pillars’ of Islam, there are countless other non-monetary ways to please Allah, while helping others at the same time. This tarbiya draws heavily from the Nawawi compilation but inshaAllah y’all benefit from it.
Charitable actions first begin with intent. Hadith Bukhari and Muslim narrate, “[a]ctions are but by intention, and every man shall have but that which he intended.” Purifying the intention involves de-prioritizing the favor of the people around you and prioritizing an act for the sake of Allah.
In surah 4:38 we are told that “those who spend their property (in alms) to be seen of the people” are associates of Shaitan. Charitable deeds should not be done to show off or gain character recognition: first and foremost they should be to please Allah. As surah 2:265 tells us that “the parable of those who spend their property to seek the pleasure of Allah and for the certainty of their souls is as the parable of a garden on an elevated ground, upon which heavy rain falls so it brings forth its fruit twofold but if heavy rain does not fall upon it, then light rain is sufficient; and Allah sees what you do.” subhanAllah what an allegory.
Intention also includes ensuring an act’s ‘halalness.’ The money we spend should not be in excess, should not involve usury, should not go toward things which Allah has told us to stay away from. Other kinds of charity not involving wealth include putting aside our pride and clearing a walk way so other people may not trip on litter. They include the well-known act of smiling, especially at strangers. They also include giving good advice to people in need, and refraining from hurting people to prove a point. Charity extends further than this; it is applicable to animals and the rest of Allah’s creations. Another hadith Muslim tells us that it is better to ‘spare suffering to the animals he slaughters.’ The same hadith sums it up best: “Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan in all things.”
When you are not near other people, Allah still makes it easy for us to please him. “Truly every (utterance of) ‘SubhanAllah’, every ‘Allahu akbar,’ every ‘alhamdulillah’ every ‘La ilaha illa’llah’ is a charity. To forbid an evil action is a charity…” relates a hadith Muslim on the authority of Abu Dharr.
It is not every day we get the opportunity to help a widow, help an orphan or feed the poor, which are obvious good deeds. But we have countless other things to benefit from, and these actions furthermore keep us away from the haraam. On the authority of Abu Huraira, the Messenger (pbuh) said, “each person’s every joint must perform a charity every day the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto ir or hoisting up his belongings is a charity; a good word is a charity; and the removing of a harmful thing from the road is a charity.”
With Ramadan coming up around the corner, we should get into the habit of these simple good deeds to benefit even more from them. With every action you can increase your taqwa and as well as your righteousness.