With our occasional donations at different times of the year, we tend to believe that we have performed the obligation of spending on others. Generosity is not a one time act; it’s a person’s lifestyle, a daily habit, a way of life and the ways to achieving this are limitless! It does not only imply spending one’s money for a good cause as that is just a part of it. Generosity is the result of being kind toward others with everything that we have been blessed with; it could be with our wealth, time, advice, expertise or even our smile. It is about sharing it with others with a big heart!
Generosity is of different types:
1) With Wealth:
This includes Zakaah and Sadaqah(charity). Giving out from one’s wealth is immensely highlighted in our beautiful religion, so much that zakaah is one of the five pillars of Islam. According to Islam Q and A, Zakaah is enjoined in Islam on specific things, which are: gold, silver, crops, fruits, trade goods and an’aam livestock, i.e., camels, cattle and sheep. Whereas, sadaqah is not obligatory on any kind of wealth, rather it is what a person can give, without any specific limits or guidelines. Our prophet Mohammed taught us how simple it is for one to enjoin in sadqah in this beautiful hadith:
Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah said :
“Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” 1
SubhanAllah! Even the smallest of actions when performed with a pure intention are considered a form of charity; hence we should make good use of this.
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” 2
2) With Time:
Many a times, we get caught up with work load, it could be due to our school/university deadlines or our demanding jobs and careers. This causes us to isolate ourselves from others in order for us to ‘focus’ on finishing the tasks on hand. Our loved ones get less attention, we become outdated with new events and happenings in their lives and we almost forget that others exist alongside us. Being generous with our time is a fundamental aspect of having healthy relationships. If we don’t even have the time to ask others “how was your day”, then how could we expect our relationships to remain prosperous?
1) Give your loved ones more of your time- the key to doing this is to manage your time well by ensuring time for work and time for family and friends.
2) Volunteering activities- If you don’t know what to do when free, then what could be more honorable than dedicating some of your time to help those who are less fortunate or for community service?
3) With Advice
It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed: “None amongst you believes (truly) until he loves for his brother” – or he said “for his neighbor” – “that which he loves for himself.” (Sahih Muslim)
Therefore, if a friend is going through certain difficulties, our main concern should be to see the smile on their faces by relieving them from their stress or worries.
1) It is a duty upon us to listen to people’s concerns without interruptions and with full attention so that we may be able to give the best advice possible.
2) We have to be sincerely concerned for those who come to confide in us, it would be inconsiderate of us to just give any advice in order to dismiss them as soon as could be.
3) Whatever secret information is disclosed during the conversation must be kept safe and not publicized to the entire world. We have to appreciate people’s privacy and abstain from injuring their feelings and emotions.
1) Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
“The Messenger of Allah commanded us one day to give sadaqah. At that time I had some property. I said: Today I shall surpass AbuBakr if I surpass him any day. I, therefore, brought half my property. The Messenger of Allah asked: What did you leave for your family? I replied: The same amount. AbuBakr brought all that he had with him. The Messenger of Allah asked him: What did you leave for your family? He replied: I left Allah and His Apostle for them. I said: I shall never compete you in anything.” 3
2) One day a beggar knocked on the door of Ayeshaand she was fasting. There was only a piece of bread in the house for Ayeshato break her fast with, yet she insisted for it to be given to the beggar, overlooking her own need. That evening, food was sent to her door and it was better than the piece of bread she had. SubhanAllah!
Without a doubt, the most generous of people to ever walk on earth are the Prophet and the companions. They are our role models because they were generous even in times of hardship and never did they do it for publicity, it was solely for the sake of Allah . We have to revive this aspect of our Islamic identity; therefore, let’s get into the ‘art of giving’ and make it a habit to put a smile on a person’s face, everyday!