Recall what happens on a very windy day. Branches sway to and fro and the clothes on the line keep flying away. The wind blows everything that comes across its way; nothing can defeat its strength and resolve.
The cousin of the Prophet , Ibn Abbas , likened his generosity in Ramadan to the strong and ferocious wind. He narrated:
The Prophet was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become even more generous in Ramadan when Jibrael met him. Jibrael used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Quran with him. Allah’s Messenger then used to be more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind. 1
A generous person is not a wasteful person. A wasteful person spends extravagantly in places where it is not needed while a generous person spends his money in beneficial and needed causes. The opposite of generosity is stinginess and withholding, about which Muhammad once said,
“Stinginess and faith can never be combined in a slave’s heart.” 2
While we are all eager to make our Ramadan productive, let’s learn one of the aspects with which the beloved Prophet made his Ramadan special; generosity. Ibn Qayyim describes the generosity of Muhammad as follows:
Nobody would ask him for anything except that he gave it to them, regardless of how big or small it was. He gave things away in a way that made it seem that he never feared poverty, and generosity and charity were the most beloved things to him. His happiness and joy in giving something away was more than that felt by those who would accept his gifts. He was the most generous person, and his generosity was like the blowing wind.
If a person in need would approach him, he would always prefer that person to himself. This was sometimes in the form of food, and was sometimes in the form of clothing.” 3
How can we inculcate this habit in our lives during and after Ramadan? What practical ways of being generous can we adopt?
1. Be generous at the heart: Do not let stinginess overcome you. Let the verses of Quran and ahadith encourage you to spend generously in the way of Allah and keep the goal of the betterment of the hereafter in your mind. Allah says in the Quran:
“And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful.” 4
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحَزَنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ
“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from sadness, grief, helplessness, laziness, being stingy, overwhelming debt, and the overpowering of men.” 5
2. Be generous with your wealth: Our wealth is not really ours. It is a trust from Allah and we must be careful about how we spend it. Be extra generous in Ramadan and do not withhold from causes that benefit, be it feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and helpless or spending for causes that help spread the Deen and uphold its values. Spending for the sake of Allah comes with great rewards and promises. Prophet Muhammad informed us:
“Every day, servants (of Allah) get up in the morning and are visited by two angels. One of them says: O Allah! Give more to the one who spends (for the sake of Allah); the other says: O Allah! Bring destruction to the one who withholds.” 6
“Whoever provides the food for a fasting person to break his fast with, then for him is the same reward as his (the fasting person’s), without anything being diminished from the reward of the fasting person.” 7
Allocate a portion of your money to spend on each day in Ramadan, even if you have little, share it with others who are needy.
3. Be generous through kindness: In Ramadan, we are prone to grouchiness and irritability, ruining our mood and also that of others. Instead be patient and exercise kindness. Be generous in offering a kind hand to someone, carry someone’s load, help someone by shedding their burden of work and be easy on those under you.
Also be generous with smiles and compliments; make someone’s day with a loving remark.
4. Be generous by spreading the Deen: When Allah blesses you with an understanding of the Deen, be generous in sharing it with others. This is not just a recommendation, rather a responsibility. Give a few minutes of your time each day in Ramadan to teach someone according to your abilities. It could be teaching someone the basics of the Deen, or telling stories about the Prophets and Sahaba to your children, or by teaching the meaning of the Quran to those in your neighbourhood.
“”By Allah, if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels.” 8
So, think about all the ways you can be generous this Ramadan and let generosity reach its peak, following the example of our beloved Prophet . May Allah unite us with him in the afterlife. Ameen! You can DONATE to IOU here!