The Importance of Charity in Islam
Muslims in the UK donate more to charity than any other faith group. In Ramadan alone, we gave over £130 million – and that figure doesn’t include the undocumented charity we likely gave to our mosques and family members abroad.
But this isn’t a surprise to anybody who knows anything about Islam. After all, giving to the less fortunate is a pillar of the religion.
In the Quran, Allah (swt) often mentions charity alongside other acts of worship like salah, which shows just how crucial it is.
Be steadfast in prayer, practice regular charity, and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship) (2:43)
Be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity. (2:110)
But why is charity so important in Islam?
It’s a true test of faith
Giving sadaqah is one way Allah (swt) separates those who are righteous from those who aren’t.
As human beings, it’s natural for us to want to keep good things to ourselves – so when we give to charity, it’s a sign that our iman is winning in the ongoing fight against our self.
This command to give to charity is a test of our faith and a test of our tawakkul.
Indeed, mankind was created anxious: when evil touches him, impatient, and when good touches him, withholding [of it] (70:19-21)
It’s a way to gain Allah’s love
We were created to worship Allah (swt) and to do everything possible to earn His love. Giving to those less fortunate is an easy way to do that.
Although one of the benefits of charity is being able to help others, Islam teaches us that the giver benefits most.
Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love (3:92)When you give to charity, you’re not just giving to other people: you’re giving to Allah (swt). You’re taking the provision He gave you and giving it back to Him in the hope that He will gift you the ultimate gift: His everlasting Mercy.
The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity. (Al-Tirmidhi)
It’s a Sunnah act we should perform
The Messenger Of Allah (saw) was the most generous human in history. We couldn’t compete with his generosity if we tried, but it’s our duty to follow his Sunnah and imitate his giving habits as much as we can.
Jaabir (ra) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) never said “no” to anyone who asked him for something. (Bukhari and Muslim)
But the beauty of charity in Islam is that there are different types of sadaqah.
The Messenger Of Allah (saw) said: “Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity. (Bukhari)
That means even if you can’t give money, there are other acts of charity you can and should do.
There’s also no such thing as giving too little. So again, if you’re unable to give a lot, there’s no need to feel discouraged. Every penny you donate facilitates good and earns you reward.
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 (2:261)
Even if you’re only able to give a small amount, Allah (swt) promises His reward:
And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. (2:272)
But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers. (34:39)
Whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah. For Allah sees well all that you do (2:110)
The Messenger Of Allah (saw) also said:
Every day two angels descend and one of them says, ‘O Allah! Compensate [more] to the person who gives [in charity]’; while the other one says, ‘O Allah! Destroy the one who withholds [charity etc.] (Bukhari)
The reality then, is that every single day we’re alive, Muslims have a moral and religious duty to serve others.