By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, Muhammad (Peace be upon him), upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have all read articles or listened to lectures, preachings and Friday sermons about sadaqah/charity. It’s an essential part of our faith and rightfully gets much needed attention. But few of us talk about the real life effects of sadaqah/charity.
From the generous sister who greeted me with a kind word on a very dark day to the brother who received sadaqah/charity to pay his electricity bill to keep a life saving medical device running, sadaqah/charity has phenomenal and sweeping effects for those who receive it. But for those who give it, the effects can be even greater.
Respected brothers and sisters, there are so many ways that giving sadaqah/charity benefits the benefactor- too many to list here. But here are just some far-reaching benefits of giving sadaqah/charity that we feel they affect us in this life and the hereafter:
1. Charity Does not Decrease our Wealth
This is an interesting outcome of giving in sadaqah/charity. Most of the time, when we spend money, the laws of mathematical equations, namely subtraction, apply. But with sadaqah/charity, even though there is an immediate negation of overall wealth, there always ends up being an unexpected return or even increase.
My beloved people, have you ever heard of someone who went broke from spending too much money in sadaqah/charity? Surely, there are people who have given a majority of their wealth in sadaqah/charity time and time again, like Abu Bakr, Uthman Bin Affan, or Aisha (May Allah be pleased with them all). But these great benefactors always bounced back. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“There is not a single day in which a servant wakes that two angels come down (from the Heavens). One of them says, ‘O Allah! Give to the one that spends a substitute (for what he has spent). And the other one says, ‘O Allah! Give to the one that withholds (his money) destruction!” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And in the hereafter you can’t bring it with you, as the saying goes. And it is true. We won’t be able to bring our wealth with us to the hereafter and it will not benefit us in the least when we face our Lord for judgment. But what we can bring with us are our good deeds. Allah Almighty promises that giving sadaqah/charity in this life will make us wealthy in the hereafter:
“Believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad Peace be upon him), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allah’s way), theirs will be a great reward.” [Qur’an, 57:7]
2. Charity is the Smartest Investment you will ever Make
When we all do better, we all do better. No one wants to live in a society where there are people living in squalor, reduced to commit crimes just to survive. In this life, when we invest in those who have less than us, we bring our society up and create an environment where social justice and harmony is possible.
This was the effect of sadaqah/charity when the Muhajirin (migrants) left their homes with very little to migrate to Madinah and the Ansar (the helpers) gave them a hand up. Because of this sadaqah/charity, together the Muhajirin and the Ansar were able to establish a successful and prosperous society that we, as an Ummah, feel the effects of to this day. And in the hereafter, the one who gives charity will be rewarded exponentially. Allah Almighty says:
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creature’s needs, All-Knower.” [Qur’an, 2:261]
3. Charity Eases Hardship
No matter how much we have, we, as human beings, tend to focus on what we don’t have and how hard we think we have it. But when we look at those who have less, our hardships seem small and manageable. Giving to those who have less than us can be a good way to get some perspective on our hardships. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Look to those who have less than you, and do not look to those who have more. This is more appropriate so that you do not overlook (or undervalue) the blessings of Allah that you have.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And the Day of Resurrection will be a day when we will be faced with all our deeds and asked to answer for them. If that does not terrify you, you aren’t paying attention. For many of us this will be a massively difficult day. But on that day In Shaa Allah our sadaqah/charity will be a source of relief and ease for us.
4. Charity Expiates Sins
No matter how you slice it, in this life, our reputation is a form of social currency. But the more sins we commit, the more our reputation and honour decreases. However, sadaqah/charity repairs our esteem. Even the most disliked public figures in our modern world redeem some respect when they give sadaqah/charity. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Giving in charity doesn’t decrease your wealth in the slightest, and the person who pardons is not increase except in honour and there is no person who is humble for the sake of Allah, except that Allah will raise his rank.” [Muslim]
And in the hereafter, we all need a little help in this area. We are fallible beings and sin is an inevitable part of our existence, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. But there are many ways to assure that we will be forgiven, sadaqah/charity being a major one. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Charity extinguishes the sins like water extinguishes a fire.” [Ibn Majah]
Dear servants of Allah, giving sadaqah/charity is difficult for many of us because it seems, on the surface level, that we are giving to those who cannot benefit us and that that money will be lost. It may be that those we give sadaqah/charity to may not ever be in a position to return the favour, but remember, our reward does not come from the recipient of our sadaqah/charity. It comes from Allah Almighty and can manifest in many different ways in this life and the next if we have the right intentions (Ikhlas).
Aisha (RA) reported that she asked the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) about pandemics, plagues etc and he said:
“It is a punishment that Allah sends upon whoever He wills, but Allah has made it a mercy for the believers. Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by pandemic or plague, remaining patient and hoping for reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, he will be given the reward of a martyr.” [Bukhari]
From the Hadith above, it is clear that it is not only those who die from the pandemic and plague who will be given the reward of a martyr. You don’t even have to be infected by it. As long as you stay in the land (instead of fleeing the disease and carrying it elsewhere), remaining patient, hoping for Allah’s reward and trusting in Allah’s plan – you will get the reward of a martyr In Shaa Allah.
Allah often tells us not to fear or be distressed in the Qur’an – because as long as we believe and perform good deeds, we will not lose anything. Even if we are isolated or fall victim to this pandemic (may Allah protect us, ameen), as long as we continue to believe and do good, we will not have lost anything. Rather, we will have gained Allah’s pleasure, reward and the incredibly high status of a martyr.
With that in mind, let’s remind ourselves of why we should continue to give sadaqah/charity during this calamity. Let’s not be fearful and worried about our wealth; instead, let us continue to be compassionate, selfless and generous for the sake of Allah.
5. Charity Protects You From Hardship
Charity can protect us from trials and tribulations in this world. During this crisis, we are all reading up on basic health and nutrition tips, NHIS guidelines and, of course, protective Du’as and Qur’anic verses. But we should not forget an essential good deed we can do to protect ourselves – giving sadaqah/charity.
Giving sadaqah/charity does not just include donating money to the needy – although that is a highly rewardable action. It also includes simple acts, like smiling at people or making a loved one a cup of tea – compassionate actions that will surely comfort and please people during this time of insecurity and Covid-19 crisis.
If you want to protect both yourself and vulnerable families from calamity, why not donate to the needy? We are delivering vital food and other essentials to the most vulnerable and isolated families in our center, and we urgently need your support.
6. Charity Increases Your Wealth
Sometimes, we can think of our good deeds as things that will only benefit us in the afterlife. During times of crisis, it is tempting to think ‘It is too difficult to give charity right now – it will only make things harder for me in this life.’ We know it will be beneficial in the afterlife, but we are worried about sustaining ourselves in this life.
It is wise to be cautious during this time of uncertainty. However, it is important to remember that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Charity does not decrease your wealth.” [Muslim]
This is a really important reminder: whatever you spend in the way of Allah will never be a loss. It will never take anything away from what you have. In fact, it will actually increase your wealth.
This is true for both sadaqah/charity and Zakah. In fact, the root word of Zakah in Arabic literally means both ‘purification’ and ‘increase.’ Thus, spending in the way of Allah both purifies your wealth and increases it.
7. You Will Wish You Gave More Charity
Allah the Most High says:
“And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you, and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give sadaqah/charity and be among the righteous.”’ [Qur’an, 63:10]
This Qur’anic verse shows us that we need to prioritise giving sadaqah/charity while we can. Because, when we’re about to die, we will wish that we had a little more time in this world – just so we can give charity.
This is really thought-provoking. Of all the things a person could do if they had more time on earth – praying, asking for forgiveness, spending time with their families, fasting – they will wish they could give sadaqah/charity. This will be their number one priority when they are about to die.
Let’s not wait until it’s too late before we give sadaqah/charity! In this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to live as if today is our last day in this world. Give sadaqah/charity as if it’s the last chance you will ever have to give sadaqah/charity.
8. Allah Will Fulfil Your Needs
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs.” [Bukhari]
Dear brothers and sisters, our instinct could be to withdraw during this time, to take care of our own needs and pull away from being generous towards others. But, the fact is, we don’t take care of our own needs – Allah does.
And while we should be planning well and thinking ahead during this crisis, we should also have faith that Allah will fulfil our needs. We should continue to act for His sake and not succumb to acting selfishly or short-shortsightedly.
Ultimately, by fulfilling the needs of our brothers and sisters in need, Allah will fulfil our needs too.
9. Charity Protects You Even in Your Grave
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Verily, charity will protect people from the heat of the graves.” [Tabarani]
Not only does giving charity benefit you immensely in this world, it also protects you from the punishment of the grave. Moreover, it can actually bring happiness to people in their graves.
Such is the amazing power of giving sadaqah/charity: in this world, it will increase your wealth, fulfil your needs, and protect you from hardship; and when you are in your grave, it will continue to benefit you! It is truly a priceless investment, especially during the time of these insecurity and Covid-19 crisis!
10. Charity Removes Sins
Continuing on the theme of sadaqah/charity benefiting you in the next life – it can also remove your sins, as stated in this Prophetic Hadith:
“Charity extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire.” [Ibn Majah]
This is a powerful analogy because, by extinguishing your sins, giving sadaqah/charity is pulling you further away from hellfire. As the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Save yourselves from the hellfire even by (giving in sadaqah/charity) half a date; and if this is not available, then (save yourselves) by saying a good, pleasant, friendly word.” [Bukhari]
The amount of sadaqah/charity you give can be small as half a date, but if you give it with a sincere intention (Ikhlas), it can still remove your sins and protect you from the Fire. In times of hardship, you don’t have to be extravagantly generous – just give what you can with a pure intention (Ikhlas). Every donation counts, and what means little to you wallahi can mean a world of difference to a family in need.
11. Charity Shades You on the Day of Judgement
So far, we have seen that, in the afterlife, giving sadaqah/charity will protect you in your grave and remove your sins. But it has yet another power: it will shade you on the Day of Judgement, a day when there will be no shelter or rest.
On top of this, every time you give sadaqah/charity which removes someone’s discomfort, Allah will reward you for your compassion by removing one of your discomforts in the next life. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari]
My good people, wallahi there are so many ways you can remove someone’s discomfort! You could give shelter, water, clothes, transport, a livelihood or settling someone medical bill – you have the power to make someone’s life a lot easier with a single click.
During these insecurity and Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic crisis, you can ease a vulnerable family or elderly person’s burden by providing them with food to help them cope.
12. Charity is a Door to Paradise
After protecting you in this world, increasing your wealth, fulfilling your needs, removing your sins, protecting you in your grave and shading you on the day of Judgement, giving sadaqah/charity has not finished benefiting you! It’s other power is to lead you straight into Paradise!
One of the gateways to Paradise (Jannah) is called ‘Babul-Sadaqah’, meaning ‘Door of Charity.’ This means that giving sadaqah/charity is literally a door into Jannah (Paradise); an unmissable opportunity and the best investment you will ever make.
13. It is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)
This means that we should be making an effort to draw closer to Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him) during this crisis. And one way to strengthen this connection is by following his Sunnah of being generous.
He (Peace be upon him) lived simply and gave often, considering all the sadaqah/charity he gave to be a gain rather than a loss.
Aisha (RA) narrated that they had slaughtered a sheep, and after distributing it, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked, ‘What remains of it?’ She said, ‘Nothing remains of it except its shoulder.’ He (Peace be upon him) said, ‘All of it remains except its shoulder.’ [Tirmidhi]
Thus, one of the powers of giving charity is that it helps us follow the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) example, and bringing us closer to him.
14. Charity is Proof of Faith
Giving sadaqah/charity for Allah’s sake, as stated in the Hadith above, is proof of one’s faith. In fact, the Arabic root word of ‘sadaqah’ means ‘to be truthful’ or ‘to believe’ or ‘to attest as true’ – meaning that giving Sadaqah shows the truth of your faith.
Respected servants of Allah, these insecurity and Covid-19 crisis are a test of faith. If they makes us more patient, more generous, more reliant on Allah, more eager to please Him, more compassionate of others – in short, if it improves us and brings us closer to Allah – then it will be a source of mercy and reward for us. However, if our fear and worry make us decrease our good deeds, become selfish and bring us further from Allah, then we will not have gained anything from these crisis.
Now which will you choose? The temptation of hoarding or the power of sadaqah/charity? Fear or faith? Will you choose the power of sadaqah/charity and the way of a believer who has complete trust in Allah’s Plan?
May Allah send His Salah and Salam upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
And all praises and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday sermon) was prepared for delivery today, Friday, Jumadal Ula 17, 1442 AH (January 1st, 2021).