What is a gift? Well a gift in the English language is both a noun and a verb, its definition as a noun is a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present; its definition as a verb is to give (something) as a gift, especially formally or as a donation (charity) or bequest.
In Islam there is a huge emphasis on charity, one of the five pillars of our faith is Zakat. Zakat means to purify and Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala (SWT) says in the Qur’an; “Take alms out of their riches and thereby cleanse them and bring about their growth (in righteousness) …” (Surah Al – Tawbah 9:103). Zakat is then mentioned over 30 times in the Qur’an which is a clear indication of its importance to Allah SWT. Many people know of Zakat but even until more recently I was unaware of the fact that there are two forms of zakat:
Zakat al-fitr – is given at the end of Ramadan and is required of all Muslims and must be received before the Eid Salah. It’s often paid by the head of the household on behalf of the others in their care.
Zakat al-mal – is based on wealth (saved money, assets etc) zakat al-mal is to be paid when the savings reach the prescribed value, which is equal to 20 mithqals of gold and 200 dirhams of silver.
However, zakat is not the only form of charity that we can give. We also have something called Sadaqah. Sadaqah is a voluntary offering and is not only in the form of monetary items, Abu Musa narrated that the Prophet SAW said, “Every Muslim has to give in sadaqah.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (SAW)! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot do even that?” He replied, “Then he should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith 524).
So, besides money which is whatever amount you would like to give, there are also other ways in which you can benefit from the blessings of Sadaqah without having to put your hand in your pocket:
Dua – praying for someone other than yourself.
Sharing knowledge/advising – educating people in both matters of deen and dunya which will be of benefit to them.
To smile at your fellow brother/sister in Islam.
Offering help – this could be helping people or animals in difficulty e.g. Helping an old woman with her shopping bags.
Time – spending time with your loved ones; parents, children, spouse etc.
Tarbiyyah – nurturing your children with a good upbringing, shaping their character and manners according to the Qur’an and sunnah.
Patience in difficult times.
To encourage good and forbid evil.
To talk softly with others and show respect.
To forgive when you have been wronged – I strongly believe that we cannot expect forgiveness from Allah the most merciful, most kind, if we cannot forgive.
To visit the sick
Move harmful things out of other people’s way.
All these are just examples of some of the good deeds we can do in order to not only help others but to Insha’Allah help ourselves on the day of judgement. As you can see, the beauty of our deen makes blessings from good deeds accessible to all – it’s just down to us to make the changes. Having said that though, it is advisable that if you have the means to give to charity (organisation, family, poor etc) with money then you should. Remember that your rizq (provision) has already been written and giving is never a burden but a means of you to obtain barakah (blessings)
Let me know if you will be implementing any acts of kindness/gift – giving into your daily life.