Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kindness and Generosity

Sheikh Abu Bakar Jabir al-Jaza'iri, Minhaj al Muslim

Kindness and Generosity is indeed the teaching of Islam and it a characteristic of the Muslim. And kindness is one of distinct Muslim disposition. The Muslim is not parsimonious and stingy, for these are two reprehensible traits whose presence spoils the soul and darkens the heart. It is one of the righteous deeds would purify and radiate the heart, so being stingy and miserly negates the purity of the soul, and the light of the heart.

A Muslim is not miserly or stingy. Stinginess is an illness of the heart that no human being is safe from except for the Muslim, with his faith and righteous deeds, like Zakah and prayer, by which Allah will protect him from the evil of this sickness, preparing him for success in this life and the Hereafter.

Allah the Almighty says:

"Verily man was created very impatient; irritable (discontented) when evil touches him. And stingy when good touches him. Except those who are devoted to prayers. Those who remain constant in their prayers; and those in whose wealth there is a recognized right. For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth (and his means of living has been straitened)." (70:19-25)

"Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them." (9:103)

"And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful." (59:9)

Since noble characteristics are acquired through different types of exercise and training, so the Muslim works to develop virtuous traits according to what the wise Syari'ah encourages and warns against. Nurturing generosity in his soul will keep his heart on the right track. Allah the Almighty says:

"And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you before death comes to one of you, and he says: 'My Lord! If only you would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Zakah of my wealth, and be among the righteous.' “(63:10)

"As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him. And testifies to the Best. We will make smooth for him the path of ease (bliss or goodness). But he who is a greedy miser, and thinks himself self-sufficient. And belies to the Best. We will make smooth for him the path for evil. And what will his wealth avail him when he goes down (in destruction)? "(92:5-11).

"And what is the matter with you that you spend not in the cause of Allah? And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth."(57:10)

"And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged." (2:272)

Allah's Messenger SAW said:

"Verily Allah is Generous and loves generosity. He loves noble character and He hates disgraceful behavior." (Recorded by At-Tabarani, Al-Bayhaqi, and A!-Hakim. Az-Zayn Al-'Iraqi said its chain is Sahih, see Al-Ihya' 3:239)

"There should be no envy except it the case of two: A man whom Allah gives wealth, so he is able to spend it on the truth, and a man whom Allah gives wisdom so he judges and teaches with it. (Related by al-Bukhari)

"Which of you loves the wealth of his heir more than his own wealth" The Companions said: "O Allah's Messenger! There is none of us but loves his own wealth more." He SAW said: "His wealth is that which he has sent forward, but that which he retains, belongs to his heir" (Al-Bukhari)

"Protect yourself from Hell-fire even with a piece of a date." (Al-Bukhari)

"There is no day that dawns upon the servants but two angels descend during it. One of them says, 'O Allah! Give to the person who gives (in charity)'; while the other one says, 'O Allah'. Destroy the one who withholds (charity, etc.)." (Al-Bukhari)

"Beware of stinginess! It was being stingy that destroyed those before you. It incited them to shed blood and make lawful what was prohibited for them." (Muslim)

Allah's Messenger SAW slaughtered a sheep and distributed major portions of its meat. Then he asked: "Is there anything left?" 'A'ishah replied, "Nothing, except the shank." Thereupon he SAW said: "All of it is left except the shank." Allah's Messenger SAW; said:

"If a person gives in charity the value of even a date out of his honest earnings - Allah accepts only that which is pure - Allah accepts it with His Right Hand and fosters it for him, as one of you fosters the colt, till it becomes like a mountain." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Manifestations of Generosity

1. A person giving charity should not render it vain by reminders of his generosity or by injury.

2. The giver should be cheerful when asked and when giving.

3. He should spend without being neither stingy nor irresponsible.

4. Whether giving abundance from his riches, or a small amount of one's meager means, one should give with complete satisfaction, a cheerful face and nice speech.

Generosity of Prophet’s Companions

1. It is narrated that Mu'awiyah sent 180,000 dirhams to 'Aishah. She started distributing it among the people, while in the evening she told her female-servant to bring her food to break her fast. She (servant) brought her bread and olive oil. She said to her ('Aishah): "Had you allocated one dirham out of the amount that you gave in charity today, we could have bought meat for our breakfast." She replied: "If you had reminded me, I would have done it."

2. It is narrated that 'Abdullah bin 'Amir purchased a house from Khalid bin 'Uqbah bin Mu'it in the market of Makkah for 70,000 dirhams. At night, he heard weeping from the household of Khalid. When he inquired about that, he learned that they were crying because of their house. He called his servant and instructed him to convey to them the message that both the house that they sold and the dirhams that he paid were theirs.

3. It is narrated that Imam Ash-Shafi'i became ill and rested in his deathbed. He had decreed by will that so-and-so should bathe his body. When he died, they called the person instructed to bathe him. When he arrived he demanded some record of Imam Ash-Shafi'e. Upon going through its contents, he found that Imam Ash-Shafi'i had a debt of 70,000 dirhams. The man decided that he himself would repay it on his behalf He said, "This is what Imam Ash-Shafi'ie meant by assigning me to bathe him in his will.’” Then he left.

4. It is narrated that when Allah's Messenger SAW prepared for the battle against the Romans, the Muslims were facing hardships and difficulties in terms of finance and arms for war. Even the army of the Prophet SAW came be known as "The Army in Difficulty." Thereupon, 'Uthman bin 'Affan began donating 10,000 dinars, 300 camels, including their saddles and saddle blankets, and 50 horses. From this charity, half of the army was fully equipped.


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