Ramadān: The Month of Generosity


19th Ramadān 1437 AH ~ Friday 24th June 2016

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Spending one’s wealth for the cause of Allāh ta‘ālā is a very important aspect of Dīn and holds great rewards. Allāh ta‘ālā says:

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allāh is like a grain that grows seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains. And Allāh multiplies [the reward further] for whom He wills. Allāh is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (2:261)

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

The servants [of Allāh ta‘ālā] do not rise any morning except that two angels descend. One of them says, ‘O Allāh, give more to the one who spends [in the cause of Allāh ta‘ālā],’ and the other says, ‘O Allāh, bring ruin to the one who withholds.’ (Al-Bukhārī)

Indeed, sadaqah extinguishes the Wrath of Ar-Rabb, and prevents an unpleasant death. (At-Tirmidhī)

Sadaqah does not decrease wealth. (Muslim)

Allāh says, ‘O son of Ādam, spend; I will spend on you.’ (Al-Bukhārī)

The month of Ramadān is a month of generosity. Spending for the cause of Allāhta‘ālā, just like other good deeds, increases greatly in reward during this blessed month. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, who was the most generous of people, was even more generous during the month of Ramadān. Ibn ‘Abbās t says:

The Messenger of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam was the most generous of people, and he was the most generous in the month of Ramadān, when Jibra’īl‘alayhis salām would visit him. He would visit every night in Ramadān and revise the Qur’an with Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Indeed, Rasūlullāhsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam was more generous than the [swift] blowing wind [that brings rain]. (Al-Bukhārī)

We should try our utmost to emulate our beloved Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamby being as generous as possible in this blessed month. The percentage we spend for Allāh ta‘ālā during Ramadān should be greater than the percentage outside of Ramadān. We should spend as much voluntary charity in good causes as we can, at the same time ensuring there is no negligence as far as the obligatory duty of zakāh is concerned.

The consequences of withholding zakāh are indeed severe:

And those who hoard their gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allāh, announce unto them a painful punishment. On the Day when it will be heated in the Fire of Jahannam and with it will be branded their foreheads, their flanks and their backs. [It will be said to them,] ‘This is what you hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what you used to hoard.’ (9:34-35)

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

He who, despite being given wealth by Allāh, does not discharge his zakāh, his wealth will be made into a poisonous, bald-headed snake with two black spots over its eyes. It will coil itself around his neck on the Day of Qiyāmah and then bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth! I am your treasure!’ (Al-Bukhārī)

The following advice should be kept in mind when assessing one’s compliance with the rules of zakāh:

1. Fix a date when zakāh is to be calculated. The date is governed by when an individual reached the nisāb of zakāh and must be according to the Islamic Calendar. It must be a set date and not just estimated, as that would mean leaving the obligation of zakāh unfulfilled. Take the example of someone who calculated his zakāh on the 1st of Ramadān last year. This year he has £10,000 on the 1st Ramadān but the day ends without him calculating his zakāh. The next day, the 2nd Ramadān, he spends £5,000, and then on the 3rd Ramadān he finally sits down and calculates his zakāh. In this example he should have paid zakāh on £10,000, but due to not fixing a date he paid only on £5,000, half of what he owed.

2. Just as it is important to give zakāh at the right time, it is also important to calculate it correctly. Some people give a bit here and a bit there and assume they have given enough, when in fact they have fallen short of their obligation. It is essential therefore to learn from authentic ‘ulamā how to set a date and calculate zakāh properly.

Many people give their zakāh in Ramadān and feel they are gaining all the rewards of generosity that the month promises, but they overlook voluntary spending completely or to a large extent. Zakāh and voluntary spending are separate a‘māl in Islam and each should be given due attention. If we give a portion of zakāh to a project to help orphans, we should give some voluntary charity as well. And just as we should look for the most appropriate and rewarding recipients to give our zakāh to, we should also look for the most rewarding places to spend voluntarily. Indeed, the types of recipients of zakāh are limited, as prescribed by the Sharī‘ah, but the avenues where we can spend voluntarily are numerous.

In the Month of Generosity the rewards of voluntary deeds are elevated to the value of obligatory deeds, so voluntary spending should be a major part of our a‘māl. And not just during Ramadān; during every auspicious occasion e.g. 15th night of Sha‘bān, day of ‘Arafah, Laylat-ul-Qadr etc., spending in the cause of Allāh ta‘ālā should be part and parcel of our extra ‘ibādah. One step further, voluntary spending, within one’s means, should be made a routine throughout the year and should be budgeted for accordingly.

Finally, we should make a special point of spending in the nights of Ramadān. Although every moment of Ramadān is special, there is a particularly special night, Laylat-ul-Qadr, which will greatly multiply the reward for spending. If we spend £10 on Laylat-ul-Qadr, we will be rewarded as if we had made a £10 donation every night for over eighty-three years, for the reward of good deeds on that night is better than a thousand months (83 years and 4 months).

Some ‘ulamā say that Laylat-ul-Qadr occurs in the last ten nights of Ramadān, while others are of the opinion that it can fall on any night of Ramadān. As we do not know which night it will be, we should spend in the cause of Allāh ta‘ālā every night of Ramadān to avoid being deprived of the great rewards.

May Allāh ta‘ālā fill our hearts with true generosity, and may He grant us the tawfīq to follow in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and be even more generous this Ramadān. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 21 No. 6, Jun 2012)


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