Charity in Islam comes in three forms; Zakat, Khums and Sadaqa. The first two are compulsory donations of one’s wealth to charity while the latter is not obligatory and is done as an act of kindness.
As we raise a new generation of Muslims, it is important to teach them the importance of giving to charity.
Here are 5 reasons why we should continue to encourage and teach children about charity.
1. Large Rewards
As Muslims, we try to do as much good in this world in order to help us in the afterlife. Allah (swt) mentions several times that those who donate to charity shall have many rewards, as well as forgiveness for our sins.
“Those who spend their wealth [in Allah ‘s way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly – they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Quran, 2:274]
2. Creates a Balance in Society
As we witness the injustices that are occurring today which are leaving millions of people in poverty, it is important that those who have the means, donate towards the poor. This can help create a balance between the rich and the poor and prevent the rich from becoming richer.
Imam Ali (as) lived life very simply because he used to donate all his earnings to charity on his way home after a day of work. We can follow Imam Ali (as)’s steps and donate what we can to those who are more in need and help remove the large imbalance of wealth in society.
3. Prevents Greed
As we are taught to strive towards money and success, we can become greedy and start to hold onto all the wealth that we earn. By donating towards charity, we can let go of materialistic things aspects of life.
The act of donating materialistic items is reflected when Sayida Fatima Al-Zahraa (sa) gave away her wedding dress to a poor person. When Prophet Muhammad (sawa) asked why she was wearing her old dress, she responded quoted the Quran saying; ‘You will not achieve piety until you give what you love the most‘(3:92)”. Therefore it is important to give to charity as it helps an individual become selfless.
4. Helps to Strengthen Faith
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) narrates: “Three things help a man after his death and there are: a charity given by him, a good habit he taught to others and a good offspring he leaves behind, how prays for his forgiveness” (Al Bihar, 6:294).
When donating towards charity, it can help strengthen our faith and remind us of the important aspects of life and the afterlife in Islam. As seen with the example of Prophet Ibrahim (as) from last week’s post, he was willing to give up his own son for the sake of Allah (swt). Donations towards charity can help those in need, while also helping us become closer towards Allah (swt).
5. Helps Protect a Person from Harm
When we donate to charity, not only does it reamplify our faith in Allah (swt), but it can also protect us from disasters or hardships. Giving charity in times of hardship can show our gratitude towards Allah (swt), and in return can give grant us protection and mercy from harm in life and on the day of judgment.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) narrates; “An act of charity given openly prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a secretly given charity cools the anger of our Lord Allah (swt)” (Al Bihar, 62:269).
Therefore, the act of giving towards charity should be taught to our children as it can help strengthen their faith, become better Muslims and help those living in poverty.