Significance of Charity

Imam Ridha (p) said, “Give charity even with a small amount because indeed all that is intended for the sake of Allah; although it may be small it becomes great after having an honest intention.” Wasa’il Shia, Vol 1. P 115

From this beautiful narration of the 8th Holy Imam, we see the significance placed on giving charity and helping others who may be in need. We should always have the pure intention of wanting to help others; this is not restricted to the Muslim community alone, rather humanity as a whole.

Often we may have the desire to give and to help a noble charitable cause, but then a doubt arises within ourselves that overpowers us. This doubt ends up preventing us from carrying out the charitable deed we intended. What is this doubt? Often, it is a feeling of being ashamed that we do not have a sufficient amount to contribute and that our small amount of charity will not make a difference. Or we may feel embarrassed to donate a dollar, for example, knowing that a fundraiser is for something that requires a significant amount of money, such as building a hospital or a school. We may wonder what our dollar is going to do. Why should we give anything at all if it isn’t going to have an impact? We start to wonder; will people frown at us or look down on us for giving this small amount of money?

We see, however, from the above saying of Imam Ali al-Ridha (p) God will magnify any amount of charity, no matter how small it may seem, if it is done with a pure, sincere, and righteous intention. Another thing to consider is that, although we may feel that our one dollar contribution is insignificant, what if there are a hundred thousand people out there with that same doubt? That is one hundred thousand dollars that could have been accumulated through each person giving just one dollar each.

God’s Offer

God says in the Holy Quran 57:11: “Whoever gives a virtuous loan to God will receive double from Him in addition to an honorable reward.”

God is promising us that if we give in His cause it will be as if we are giving a loan to Him and He will return it to us multiplied.  We should take advantage of this generous offer that God is setting forth to us and give in charity to help others around us who may be in need. There are many noble organizations which are doing amazing things in the community that we can help support, even if it is with a small amount. One such organization is My Orphans, which not only helps orphaned youth in war torn countries but also right here in the United States.

We learn from Imam Ridha (p) that it may seem like a small amount in the eyes of people, yet it would count as being great in the sight of God.

Let us take a look around at the country, state and even the neighborhood that we live in and see how we can help. Are there people that need food, clothing, or shelter? The answer is obviously yes. So how can we help these individuals? Research some good organizations that are helping the less fortunate and contribute to them. If there are no organizations in your area doing this, then maybe you can gather some individuals to do a food drive, a clothing drive or even a coat drive for the cold winter months.  For more ideas on ways you can help, read our blog on ‘How to Alleviate Hunger in our Community’.

Other Forms of Charity

Another type of poverty is lacking the knowledge of one’s Imam (p). A great cause is to spend one’s wealth in helping to propagate the message of Islam as taught to us by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (p) and his purified household (p). We can donate towards helping T.V. stations which are disseminating the message of Islam. We can also aid in propagation by giving books to others who would be interested in Islam or donating to organizations that are sending books to people who are writing to them. Some people may want to learn about Islam and write to these organizations looking for materials, and it would be good to help these organizations to have books ready to send. We can help organizations that are holding enlightening conferences about Islam. We can help sponsor programs for the community such as interfaith programs to help promote dialogue and a better understanding of one another. Another thing we can do is to help sponsor community cook-outs in public parks. These cook-outs may draw others to come grab a bite to eat and leave with a better understanding of Islam and a good experience with the Muslim community.

All of these methods and many more are great ways to serve our Imams’ (p) mission. Let us not let doubt hold us back from making a difference in this world, and let us know and trust that God has something great in store for us when we spend in His way.

Interested in doing more for your community? Click here to volunteer for I.M.A.M.










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