ON CHARITY AND GRATITUDE

Allah knows best.

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In my previous article titled ‘The Volunteer Discipline’, I mentioned one of Shaytan’s greatest deception is how he manages to justify the act of not giving. I came across a forwarded text message the other day roughly resembling the following;

Answer honestly with an answer you deem correct.
Allah creates laughter and ____.
Allah causes death and gives ____.
Allah creates man and ____.
Allah gives wealth and ____.

Many of us should be able to answer accurately;

Allah creates laughter and sadness.
Allah causes death and gives life.
Allah creates man and woman.
Did you answer ‘poverty’ for number 4?

The four questions corresponded to Surah An-Najm, verses 43, 44, 45, and 48 respectively. Therefore, the accurate answer for number four would then be sufficiency. The text then mentioned that it is us who create ‘poverty’ and finally ends with a message advising us to cease from whining and instead to count our blessings. Just then, I see an amputee hobbling about with his two crutches to accommodate his lack of leg, I reacted with clutching my own two legs. You never truly value what you have until you lose it. Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah, thank you God, for my mother and my father, for my brothers and my sisters, for the bed I sleep on, the food I eat, the clothes I wear, for the roof above my head, for the water I drink and bathe in, for my sanity, for my intellect, for my limbs, for letting me live to see another day, for Your mercy and forgiveness, for my faith in You, O the Giver and Most Generous.

Brothers and sisters, count your blessings. Do not compare what we have to what other people have, instead compare it to those who have nothing. Say Alhamdulillah.
And when you are satisfied, remember that there is always room for improvement, so do not lie back and view it to be enough. By it, I mean our service to God. Be reminded that not all that Allah gives us is meant solely for us. Verse number 48 states that He suffices, sufficing meaning that what we have collectively is enough for us as a whole.

Consequently, a portion of whatever Allah blesses us with is for the people around us, ‘orang lain’. It is meant to be disseminated to ‘orang lain’ by us. If we are truly grateful for what we have, then we should demonstrate thankfulness by participating in alms whether monetarily or by offering service. One of the seventy (70) major sins a Muslim could commit includes withholding surplus water.

The tafseer of this relates to the fact that during the times of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) water was not yet a full luxury and still scarce, further supported by the fact that they were in the middle of the desert. So, do not deny other people their share of water. Later translations relates this to hoarding one’s wealth and not engaging in sadaqah. The more you give, the more you get. Live by these words and Shaytan’s deception will
prove futile to us.

The Dilemma on Charitable Giving.

Recently, I witnessed an argument between two individuals pertaining charitable giving. Specifically charitable giving to students. One side expressed sympathy to financially challenged students, citing that some come from poor backgrounds and are unable to adequately support themselves therefore, we should lend them a helping hand. The other side communicated disagreement, citing that there are many methods to gain income, ‘hendak seribu daya, tak hendak seribu dalih’, do not give them fish, teach them to fish. Verily, this gets the mind going. The opposition supported his side by saying “if I could do it, why not them?” The government side then, refuted, arguing that times are tough now, due to the inflation which could be traced back to riba’. Another illustration to perhaps clarify the situation here would be feeding the poor. One side would contend that soup kitchens are mostly only feeding drug addicts thus becoming in a way, their enabler (to continue spending money on drugs instead of food). The other side would contest, citing that some people are just truly helpless and unfortunate. Both opinions have truths in them, so what would be the appropriate response? The debate ended by the government side with the argument ‘do not let your deeds be held back by the undeserving class, while the rest of the world continues to starve’.

[Zulaikha, Feb 2016]

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