Despite scepticism, focus on whether your charity is recognised and accepted by Allah.
SOME Muslims in this country may harbour scepticism about whether charity given to organisations mandated to manage funds is distributed to the appropriate target group.
There are also cases where many ordinary Muslims feel that their small acts of charity are not wanted, since charity bodies have already received huge funds from philanthropies, large corporations or the Government.
They may feel that these organisations do not need individual funds anymore, and instead, will proceed to give to the target groups themselves.
No matter what the givers think or feel about how their funds should be managed and how small their act of charity is, the most important thing is whether one’s charity is recognised and accepted by Allah, and whether one deserves the reward promised by Him for one’s charitable deed.
Allah has provided us with guiding principles in the Quran on how we should conduct our acts of charity.
Allah has promised enormous rewards to those who give charity, in chapter 2, verse 261 of the Quran: “The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it growth seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases: And Allah cares for all and He knows all things.” (Quran, 2:261)
In another verse, Allah has promoted charity as equally important as establishing obligatory prayer and promised that those who give to charity will be protected from fear and grief. This is mentioned in chapter 2, verse 277: “Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran, 2:277)
In order to receive rewards from Allah the Almighty, one must observe the guiding principles of charity outlined in the Quran.
When one gives to charity, one should neither be boastful about his generosity, nor hurt the feeling of the recipients, for Allah already knows what we have done, and the reward is expected from Him alone, not from anyone else, including those we have helped.
One should always be guided by these words of Allah: “Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allah, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran, 2:262)
Allah also emphasises using kind words to those who are underprivileged: “Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is free of all wants, and He is Most-Forbearing.” (Quran, 2:263)
The word “injury” may mean the attempt to hurt the feeling of the recipients by using intimidating words. It is mentioned in the Quran that whatever charitable deeds we do, no matter how huge the sum is, will be nullified in the eyes of Allah if we insist on being praised and rewarded.
One must heed this principle in the Quran: “O ye who believe! cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. They are in parable like a hard, barren rock, on which is a little soil: on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with aught they have earned. And Allah guides not those who reject faith.” (Quran, 2:264)
Although it is not wrong to disclose one’s charity, it is even better for one to conceal one’s good deed: “If ye disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if ye conceal them, and make them reach those (really) in need, that is best for you: It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil. And Allah is well acquainted with what ye do.” (Quran, 2:271)
Whether we disclose or conceal our charity, both are accorded with reward, for Allah loves those who give charity.
Allah says: “Those who spend in charity of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran, 2:274)
A person who wants to seek the pleasure of Allah can do this one wonderful thing: converting the debt extended to his Muslim brother or sister who is in need into a charity.
This is a challenging act, and not many people are capable of doing this, unless they have a higher degree of piety.
This is a deed enjoined by Allah, and mentioned in the Quran: “If the debtor is in a difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.” (Quran, 2:280)
When spending in the cause of charity, one should not be sceptical about whether the mandated organisations are distributing the funds to the targeted group.
It is imperative to observe first whether one’s charitable act is in accordance with the guiding principles set out in the Quran. What is more important is for our charity to be recognised by Allah, and be rewarded as He pleases.
Scepticism towards mandated organisations may stem from integrity and transparency issues. Man and woman are by no means perfect, nor are any organisations for that matter.
Therefore, the mandated organisations should always improve themselves, and should all the time uphold the trust of the people. This is imperative as there are always challenges to overcome when we aspire to do charitable deeds, particularly challenges from the Evil One.
For Allah has warned us: “The Evil One threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounties. And Allah cares for all and He knows all things.” (Quran, 2:268)