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Question of the Day: Charity 21 February 2007

Posted by SA'ILA in Culture, SA'ILA.
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The concept of charity, and of giving charity regularly, is ever present in Islam, with charity encompassing meeting a fellow human being with a smile on one’s face and removing a rock from the road, to donating large amounts of money towards various causes.

In this regard, if you have a certain amount of money that you want to give as charity, is it better to donate it regularly towards one cause, through one or two select organizations you trust? Or is it better to divide and spread your money amongst different causes, different needs that you come across, depending on the need of the hour?

Some may argue that the latter allows for a true capturing of “giving with your right hand without the left hand knowing” – for who tallies the small amounts given here and there? Others may argue that in providing for others in a non-systematic way, Muslims as a community aren’t being effective – for how can small amounts given sporadically to random individuals, causes and organizations help as much as one large donation to an effective charitable organization can?

How should one ideally disburse money they want to give towards charity?

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Comments»

1. Irving - 24 February 2007

Give to all who ask and all who need, to the best of your ability. You don’t have to be rich. There is a hadith on the subject here:

http://darvish.wordpress.com/2006/10/08/acts-of-charity/

Ya Haqq!

2. jordan - 25 February 2007

Salaams,

This is an excellent question. Thank you providing a forum for this to be addressed.

My full answer can be found at my blog: http://seekerofthesacred.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-to-do-with-charity.html

A little excerpt:

This is a very important question, but I think the premise of the question should be more thoroughly examined. The premise seems to imply that “giving with your right hand without the left hand knowing” can only be done, or is primarily done, in a non-systematic fashion and only done according to “the need of the hour.” Is this premise sound? Have the scholars of the Islamic tradition defined liberality and spur-of-the-moment giving as only done on the street somewhere to a passing person in need? Or can it be done at 2 a.m. by someone who at the spur-of-the-moment logs onto a Muslim charity’s Web site to give or writes a check for the local youth center or makes time for the next day to drive someone without transportation to the store? (MORE)

3. talib - 25 February 2007

giving with your right hand such that your left hand doesn’t know about it is certainly a virtue. but the example of some of the prophetic companions would seem to indicate that even if people know that you’re giving, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

4. Irving - 26 February 2007

What I think this means is to give in charity so that you are not vain about it, or use it to puff yourself up over your own virtue. We give indifferently to acknowledge that what we give was first provided to us also by the Great Provider, and we are simply passing on a part of His goodness and mercy to us.

Ya Haqq!


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