I was informed of this wonderful initiative by one of my brothers and wanted to highlight it here. Ramadan is a month of charity. Many of us save a lot of money on our grocery bill and entertainment/excursion bills etc., which is then given in charity. The hunger pangs and bouts of thirst we experience by fasting, doing their job of softening the heart so we renew our empathy with the majority of the world’s population still suffering from hunger and thirst. And we thank Allah SWT for this, for had it not been for this strong annual reminder, who knows who heedless/negligent we would be of other’s suffering.
Many Muslims give their ‘zakat’ during this month. Zakat is third pillar of Islam, one of the 5 obligations upon a Muslim. It literally means ‘purification’ and is an obligatory tax Muslims must give to poor Muslims/wayfarers/and a few other categories of people who qualify. 2.5% of a person’s wealth, if he or she meets the threshold to be ‘zakat-able’ must be given. The calculations can get quite complicated. This is due annually and it is up to the person to decide when to pay it. Almost all the Muslims I know, pay it during Ramadan though. One – because the fasting person is beloved to God, and any good deed done during this month is more beloved to God than at other times. And two – perhaps this experiencing of mock-poverty we feel does indeed propel us to give. Allah subhahanawa ta’ala a’lam (=God the most Exalted and High, knows best – we consign the knowledge of our comments whose truths we don’t know, to God most High and say He knows better than we do. So only He knows if my statement is valid or not)
Apart from zakat, any other charity is called sadaqa. Sadaqa comes from a root word that means ‘truth’. Giving charity does free one’s soul to experience truth, as indeed giving zakat ‘purifies’ one’s wealth. Ramadan is a month of exaggerated charity. The prophet, peace be upon him, was the most generous of men. But during Ramadan, his charity people said ‘was like the wind’. Allah elevate and bless him and his beloved family and make all his followers like him!
BTW the prophet peace be upon him, would fast excessively and was almost always hungry. They say people would not see smoke rise out of his chimney for 3 months at a stretch. His diet was mostly bread and dates. Though he loved meat, he (peace be upon him!) would never eat meat and bread together…considering it too much a luxury. But this does not mean, as some Muslims erroneously believe, that he (peace be upon him) was poor. There were periods of poverty, but for the most part he (peace be upon him) ruled a vary large state. His hunger was due to his extreme generosity and due to his frugal habits. In fact in our tradition, poverty – the real kind – is considered an oppression and completely disliked. We must fight to eradicate poverty in the world. But poverty that is voluntary, that is a different matter and may indeed be a safeguard from the traps of materialism. May Allah elevate the soul of our beloved and grant us the supreme felicity of meeting him.
Give30 is a remarkable effort. It’s a very Canadian story. And its a very Muslim story. It’s a Canadian Muslim story 🙂 – the kind I wish the news would cover more. But to be fair, they already have. I wanted to post it up on Canada day, but didn’t make it to do yesterday. However here is our brother who has been inspired by Ramadan, to organize the collection of money he saves by fasting so it may benefit local foodbanks. The blessed prophet said it was best to give charity locally. And though I know most of my Muslim brothers and sisters feel the strong pull to give to international organizations what with the horrendous global suffering contrasted to life in rich nation, still there is plenty of need here. So I hope you will share this initiative and promote it.
Happy Canada day everyone and Ramadan kareem (=May Ramadan be generous for you!)