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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

5 Ways to Give ‘Physical’ Sadaqah

The verb ‘give’ doesn’t necessarily denote voluntary charity as having to give away money, yet most of us absolve our obligation for charity by spending lots of money during Ramadan to various causes. Though these are all noble acts, what about other lasting charity acts that we can do physically?

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “Every good deed is charity.” (Bukhari)

He also said: "On every person’s joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is sadaqah (charity) due every day when the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah.” [Muslim]

So based on the hadeeth above, here are five ways you can start to give ‘physical’ sadaqah this Ramadan. The list is hardly exhaustive however as you read, ask yourself how you can implement these acts of charity in your daily schedule to increase your good deeds inshaAllah.
1. Always start with a smile

We can never underestimate the wonders behind a smile. The Prophetic teachings tell us that every smile is charity.

So step one is to make sure you smile; often opportunities in the day arise where we can effortlessly smile and spread the salaam, such as when your on the road traveling, going to work, at the mosque, when you pass by a homeless person, when you meet guests or see children (as often it brings a smile to their face too!)

2. Remember Allah frequently

To remember Allah is to give sadaqah with your tongue. The value and weight of dhikr are heavy and outstanding, and is our key to being rich in our relationship with Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’la). In an amazing narration the Prophet advised the one who could not give money to charity, or offer anything from their possessions, to increase in performing dhikr as a better equivalent.

Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’la) says in Surah Al-Baqarah: ‘Remember Me, and I will remember you’ [2:152].

You might wonder where you can start as there are so many adhkars for so many occasions. Here’s a simple step by step process to engrain daily remembrance of Allah in your day to day life:
1. Visit or purchase the Fortress of the Muslim Dua book and learn 2-3 adhkar for 2-3 occasions, e.g. what to say when you wake up, what to say when you sleep and what to say when you put on clothes.
2. Repeat these adhkar on a daily basis initially from the book/website and eventually from your memory. Continue for at least a week.
3. Repeat the above process looking for new duas/occasions for supplications.

Al-Hamdulillah nowadays you can find the Fortress of the Muslim in many bookstores and even phone applications.

3. Remove harm from the pathway

A noble act we often overlook is to remove something harmful from others’ pathway. It may be a piece of glass that is dangerous on the road, a needle on the floor, or a disturbing rock on a busy school road where children may trip and fall.

This simple act can be a means of forgiveness as many Hadeeths narrated the benefit of removing harm from the road. Moreover, this will increase your social alertness and help improve your surroundings/community to make it a pleasant place to be.

4. Say good words

Our tongue can be the cause of our destruction or our salvation, yet we often speak before we think (see 5 Ways to Control your Tongue). Ask yourself if your words will be a source of benefit or comfort to someone? Have you mentioned the name of Allah in your conversation? Good words are like a plant that flourish with many fruits, as the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “It is also charity to utter a good word.” (Bukhari)

You can alleviate someone’s suffering by reminding them to ‘be patient’, to ‘have trust in Allah’ or say ‘Alhamdulillah’/’JazakAllahu khair’. You can share knowledge in a conversation about something new you’ve learnt thus benefiting others. In social psychology great emphasis lies in using optimism when talking to people so if you know of someone in hardship this Ramadan console them and assist them through your goodly words and efforts.

5. Donate your talents/skills/strength

This Ramadan donate your skills/talent/strength to your community:
1. Help setup Iftar places and moving carpets around.
2. Use your computer skills to help local dawah/charity group with administrative work.
3. If you’re good at speeches/dawah, be the ambassador for the Muslim community in dawah events/Ramadan ceremonies.
4. If you fall into the arts and craft category, design cards for Eid, then sell them for a worthy cause. (You’ll probably be starting up a good business without realizing).


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