By Anam Lone from @theinspiredaccountant
Every year, Muslims around the world strive to carry out various acts of worship during the holy month of Ramadan. While there are additional prayers and increased reading of the Quran, an important aspect of this holy month is charity. The act of giving charity gives us an opportunity to create balance, equity and kindness in our communities. Personally, I find it to be one of the most rewarding acts. It is empowering as well as an amazing source of satisfaction that makes me feel more grateful for all that I have been blessed with.
Charity is the third of the five fundamental pillars of Islam, and giving charity during the blessed month of Ramadan has great rewards. It allows believers to be mindful of the fact that all of their blessings comes from Allah, and that they should not hoard, but instead share their wealth with those who may be less fortunate. This builds character by teaching compassion and kindness for humanity. The Prophet (pbuh) taught that charitable donations never decrease anyone’s wealth, but rather increase it.
There are two main types of charity:
- Zakat: a mandatory annual donation made by Muslims equal to an amount of 2.5% on surplus wealth. The accumulated wealth may be in the form of cash, investment property including land or stocks, and precious metals such as gold or silver.
- Sadaqah: voluntary donations made throughout the year as well as in Ramadan.
However, the act of charity in Islam is not limited to financial donation. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity.” (Bukhari) This means that Islam recognized charity within the simplest good deeds.
This Ramadan, make time to help out a neighbour, volunteer at your local mosque or community center, and spend some time with an elderly relative that you may not have seen in a while. All of these acts add to the physical and mental well-being of individuals in society. In addition, remember that charity begins at home. The Prophet (pbuh) taught that one should start my giving to his or her dependents.
As with all other practices, the purpose of Ramadan is to teach us lessons that stay with us throughout the upcoming year. This year, take some time to reflect on how you feel when you give charity. Certainly, it will be a feeling that you want to cherish for a long time.
Below are some Islamic Canadian charities that you can donate to this Ramadan:
Hope you all take advantage of the blessed month to carry out acts of charity to the best of your abilities! Ramadan Mubarak!