Giving is fundamental in the Islamic worldview; wealth is not to be hoarded or saved up to an inappropriate amount. Rather it is to be spent and donated freely in the path of Allah so that the individual benefits from the rewards of donating, and the society benefits from the donation itself.
In the Qur’an Allah says:
“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is knowing of it.”
–Surat al Imran [3:92]
Numerous ahadith come in which the Prophet of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon Him) himself speaks on the benefits of charity. One of which are as follows:
Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.
– Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 589
Truly giving charity is an important tenet to our identity as Muslims, and we must donate the best of what we have at our best ability. Our charity may be in any form, whether in the form of money or simple good deed. There are also several types of charities in Islam. They are outlined below.
Referred to simply as Zakat is the alms-giving ordained in the Quran upon all mature individuals. Zakat money must be used to directly assist those in need; a few examples are feeding them, clothing them, sheltering them or education them.
Zakatul Mal due for an individual is calculated by taking 2.5% of his/her total wealth.
Referred to simply as Fitrana is charity given to the poor towards the end of the month of Ramadan, serving two purposes:
1. To complete and purify one’s fasts. The Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said: The fasting of the month of fasting will hanging between Earth and Heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr.
2. To spread joy of Eid ul Fitr by fulfilling the needs of the poor and needy. Zakatul Fitr is a duty which is required on all Muslims young, old, male and female. It must be paid before Eid. The head of the family may pay Zakatul Fitr on behalf of his/her family.
Sadaqa is defined as voluntary charity; including any act of giving that is out of compassion, love, or generosity. Sadaqa is not limited to simply giving money; acts of kindness and generosity that do not include a monetary donation are still considered as Sadaqa, and will be rewarded as such.Giving Sadaqa does not diminish a Muslim’s wealth; rather it increases it by insuring reward in the Hereafter.
Kaffara is the compensation incumbent upon an individual to make amends for any wrong doings they have committed. Kaffara should be made when one deliberately misses or breaks a fast; the amends necessary are either to fast 60 days consecutively or to pay a set amount of money to feed the poor as compensation.
Fidya is the payment necessary for an individual who cannot fast due to illness, old age, or any other reason. Regardless of the validity of the reason one did not fast, Fidya is due on the individual. The price of Fidya is calculated based on food prices where one lives.
Udhiya or Qurbani is the Halal slaughtering of a goat, lamb, cow, or camel. It is performed during the entire year, and especially on Eid ul Adha. All mature men and women who possess the wealth to do so are obligated to offer Qurbani during Eid ul Adha. Individuals or families who are unable to perform the slaughter themselves should donate money for it to be done on their behalf.
Aqeeqa is the act of showing gratitude towards Allah for the blessing of children. This gratitude may be shown by slaughtering animals (such as goats, lamb, sheep, or camel), one for a girl and two for a boy, and distributing and feeding the meat to the community. If parents are unable to perform Aqeeqa themselves, they should donate money for it to be performed on their behalf.