By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
Charitable expenditure has been highly recommended in the Qur’anic verses and Mutawatir (frequently related) traditions with emphasis on particular occasions like Friday, day of Arafat, month of Ramadhan and for special people like ones neighbours, relatives etc. Sadaqah is the cure for maladies, a deflector of calamities, the cause of sustenance. It increases wealth and protects one from sudden calamities like, accidental death, burning, drowning and madness. It is reported to avert seventy calamities. The result is better depending upon the amount given in Sadaqah. There is no minimum limit either. Even a date can be given as Sadaqah.
2. Hadiya (Gift)
It is a gift which a person gives out of goodwill to increase the bonds of friendship. It can be given either to a poor or a rich believing brother. If one gives it with the sincerity of intention of seeking the nearness of Allah (S.w.T.) it is one of the best forms of worship. Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) has been reported to have said,
“If I give something as a gift to my believing brother, I consider it preferable than giving it in Sadaqah.” (al-Kāfi Vol. 5 page 144)
3. Hosting treats for Believers
Numerous traditions speak of the merits of having believers as guests and of treating them to food and drink etc. It is one of the characteristics of the Prophets (a.s.). Narrations state that seven days had passed and Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) did not have a single guest. He says, amidst sobs, that, “I fear lest the Lord has removed this mercy from me.”
4. Known rights and the rights of those who are deprived
It is an amount that person has fixed for himself which he will spend on the needy and his relatives. It can be every day, every week or every month. Thus, the Almighty says in Qur’an: “And those in whose wealth there is a fixed portion. For him who begs and for him who is denied (good).” (Surah Ma’ārij 70: 24-25)
It is narrated from Imam Mūsa Ibn Ja’far (a.s.) that Bani Israel was a righteous man who had a kind hearted wife. One night this man dreamt that he was told that the Almighty had fixed a particular life span for him. Half of it was to be in prosperity and other half in difficulties. He had the choice of whichever life he desired first and whichever condition he desires to have in the later life. The man requested for some time as he wanted to consult his wife as he had always sought her counsel in important matters. Next day he related the dream to his wife who told him to ask for a prosperous life first. She said, “And hurry up to obtain it. May be Allah (S.w.T.) desires to grant us with His bounties.”
The next night when he was asked in his dream he said that he wished for prosperity in the earlier part of life. He was told that his wish shall be fulfilled. Thus he began to receive all types of bounties and comforts. His wealth and property increased. Then his wife said, “O slave of Allah! Now you help your relatives and other deprived people. Do good to them. Give that particular thing to that neighbour and something to that friend of yours.”
This man followed the advice of his wife and was not stingy in giving his wealth in charity. In this way half the life passed. Again he dreamt of the same person and he was saying, “You were not stingy in charity, therefore the Almighty had decided to grant you prosperity in the later half of your life also.”
5. Haqq al-Hisad
It is the distribution of handful of food grains at the time of harvest before paying Zakat. It is given to passers by. The Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) says, “…and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping.” (Surah al-’An’ām 6: 141)
Since these two types of Sadaqahs have been greatly emphasized in Qur’an and traditions we have mentioned them separately.
6. A Goodly Loan, Qard ul-Hasan
It is a loan given to a needy Muslim. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “It is written on the door of Paradise that there are ten virtues of giving sadaqah and eighteen for giving Qard ul-Hasan.” (al-Kāfi)
Imam (a.s.) also said, “When a believer gives a loan to a believer for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.)’s pleasure, Allah (S.w.T.) considers this loan as Sadaqah till the time it is returned.” (Wafi)
For every moment that he gives respite to the debtor he gets the rewards of the loan as though it were Sadaqah. Because in spite of having the right to demand his money he gives respite. It is as if he had given that amount in Sadaqah, again. Thus he becomes eligible of other recompense of this amount, that is the reward of giving it in Sadaqah.
Apart from this the same Imam (a.s.) has mentioned that “Māūn”(household items) whose neglect is promised punishment by Allah (S.w.T.) in Qur’an is not Zakat. It denotes giving loans to the needy people and giving items of daily use to people for temporary use.
Abu Basīr told Imam (a.s.), “Whenever our neighbours borrow something from us they return it broken and in damaged condition. Would we be sinners if we were to refuse them?”
“If they are such, there is no sin on you,” replied Imam (a.s.).
7. Giving Respite to the Debtor or Condoning the Debt
Regarding those who are unable to repay the debt, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who desires the shade of Allah (S.w.T.) on the day when there shall be no other shade should give respite to his debtors or condone him the debt.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) says, “One who gives respite to the helpless debtor is given the reward by Allah equivalent to the Sadaqah of the whole amount for each day till the debt is repaid to him.”
Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was informed about a person, Abdur Rahmān Ibn Sababa who was claiming his debt from a deceased person. Even though people told him to condone the amount he was not prepared to do so.
Imam (a.s.) said, “Woe be upon him. Doesn’t he know that if he condones it, for each Dirham Allah (S.w.T.) will bestow ten Dirhams and if he does not do so he will get only one for each Dirham claimed.”
8. Donating clothes and Shelter to the Needy
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who clothes his believing brother in a winter or summer dress he has the right upon Allah (S.w.T.) that He clothe him in the raiment of Paradise and grant him safety from the painful experience at the time of death, and when he emerges from his grave in Qiyāma he meets the angels with pleasure.” (al-Kāfi, Vol. 2 page 204)
In the same strain the holy Imam stated, “One who clothes a Muslim beggar to cover his nudity or helps him with something (Shelter, money etc), the Almighty Allah appoints seventy thousand angels that continue to seek forgiveness of each of his sins till Qiyāma.” (al-Kāfi vol. 2 page 205)
9. Protecting the honour and Self Respect
It is the amount given away to protect ones honour and respect. Traditions mention that it is the best form of charity.
10. Continuing Charity
Works of charity like constructing Mosques, madrassas, bridges, sarais, baths or the digging of water springs, publication of religious books are such charitable acts that continue to earn rewards for ages. The person who has performed these acts continues to benefit from them.
The Late Haji Nūri (r.a.) has written in Darus Salām an incident related by the great religious scholar, Shaykh Abdul Husain Teherani. He says that Mirza Nabi Khan a confidant of Muhammad Shah Qajar died. He was well-known for his sinful and wanton deeds.
“One day I dreamt that I was roaming in Paradise with a companion who showed me each and every garden and edifice. He stopped at a place and said, “This is the palace of Mirza Nabi Khan. If you want to see him, he is sitting there.” Saying this he pointed in one direction. I looked with intent and saw that he was sitting alone in a huge hall. When he saw me he gestured me to come up. When I reached him he arose, saluted me and seated me at the head of the assembly. He himself returned to the posture that he had maintained in his life. I was astounded at his position and status. He looked at me and said, “You must be surprised at my condition. Yes I had committed such evil deeds that deserved punishment but I had a salt mine in Talipān. Every year I used to send the income to Najaf al-Ashraf for arranging a Majlis of the Chief of the martyrs (Imam Husain a.s.). The Almighty Allah has rewarded me with this palace.”
The Shaykh says, “I awoke from this mysterious dream and later when I related it in my class, a descendant of Mulla Muti Talipāni testified that it was a true dream. The man indeed owned a salt mine in Talipān and the income which was approximately a 100 Tuman was sent by him to Najaf and utilized for Majlis by father of the person who had testified that the dream was a true dream.” The late Shaykh says, “So far I was unaware that he had any connection with Talipān or paid for majlis in Najaf.”
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Nothing benefits a man after death except the three: A charity that he had performed in the world and it continues after his death, a meritorious practice that he has initiated and people act on it even after his death and a righteous son who supplicates and repents on his behalf (and performs good deeds in his place, as mentioned in other traditions.” (Wafi, al-Kāfi and Tahzīb)