How to Give Alms
Whenever Imam Zeinul Abideen (A.S.) gave alms, he would kiss his own hands. When they asked him the reason, he said: “Before alms is put in the hand of needy man, it is placed in God’s hand.”
Imam Ali (A.S.) has said: “When you give alms to a needy man, the alms giver should kiss his hand, for God receives the alms before it is put in the hand of the needy man, since God is the Receiver of the alms.”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: “Alms given by a believer is put in the hand of God before it is put in the needy man’s hand.”
Then the Holy Prophet recited verse 104 of the Quranic chapter Tawbah (Repentance):
“Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms and that Allah is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful?”
Imam Sadeq (AS) has been quoted as saying: “God says: For every good deed I have appointed a deputy to receive it save alms which I Myself receive immediately. A man or a woman may give one or half date as alms but I will make it big as a colt grows into a horse and young camel grows into a camel so as to meet Me on the Day of Judgment while one or half date has become as big as Ohud Mountain.”
Imam Sadeq (AS) has said: “Increase your sustenance through alms-giving.”
One day Imam Sadeq said to his son “Muhammad”: My son, how much of allowance is left with you?
-Take it out and give alms in the way of God.
-We have nothing other than this.
“Give it out in the way of God so that He will reward it to us. Don’t you know that everything has a key and the key to sustenance is alms? Therefore give alms.”
The son of the Imam did so. Ten days had hardly passed when forty thousand Dinars were sent for the Imam by someone.
The Imam also said: “Alms-giving in the way of God will help repay debts and leave blessings behind.”
The Imam further said: “Whenever you become destitute, do business with God through alms-giving.”
Imam Baqer (AS) has said: “Surely alms-giving repels seventy afflictions of the world including a bad death. Surely an alms-giver never dies a bad death.”
It is related that one day Jesus (AS) and his disciples were sitting together when a man passed by them. Jesus (AS) said to his disciples: “This man will die soon. After the passage of some time, they noticed that the man passed by them while he was carrying a load of wood. The disciples asked: O spirit of God! You said he would die soon where as he is still living.
Jesus said to that man: Put down your load of wood. He did so and opened it. They immediately saw that a big black snake with a stone in its mouth was among the wood. Jesus said to that man: What have you done today? He said: O spirit of Allah, I had two loaves of bread. I met a beggar. I gave one of them to him (wee it not for his charity, that black snake would bite and kill the man).
Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “Every person who gives alms, God will give a better recompense to his children after his death.”
On verse 36 of the Quranic Chapter Hajj “...and feed the poor man who is contented and beggar...”
Imam Sadeq (AS) has been quoted as saying: “The poor man who is contented is one who asks for something and beggar is your friend.”
Imam Sadeq (AS) was in Mina where a poor man came to him. The Imam ordered a bunch of grapes to be given to him. The poor man said: I do not need it. I need money. The Imam said: My God increase your sustenance? That man went on his way empty-handed. Then another poor man came along and the Imam gave him three single grapes. The poor man took those three single grapes saying:
“Praise is due to the Lord of the worlds” who gave my sustenance. The Imam who saw this scene said to him: Wait. The Imam said to his servant: how many Dirhams are on you? He said: About twenty Dirhams. The Imam said: Give all Dirhams to him. The poor man took all Dirhams and said: Praise is due to Allah the Lord of the worlds. O God! This bounty comes from you. You are One and have no partner. The Imam further said: Wait.
Then he took off the shirt he was wearing and said: Put it on. That man put on the shirt and said; Praise is due to Allah, that gave a shirt and made me happy. O servant of God! May God reward you. With these words he said good bye and went away.
The narrator says: we were saying to ourselves: Had he not said good bye, the Imam would have kept on giving away, for every time the poor man said praise is due to Allah, the Imam would give him something.
Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “If a person gives alms and receives his reward, he should not ever make a business with it or spend it, for the charity belongs to God and no one should share it with God, for this wealth is like a slave who has been set free and enslaving him again is not lawful.”
About a person who intended to give alms but the poor man had gone away, it is related by Imam Sadeq (AS) “He should give it away and not return it to his own wealth.”
Kinds of charity
Charity is classified into five categories:
1- Charity on wealth which was discussed.
2- Charity on position is when a man of position intercedes for saving believers.
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: “The best charity is the charity of tongue. It was said: O Messenger of Allah, what is the charity of tongue? The Holy Prophet said: It is intercession through which you can set a captive free, prevent bloodshed, help your believing brother, and expel evil from him.”
If you treat believing brother fairly with regard to wealth and honor, these two will be safeguarded.
3- Charity on wisdom is counsellorship. In this relation, the holy Prophet said: “Show the right way to your believing brother with your knowledge and protect him with your advice, for both are charity.”
4- The charity on tongue is when one can put out the fire of differences and make peace among them. in verse 114 of the Quranic Chapter, the women (Nisa), God says:
“There is no good in most of their secret counsels except (in his) who enjoins charity or goodness or reconciliation between people.....”
5- The charity on knowledge is through is dissemination among those who are entitled to it. In this relation, the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
“One kind of charity is that one should learn and then teach to people what he has learnt.”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) also said: “The charity on knowledge is to teach it to one who does not know it.”
It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):“Every thing is subject to charity and the charity on knowledge is to one who is entitled to it.”
(The Asset of Supplicant)