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Generosity: An Integral Part of Islam

One of my friends had asked me recently: “Why can’t I see the love and peace in spite of so many pious people? Is religion only about the relationship with the Creator and not with His creations?” I had to clear the misconception by explaining that part of Islam is to look after the creations of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). By fulfilling that duty, we were indeed strengthening our relationship with the Creator. Sadly, how many of us consider good manners and kindness as an act of worship? Why have we allowed hatred, jealousy, apathy, disunity, anger, impatience and harshness to become a part of us? We are in sharp contrast to the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wasallam) who was described as gentle, patient, easy-going, altruistic and always smiling. Therefore, we can easily recognize the significance of generosity in Islam. Let us look at some easy ways through which we can demonstrate love for others insha’Allah.

• Greet them wholeheartedly: In greeting those of the same gender, we should look others in their eyes and greet them well. Our greeting should be accompanied by a warm embrace or at least a firm hand-shake, the Sunnah of smiling, and our full attention.

• Genuine concern: If you interact with one individual at a time, you will find that each has their share of problems, whether they are financial problems, health complications, marital discord, or problems at school/work. During these times, we only seek help from Allah, but it is nice to have a comforting friend and advisor. Therefore, we should take some time out from our busy schedule to listen to the needs of others. It is indeed a matter of pity that nowadays even the practising Muslims are too busy “seeking knowledge” or “conveying the message of Islam,” overlooking the other obligations. On one occasion, a few practising Muslims gave several excuses for not visiting a dying orphan(!) Certainly, they would not have made these excuses if their own relatives were in hospital, would they? We really need to implement the knowledge that we seek and convey. Therefore, receive calls and reply to messages, depending on the urgency. If you are unable to comprehend whether it is urgent or not, it is still better to contact and ask. If it is not urgent, explain that you have an appointment/meeting/deadline to meet. Also make it a point to visit the sick – the virtues are innumerable, suhan Allah, you will have 70,000 angels making du’a for you bi’ithnillah.
• Have mercy: Do not bear grudges, or judge others negatively. We need to understand that perhaps, others are going through a dark time which is making them behave strangely. We need to give others a benefit of doubt. It will be much wiser if we make things easier for others, instead of inflicting more pain and stress. What about the sinners? Ask Allah to guide them to the Straight Path. In addition, feel grateful that “Allah has conferred favor upon you that He has guided you to the faith.” [1].

• Make du’a: Nowadays, du’a is trivialized. “Please make duaa for me” is a casual statement. However, when we nod in the affirmative in response to the above request, do we really consider making duaa? How many us feel the pain of the oppressed and the afflicted, and raise our hands in sincere duaa for them even after the obligatory prayers (let alone the Tahajjud prayer)? Just as we need duaa of others, we should be generous in making du’a for others too.

• Give gifts: Whether we admit it or not, all of us love receiving gifts (some of us love giving them too!). This is a sunnah of our Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam). This is also one of the most effective ways of softening the hearts of people. Gifts do not have to be anything expensive or huge. While choosing gifts, you just have to remember the likes/dislikes and leisure-time activities of the person. Remember that anything given with love carries a unique value. Although a translation of Qur’an is an excellent gift-item, it might not be too appropriate for non-Muslims who have no interest in Islam. In such situations, it is much more strategic to gift an Islamic book dealing with psychology, such as ‘Don’t Be Sad.’ This will not make you seem too pushy with daw’ah and will also provoke others to take interest in Qur’an when they see real life psychological issues practically combined with verses from the Divine Revelation. They will realize that Qur’an is perfect for application in this modern world.

We will conclude with the following verses:

“The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers.” [2].

“Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.” [3].

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