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Calling all Generous People in Ramadan by Shaykh Yaser Birjas
“Ramadan Kareem”, a very common greeting used by Muslims, especially the Arabs, during the month of Ramadan. Do you know what that means? It literally means “Ramadan is generous,” and in application, it is a prayer and a du‘ā’ made for you that may Ramadan's generosity fill your life and your heart with goodness in this dunya and the akhira. Muslims in the Arab world use this statement as a reminder for the special spiritual moments Ramadan provides; even when there is a sort of argument or heated quarrel they remind each other with this statement “Ramadan Kareem”.
Other greeting statements Muslims use to describe the blessings of this month are “Ramadan Shahrul Khayr” and “Ramadan Mubarak”— Ramadan is the month of goodness, welfare and blessings. Signs of Ramadan's blessings manifest themselves in the life of Muslims in the way they choose to display their generosity with one another, and with the rest of their fellow humans in terms of hospitality, forgiveness and donations. Ramadan is known as the best season for giving and sharing; the most successful fundraisers are held during this blessed month of Ramadan.
As the day draws nearer to an end, people who are fasting start feeling fatigued due to hunger and thirst, look dehydrated and completely depleted of their nutritious resources. They realize how fortunate they are to expect a meal at the end of the day only to remember those who are less fortunate, forced to survive with less than minimum; those souls who are fasting forcefully day and night with no hope of anytime soon for breaking their fast. In such circumstances, Muslims turn to their moral compass looking for ways to help and give. They want to show their appreciation to what they have and start looking for opportunities to show their support and display their generosity.
We learned this from the most generous of all men, Muḥammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Narrated Ibn Abbas may Allāh be pleased with him, who said: “The Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was the most generous of people, and he was even more generous during Ramadan when Jibreel met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night in Ramadan until it was over and the Prophet would go through the Qur'an with him. The Messenger of Allāh was more generous with good things than the blowing wind (which brings rain and welfare).” [Bukhāri]
The Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam never turned anyone down if he could afford helping him. It was narrated that a man asked the Messenger of Allāh to give him a new garment he had on him. What did the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam do? With absolutely no hesitation, he gave his garment to the one seeking it. Omar may Allāh be pleased with him reports that once a needy person came to ask the Messenger of Allāh for his need. He replied: “I do not have anything at present. Go and purchase something on my behalf. When something arrives I will pay for it”. Omar said: “O Messenger of Allāh, whatever you possessed you have already given away. Allāh ta'ala did not make you responsible for that which is not in your means”. The Messenger of Allāh felt annoyed at this saying of Omar. Thereupon a person from among, the Ansar said: “O Messenger of Allāh, spend whatever you wish, and do not fear any lessening from the Lord of the 'Arsh (Throne)”. The Messenger of Allāh smiled and the happiness could be seen on his blessed face due to the saying of the Ansari. The Messenger of Allāh then said: “Allāh ta'ala has commanded me to do this”. [Tirmidhi]
Jabir may Allāh be pleased with him reported the Messenger of Allāh was never asked to give for the sake of Islam and did not give. A man once came to him and asked for something, and the Messenger gave him herds of sheep that could fill a valley between two mountains. When the man went to his people he said: 'O my people! Embrace Islam, for Muḥammad gives the gifts of someone who has no fear of poverty.'
This trait of generosity has become the model for his companions may Allāh be pleased with them. This is Abu Bakr may Allāh be pleased with him gives all his wealth surrendering the reigns of his affairs and the affairs of his family to Allāh and His Messenger. Similar to this did Omar with half of his wealth; Uthman supplies the army of Tabuk and donating all his business caravans for the sake of Allāh during the time of need and famine. Aisha may Allāh be pleased with her, who grew up in the house of the two most generous of all, her husband the messenger of Allāh and her father Abu Bakr, gave away more than a hundred thousand dirham while she was fasting. When her servant told her she could have left something for their Iftaar she said: “If you had reminded me earlier, I could have done that.” Little she thought about herself. Many are the examples of the sahabah.
Once a person blamed a generous man for his excessive giving and said: “You know, there is no generosity in extravagance”. The man replied: “Actually, there is no extravagance in generosity.”
Great achievements are recognized because of the exceptional circumstances they exist in. That was why the Messenger of Allāh made the best charity to be the one given while the person giving it was in more need for the money that he or she was given a way. Abu Hurayrah may Allāh be pleased with him narrated the Messenger of Allāh said: “One dirham surpassed (in reward) a hundred thousand dirham. A man asked: How come O Messenger of Allāh? He replied: “A man who had a great wealth and took a hundred thousand from the fringe and gave it a way and another who had two dirhams only and gave away one dirham.” (Nasai'ee) There is no doubt the one dirham was more praised, because of the fact that it overcame the challenge of giving half of ones wealth, when the person was indeed in need of every single dirham.
In the Arabic poetry, it is said:
لولا المشقة ساد الناس كلهم الجود يفقر والإقدام قتال
If it was not for hardships, leadership would become opened for all,
But generosity brings poverty and bravery brings mortality.
The philosophy of charity in the minds of many people is usually associated with bloodshed and destruction. If we do not see it happen, we do not give. If there is no catastrophe, there is no need to help. Failure to plan is a plan of failure. If we do not practice preventive medicine, we will pay too much for medical bills afterward. The most successful work of da'wah is the one that is most sincere and then financially stable.
MuslimMatters.org is one of those da'wah projects that made a great achievement catering to the needs of intellectual and everyday Muslims and non-Muslims during some very exceptional circumstances. Since its inception, I personally do not recall a day without visiting MM and reading some intelligent posts about matters relating to Muslims. I cannot think of the internet world without this project being around, running professionally and successfully walhamdulilah.
Now, Muslim Matters needs your support. Be a pioneer donor and join the caravan of the leaders of generosity, Muḥammad salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam and his companions. Do not hesitate, and share the khayr.
As Ramadan draws nearer to an end, and if you believe that Muslims matter, then make your final offers of generosity and support Muslim Matters.