Generosity In Ramadaan, a Warning Against Waste and Charity (or Food Aid) Followed By Manipulation, Harm etc

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] said:

وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَىٰ حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيرًا
إِنَّ الْمُبَذِّرِينَ كَانُوا إِخْوَانَ الشَّيَاطِينِ ۖ وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِرَبِّهِ كَفُورًا

And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayaateen (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord. [Surah Al-Israa. Verses 26-27]

Imaam As-Sa’di [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Shaytaan does not call the person except to every blameworthy habit. So he calls him to miserliness and to refrain from spending, but when the person refuses to obey him, he calls him to overspending and extravagance; but Allaah calls to the most just and balance of affairs and He praises the person for that, as He [The One free from all imperfections] stated about His faithful slaves: [وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنْفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ قَوَامًا – And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor miserly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes)]”. [Surah Furqaan. Verse 67] (1)

Ibn Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] narrated: “The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadaan when Jibreel visited him, and Jibreel used to meet him on every night of Ramadaan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Noble Qur’aan to Jibreel, and when Jibreel met him, he used to be more generous than the fair wind [sent by Allaah with glad tidings (rain) in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds]”. [Saheeh al-Bukhaari 1902]

Zain Ibnul Muneer [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The intent behind the likeness (or comparison) between the Prophet’s [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] generosity and the fair wind, is that the wind is one of mercy which Allaah [The Exalted] sends and sends down rain that falls everywhere- both on a dead land [i.e. falls on a dry land and revives it] as well as the land that is not dead; (likewise) the Prophet’s good conduct and benevolence benefits everyone – the poor, the wealthy and the one who has enough – more than the rain that falls [after the arrival of that] fair wind”. (2)

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “He [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was the most generous amongst the people with regards to wealth and bestowing (things) to the people, and not that he was (only) generous after being asked. And in the final year (of his life), Jibreel met him twice and he finished the recitation of the (Qur’aan) twice. And from the benefits of (this hadeeth) is that: (a) it is more virtuous to study and recite the Qur’aan at night with the righteous people, the scholars and the good people. The Prophet recited (the Qur’aan to Jibreel) to receive that which Allaah has of reward [i.e. reward in the afterlife]. (b) Generosity in times (when people are in need) and in Ramadaan is something sought after [in the religion of Islaam]. (3)

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The limits of Generosity are between two extremes; when one goes beyond its limits, it leads to extravagance and squander. And when a person is lacking in generosity, it leads to miserliness and tight-fistedness”. (4)

Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said, “These squanderers who waste meat and food and dispose of it in waste bins should be reminded that there are hungry people hoping for a mouth full of (food) and a scrap of bread. (Should) fear Allaah and to fear Him in their gatherings, and that they do not become the cause of Allaah’s blessings being stop”. (5)

Pay close attention to the statement of Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan, “These squanderers who waste meat and food and dispose of it in waste bins should be reminded that there are hungry people hoping for a mouth full of (food) and a scrap of bread”.

Indeed, it is well known to many of us that disposing of food and wasting does not only take place in the households and during special occasions, rather this behaviour is also witnessed in the food industry. It is common knowledge that farmers – in some so called developed nations – are sometimes ordered to dump good produce. This is due to a number of reasons: firstly, sometimes capitalists do not have in place a system that would allow farmers to grow only what is enough, therefore farmers are left with no choice but to dump some of their produce. However, despite this overproduction, many people are still unable to afford good quality food. One of the ways this can be avoided is if governments help charities to repackage and redistribute excess food to those in need of it. Secondly, sometimes capitalists solely desire to make profit regardless of the consequences. For example, there has been incidents – in some so called developed countries – when farmers were ordered to depopulate their livestock to inflate prices, whilst many people were unable to put meat on their tables. This is nothing but an act of conspiring with farmers to create scarcity and thus unveils one of the negative outcomes of a capitalist economy. Read here about high and low prices:

Also read this beautiful clarification by Al-Allaamah Taqiyuddeen Al-Hilaalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] regarding the different contemporary ideologies pages 74-82. Publisher: Daarul Kitaab Was-Sunnah. 1st Edition 2007:

Therefore, one should strive to be from those who spend or at least refrain from harming people. Allaah [The Exalted] said: [قَوۡلٌ۬ مَّعۡرُوفٌ۬ وَمَغۡفِرَةٌ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ۬ يَتۡبَعُهَآ أَذً۬ى‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَنِىٌّ حَلِيمٌ۬ – Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing]. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 263]

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated: Allaah informed (us) that kind speech- which all hearts recognize and do not reject; and forgiveness, which is to pardon the one who treated you badly-, are better than charity that is followed by harm. Kind speech is good treatment and charity through speech; and forgiveness is good treatment by way of refraining from retaliation and holding someone responsible. These are two types of good treatments. As for charity followed by harm, it is a good deed that is followed by its nullifier, and there is no doubt that two good deeds are better than a good dead that is nullified. This also includes the forgiveness shown by the person when he encounters some harm and harsh behaviour from the one who he could not fulfil his request; therefore, showing forgiveness to him would be better than giving him charity and then harming him. Speaking kindly to him, refraining [from retaliation] and forgiving him is better for you than giving him charity and then harming him. Then Allaah [The Most High] ended this Aayah with the mention of two of His Attributes which are suitable for mention in this affair, saying: [وَٱللَّهُ غَنِىٌّ حَلِيمٌ۬- and He is Most-Forbearing]. Indeed, Allaah is not in need of you and nothing [from the benefits of] your charity reaches him, rather all the abundant good in this charity and its benefits returns to you and not to Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He]. Therefore, how can one flaunt by way of his spending and causes harm whilst Allaah is completely not in need of it and everything else besides it. In addition to this, Allaah is forbearing because He does not hasten punishment against the one who flaunts. Allaah is completely free from need in every way and He is the One described as One with forbearance, the one who overlooks and forgives, alongside the fact that He bestows His vast [limitless] favours and ample [limitless] gifts; then how can one of you harm another person by flaunting and offending, even though what you give is little, and you are weak and poor [in the sight of Allaah]. Then Allaah said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُبۡطِلُواْ صَدَقَـٰتِكُم بِٱلۡمَنِّ وَٱلۡأَذَىٰ كَٱلَّذِى يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ ۥ رِئَآءَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ‌ۖ فَمَثَلُهُ ۥ كَمَثَلِ صَفۡوَانٍ عَلَيۡهِ تُرَابٌ۬ فَأَصَابَهُ ۥ وَابِلٌ۬ فَتَرَڪَهُ ۥ صَلۡدً۬ا‌ۖ لَّا يَقۡدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَىۡءٍ۬ مِّمَّا ڪَسَبُواْ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day. His likeness is the likeness of a smooth rock on which is a little dust; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it bare. They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. [Al-Baqarah 264].

This verse necessitates that flaunting and harm nullifies the reward in charity, and it is also proof that good deeds can be nullified by evil deeds”. (6)

We ask Allaah to protect us from the path of those who show the world that they are giving charity, yet they harm the people. Read ‘Food Aid or Hidden Dumping’: food-aid-or-hidden-dumping

We ask Allaah to include us amongst those about whom He stated:

وَيُطۡعِمُونَ ٱلطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ مِسۡكِينً۬ا وَيَتِيمً۬ا وَأَسِيرًا
إِنَّمَا نُطۡعِمُكُمۡ لِوَجۡهِ ٱللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمۡ جَزَآءً۬ وَلَا شُكُورًا
إِنَّا نَخَافُ مِن رَّبِّنَا يَوۡمًا عَبُوسً۬ا قَمۡطَرِيرً۬ا
فَوَقَٮٰهُمُ ٱللَّهُ شَرَّ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلۡيَوۡمِ وَلَقَّٮٰهُمۡ نَضۡرَةً۬ وَسُرُورً۬ا

And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive; (saying): “We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. Verily, We fear from our Lord a Day, hard and distressful, that will make the faces look horrible (from extreme dislikeness to it).” So Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. [Surah Al-Insaan. Verses 9-11]

Allaah [The Exalted] said:

وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٲلَهُمُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِ ٱللَّهِ وَتَثۡبِيتً۬ا مِّنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةِۭ بِرَبۡوَةٍ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَـَٔاتَتۡ أُڪُلَهَا ضِعۡفَيۡنِ فَإِن لَّمۡ يُصِبۡہَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَطَلٌّ۬‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s Pleasure while they in their ownselves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His Cause), is the likeness of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer of (knows well) what you do.

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:

This parable is the basis of the spending that is based on sincerity and truthfulness, for indeed seeking the Pleasure of Allaah is sincerity itself, and being certain in oneself is truthfulness. Indeed, the spender is faced with two [corrupt] affairs and if he is saved from them, he will be similar to what has been mentioned in this Aayah. Firstly is seeking praise or commendation, or [spending due] to one of his worldly ambitions, and this is the state of affairs of most those who spend. The second affair is the weakness, swaying and doubt in his soul as to whether he should [spend] or not. So, [the first corrupt affair] prevents one from seeking the Pleasure of Allaah and the second prevents him from being certain about spending, because indeed being certain is that the soul is given the courage, strengthened and pushed to spend, and this is its truthfulness. As for seeking the Pleasure of Allaah, this is sincerity.

When it is the case that the basis of spending to seek the Pleasure of Allaah and being certain about it is likened to a garden- the garden with numerous trees and is situated on an elevated place, then indeed it is the garden that is more perfect than the garden that is situated at a very low place. That is because when a garden is elevated, [exposed] to the air, exposed to the sun when it is rising and after it has risen, as well as at the time of its setting, then its fruits become more mature, wholesome, better and more numerous, because fruits increase in their good quality and good health [when more exposed] to the air and sun, as opposed to fruits that are grown under the shade.

When it is the case that nothing is feared for a garden that is situated in an elevated place, except insufficient water, therefore Allaah said, [أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ۬ – heavy rain falls on it], and thus its fruits are brought forth and it produces the blessings [decreed by Allaah]. So, it brings forth its fruit twice as much as that of others, or twice as much due to the heavy rain. This is similar to the situation of those who are foremost in spending.

Then Allaah said: [فَإِن لَّمۡ يُصِبۡہَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَطَلٌّ۬ – And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it]. This is inferior to that of the heavy rain; but it is enough for the garden because of the [suitability and fertility] of its hotbed and the good manner in which it was planted, therefore it is enough to bring forth its benefit by way of the light rain. This is similar to the case of the pious people- those upon the second level of spending and they are of different stations in the sight of Allaah.

The people [whose spending is likened to the garden that received the heavy rain] are of a higher station – those who spend their wealth day and night, in secret and openly, and they give precedence to others over themselves, even though they are in need themselves. As for the people whose [spending is likened to the garden that received] the light rain, they are those upon a level in the middle. The likeness of these two groups and their deeds is that of a garden upon an elevated place, and their spending – a lot- is likened to a heavy rain and light rain. And just as one of the two types of rains necessitates that it will make the fruits of the garden [good and healthy] etc…likewise is their spending- whether a lot or small, after it is was based on seeking the Pleasure of Allaah and being certain in oneself regarding that. It [i.e. their spending] is pure in the sight of Allaah – increases and doubles. (7)

[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Tafseer as-Sadi]
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from Fat-hul Baari Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Vol 4. Page 150. Hadeeth 1902. Publisher- Daarus Salaam 1421 (Year 2000). 1st Edition). Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from Al-Hulalul Ibreeziyyah Min Ta’liqaat Al-Baaziyyah Alaa Saheeh Al-Bukhaariy. 2/121. Footnotes numbers: 1, 2 &3]
[Ref 4: Al-Fawaa’id page 207- 209]
[Ref 5: Source: An Excerpt From (Al-Bayaan Li-Akhtaa’i Ba’dil Kuttaab) Vol 2. page 27]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from ‘Tareequl Hijratayn pages 452-453. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn. by Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahmahullaah). Pages 454-455. Slightly paraphrased]


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