After 5 years of working for charity organizations that support people both nationally and internationally, and now as I live in a country that has become increasingly stricken by poverty, I still hear this question more than I’d like. “But do they really need it?” The human being has a need to have people prove their poverty, though we all know we would be terribly embarrassed to ever have to disclose our financial depravity to others.
In class the other day my teacher delved into the book of traditions entitled “The Gardens of the Righteous” also known as Riyadh As Saliheen.
Ma’n bin Yazid bin Akhnas (May God be pleased with them) (he, his father and his grandfather, all were Companions) reported:
My father set aside some dinars for charity and gave them to a man in the mosque. I went to that man and took back those dinars. He said: “I had not intended you to be given.” So we went to Messenger of God (ﷺ), and put forth the matter before him. He said to my father, “Yazid, you have been rewarded for what you intended.” And he said to me, “Ma’n, you are entitled to what you have taken.”
He used this narration to open the door to the discussion of giving to those in need. The first thing the teacher mentioned is to look at this narration, the father had one intention but it didn’t end up going where he wanted it. A question we may ask is “would that change his reward?” Not in the slightest! His father would still be rewarded and the one who received the money, though it wasn’t originally intended for him will benefit.
My teacher then shared a story of a wealthy man that wanted to give charity, this tradition is found in the books of narrations of my beautiful religious tradition of Islam. For some background, the wealthy man out of wanting to be sincere decided to go out in the night to give his charity and as such was unaware of who exactly was receiving it. These are the words of Muhammad,
“A man expressed his intention to give charity, so he came out with charity and placed it in the hand of an adulteress. In the morning, the people were talking and saying: charity was given to an adulteress last night. He (the giver of charity) said: 0 God, to You be the praise. He then again expressed his intention to give charity; so he went out with the charity and placed it in the hand of a rich person. In the morning the people were talking and saying: Charity was given to a rich person. He (the giver of charity) said: 0 God, to You be the praise. He then expressed his intention to give charity, so he went out with charity and placed it in the hand of a thief. In the morning, the people were talking and saying: Charity was given to a thief. So again he said: 0 God, to Thee be the praise (what a misfortune it is that charity has been given to) a prostitute, to a rich person and to a thief! Then there came an angel to him and he was told: Your charity has been accepted. As for the prostitute (the charity might become the means) whereby she can help herself from this action. The rich man might perhaps learn a lesson in giving and cease being stingy and spend from what God has given him, and the thief might thereby refrain from committing theft.”
So what do we learn here?
Give, Give and keep on giving because your charity might change someone’s life. Your reward is not dependent on the people but on your intention and with following through with that intention. Go show the world the difference one can make if they take heed of lessons that are for those who believe.