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Spending in All Conditions

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ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِى ٱلسَّرَّآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ

(The people of taqwa are) those who spend (in the path of Allah Ta‘ala) in prosperity and adversity. (Surah Aal ‘Imraan v. 134)

In the above verse of the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala describes one of the salient qualities of the righteous – spending in the path of Allah Ta‘ala.

Generally, there are two conditions in which a person neglects to spend in Allah Ta‘ala’s path.

The first is prosperity, when one is enjoying abundant wealth. At this time, some people become intoxicated by the wealth due to which the thought of charity does not even cross their minds, or they develop such love for the wealth that they cannot bear to be parted from it. 

The second is poverty, when one is undergoing constraints and difficulty. In this condition, one may think, “Why should I spend in Allah Ta‘ala’s path? It is others who should be spending on me as I am the one in need!”

However, the righteous are such that regardless of their condition, they always spend in Allah Ta‘ala’s path according to their means. If they are able to spend more, they do so, and if not, then they spend what they can manage, but they do not cease to spend in Allah Ta‘ala’s path.

Hence, we should always spend in Allah Ta‘ala’s path – even if that which we give is very small, for our intention, sincerity and devotion will inshaAllah fetch great value in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala. Thus, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned in one hadeeth, “Each one of you should save himself from the fire (of Jahannum), even if it be by (giving) half a date (in sadaqah).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #1413)

Furthermore, the commentators have mentioned that in this verse, Allah Ta‘ala did not restrict ‘spending’ to the spending of money. Hence, ‘spending’ will refer to all types of spending such as spending one’s time, energy, mental faculties, etc. in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. Some examples of this are where a person has a special skill (e.g. a doctor) and he dedicates some time in the week for voluntary work in a clinic, or a woman is a talented baker or cook and decides to share her skill by teaching others and sharing her recipes free of charge. In these cases, since the intention is to assist others for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, their efforts will be appreciated by Allah Ta‘ala and they will be rewarded.

We thus understand that even if a person is penniless, it does not mean that he is worthless, as even he can be an asset to Islam and the Muslims and can ‘spend’ in the path of Allah Ta‘ala.

Insha-Allah, the remaining qualities of the righteous, mentioned in the same verse, will be discussed in the parts to follow.