One of the top things on my list of things to do in these last 10 days of Ramadhan this year was (and is) to give sadaqah every day without fail. As we know, the virtues of sadaqah are plenty, among them are: it extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire (1), it stands in the way of calamity (2), will be a shade for the giver on the Day of Judgment (3), does not decrease wealth, in fact it increases the giver (in status before Allah) (4).
But then a most embarrassing realization hit me..I have no money! Who am I kidding? I am not working, I have no allowance (I’m on a semester break from uni), and my savings are… well, long story short, I just am not currently in a position where I have access to any sort of wealth in terms of money. I knew that starting tonight I ought to start looking for any sort of item from my cupboard to give away; some scarves, books and clothes. I knew it was still charity, but I just wished I had some cash to give, not something I had worn or used before. Plus, we had just finished a most thorough spring clean a week ago, so I really didn’t have much left. Keep in mind though, that I was not underestimating the reward of sadaqah and neither was I expecting the reward to be lesser because of what I had to give (or what I hadn’t), I simply fancied the idea of giving from my own wealth, something the needy could benefit from and justify according to their need. So just as I was about to resign myself to the cold hard truth that I may not be able to incorporate this virtuous and beautiful deed into my Last 10 Nights list in the way that I had intended, I remembered.. isn’t every act of good deed sadaqah? Even a smile to your brother in Islam? My spirits lifted slowly.. and after some light searching, I came across this gem of a hadeeth of Rasulullah:
“Every day when the sun rises, the sadaqa is due on every person’s joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes). Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah.” (5).
So you can do sadaqah even if you’re broke like me. According to this hadeeth, it’s almost easy.
1)Be a peacemaker.
It’s easy to assume that role when you live in a household like mine.
2) Help out a person in need
Again, this household is full of ‘needy’ people. My younger siblings are always asking me to help them in something. (I’m sure it’s also ok to help them in their bizzare requests..?)
3) Speak only good
It’s easy to raise one’s voice in anger and get what one wants in an instant by those means. And it is challenging to stay calm and patient, and restrain oneself from spewing angry words especially at a time when one is wronged. It is testing, no doubt. But what if we focused instead on making the conscious effort to speak only good words? Surely good words create the environment for a positive mood and no anger can breed in such a setting.
4) Establish Salaah
It’s beautiful to know that every step you take from the moment you turn on the tap for wudhu’ until you reach your prayer mat is rewarding. Plus, if a household is not used to praying together, then I think there’s no better time to start than now while we’re in Ramadhan. Taking the steps alone is sadaqah, what more in taking those steps together as a family. SubhanAllah.
5) Removing harm from a path
If you have children in the house, then you’ll know this is totally do-able. Toys.. toys everywhere. Take a minute out of your time and pick up the legos and puzzle pieces out of the way. It is that simple. You save yourself and others from a lot of pain and danger, and the house looks more presentable too.
After having dissected this hadeeth, I realize that you can incorporate all of these from the comfort of your own home! Wait, charity at home..?
Zaynab said, “O Prophet of Allah! Today you ordered people to give alms and I had an ornament and intended to give it as alms, but Ibn Masood said that he and his children deserved it more than anybody else.” The Prophet, replied, “Ibn Masood had spoken the truth. Your husband and your children had more right to it than anybody else.” (6)
All praises be to the Most High. Islam is not only easy, it eases our daily tasks as well. When we don’t have money, we can have good deeds in their place, and if we don’t have the means to go out to give, then the home is just as good, in fact the home is more deserving of your charity than outsiders. And what if you weren’t able to do any of that?
You better best believe that Allah takes into account your good intentions as if they were good deeds even before they are realized into actions. Your desire to do something (good) should be as strong as when you first desired it, even after you realize down the road that there is no way for you to accomplish it. Islam teaches us hope. We find in many instances that Allah rewards a person for his strong desire to do a certain good thing just as long as his intentions are set straight: sincerity in doing it for Allah’s sake, and hope in Allah in that He will reward it. “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed[…]” (7)
“Whoever asks Allah sincerely for martyrdom, Allah will cause him to reach the status of the martyrs even if he dies in his bed.” (8).
Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: “We accompanied the Prophet in an expedition when he said, “There are some men in Al-Madinah who are with you wherever you march and whichever valley you cross. They have not joined you in person because of their illness.” In another version, he said: “They share the reward with you.” (9)
Prophet Muhammad gave the example of one whom Allah has granted wealth who spends it in the way of Allah , while one who is poor says: “Had I possessed wealth, I would have acted like so-and-so.” The Prophet said, “If that is his intention, his reward is the same as that of the other.” (10)
So do not be disheartened, my brothers and sisters. Allah makes everything possible that even if anyone wanted to make it impossible, he will find that he would not be able to do so. Truly He is the Most Wise and we are blessed to be followers of His Deen. May Allah increase our understanding of Islam and help us make the best of these 10 days and grant us the honour and blessing of Laylat-ul Qadr. Aameen.
(1) Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi
(3) Ahmad, Tirmidhi
(5) Bukhari, Muslim
(7) Bukhari, Muslim
(9) Bukhari, Muslim