Holy Qur'an 2/177
We wish and pray for peace, serenity and tranquility for all our esteemed viewers and a blissful and prosperous life, with dignified provisions, and all good things of the world. May the peace and blessings of GOD ALMIGHTY be on all of us! This is implied when we greet our viewers with: Asalamoalekum wa Rehmatullahi wa Barakatohu.
By this traditional greeting, we assure and express our regards, reverence and good wishes for you and for all mankind. May the CREATOR and SUSTAINER of the Universe shower HIS Bounties on all HIS creatures on this earth!
Now we take recourse to the Last Book of our LORD in order to reform and develop our actions, emotions and attitudes as approved by the Glorious Qur’an, the Divine Book of Guidance. We profess and testify the Oneness of our LORD and strive for purification and perfection of our internal and external life. We sincerely believe that no other discourse can ensure a more comprehensive development of our inner self than the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (s.a.w.s) who has set the highest standards of piety and righteousness.
Today we shall concentrate on the verse no. 177 of Chapter 2, Al Baqarah and find out what morals do they contain for us and for the whole mankind.
We feel no hesitation in admitting that it is humanly impossible to render the words of ALMIGHTY GOD in any language of this world. We only make an attempt to get closer to the sense and spirit of the original text, with a prayer to our LORD to help us in this endeavor.
“Righteousness, or piety or and virtues is not that you turn your faces towards the east or the west, (or you follow some norms, customs and traditions of your own),
but truly pious is he, who believes in One and Only GOD, and is conscious of the accountability of the Doomsday,
and accepts the existence of Angels, and the Books of Revelation and all the Prophets,
and spends his wealth and belongings, in search for love of GOD ALMIGHTY,
for the well being of near ones, the deprived ones, the needy, the wayfarer, and to those who ask for help, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage,
and constant in prayers and do charities,
and keep-up the promises whenever promised,
and keep patience in misfortunes and hardships and in times of adversity.
It is they that have proved themselves truly pious, and it is they, who are conscious of their LORD.”
Man as a privileged creature of the ALMIGHTY GOD enjoys special status in the scheme of creation. He has been endowed with many unique qualities like emotion, affection, love, compassion, regards, desire to serve and a sense of belonging that no other creature possesses. Charity is one of the spiritual faculties found only amongst the human beings. It is ingrained in human nature with varying degrees. Out of various forms of charities expected from the faithful, the poor dues referred to as ‘ZaKat’, has been made mandatory for those who are well off. It is the most common interpretation of Zakat, but it is not confined to money sharing only, but all types of charity one can. Besides, there are provisions for ‘Sadqaat’ and ‘Kaffarah’ redemption. The Divine Book also commands to the faithful how and where to utilize these charitable provisions. Please refer verse 60 of Chapter 9.
“The offerings given (for the sake of ALLAH) are meant only for the poor and the needy,
and those who are in charge thereof,
and those whose hearts are to be won over,
and for the freeing of human beings from bondage,
and for those who are burdened with debts,
and (for every struggle) in ALLAH's cause, and for the wayfarer:
(this is) an ordinance from ALLAH –
and ALLAH is all-knowing, wise.”
ALLAH provides all the means that we possess with a command to donate some of it in charity. HE has also spelled out in the Holy Book how to utilize it and in what sequence. If we ponder over this verse deeply, it becomes crystal clear that the word Sadaqat refers to all kinds of monetary and material help to be extended to those who stand in need.
Now to have a better understanding of our LORD’s commands in such matters, we seek the help of our SUSTAINER. We pray to the ALMIGHTY to increase our insight and sensibility. May HE lead us on to the right path!
The verse recited here supplies a list of the deserving beneficiaries for a judicious utilization of all kinds of charity. Let us remember that we are not the real owner of all that we possess. It is all a gift from our LORD for our sustenance. And there are many in our surroundings, in our society and in our nation who are not so fortunate as we. Now those who belong to the privileged class, owe a moral responsibility to reach out to the under privileged, the poor and the helpless, and extend them all possible help.
Our LORD has categorically defined the priorities to be given while indulging in charitable activities. Those who are poor and helpless, unable to procure their basic needs, have nothing to feed for themselves, and passing through miserable condition deserve special attention. Beside these deeds which we can share with mankind are sharing ones pain, grievous suffering, sharing sorrow time. So many other things which a human being can share with others like knowledge, sentiments, without any condition or binding. The Cherisher and SUSTAINER of all, has provided us with more facilities, wealth and resources, for what? For nothing in the world but to test whether we follow HIS commands in the disbursement and utilization of our resources or fall a prey to the devilish temptation and live an extravagant life. Whether we live a self-centered life or remain committed to the people around us.
A close observation reveals that the whole system in this world is governed by the law of mutual cooperation or co-relation. Even the beginning of human life is the result of mutual cooperation by two humans. In his infancy a child is a fragile piece of flesh and bones, utterly dependent on his or her parents. The parents do all that they can, to see this non-entity develop into a mighty and strong person. And that is why the ALMIGHTY GOD reminds us the right of our parents especially when they attain to old age. Our LORD says in verse 31/14:
“And WE have enjoined upon man, best behavior towards his parents.
His mother carried him in strain upon strain,
and his utter dependence on her lasted two years:
(O man,) be grateful towards ME and towards your parents,
(and remember that) with ME is all journeys end.”
A man must treat his parents with gentle humility. He should never be rude or unkind to them. Although we can never really compensate for that which we have received from our parents. The parents selflessly spend their hard-earned money on our upbringing, education and physical well-being. But a time comes, when they lose their strength and need our help and sympathy, love and affection. Now it is our turn to repay the debt. And so GOD ALMIGHTY has made it obligatory on every human being to give his or her parents the best of treatment in their advanced age or in their hour of need. This is a test from our LORD as to how do we respond to the situation. In verse 23 & 24 of chapter 17, ALLAH has enjoined upon us:
“Your SUSTAINER has ordained that you shall worship none but HIM.
And behave nicely with the parents.
Whether one of them or both attain old age, (or in need) in your life, never say "Uff" to them, and never scold them.
But address to them in words of honor.”
“And spread over them humbly the wings of your tenderness and supplicate ME:
O my SUSTAINER! Bestow your grace upon my parents, as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!”
But normally we have two sets of standards. One for our own self, another for the rest. We regard our selves as something special, above all. And so we deserve special treatment. This is where we miss. But a man with high moral standard must be just in his dealings. He must over come the human tendency of selfishness, and control his emotion. The verse recited earlier enumerates eight general categories of charity.
But is it enough to give away mere wealth? It would certainly be better if we contribute from all our possessions in the way of our LORD. And who should be the intended beneficiaries? Let us refer to the verse 215 of Chapter 2.
“The people ask you O Mohammed, what they should spend on others (and contribute).
Say: ‘Whatever of your wealth or any good deed you do, or you spend (to please your LORD),
it shall (first) be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer.
And whatever charity you will do, verily ALLAH has full knowledge of it.’”
It is human nature to give priority to his own requirements. So he may think that if he goes on spending this way on others, he may soon face a financial crisis. There is nothing wrong if a person takes care for his personal well-being. Of course, ALLAH does not want a person to spend more than what he can really afford. Excess of anything is bad. Imbalance and excess of charity may put the donor in trouble.
And so the ALMIGHTY GOD commands us to be evenhanded and reasonable even in charity. The verse 29 in Chapter 17 reads:
“Make not your hand tied to your neck, nor stretch it forth to the utmost limit of your capacity, lest you will feel guilty and will become frustrated.”
The Prophet of ALLAH has also narrated to have said:
Khairul uumoor awsatuha.
“One who remain moderate, is best person in matters.”
Hence it follows that all charity, kindness and help must be conditioned by our own resources. We are not to be so lavish as to make ourselves destitute. Nor should we keep back our resources from those who have a right to our help. We must keep a just measure between our capacity and other people’s need. We should certainly not be miserly, but remember everyone’s right including our own family. Indiscriminate acts of charity sometimes may do more harm than good. The real beneficiary of charity must be in want. There is no merit if we merely spend out more than we can afford, just for show. ALLAH does not like pretense, show off and insincerity.
The spirit of kindness is the essences of charity. It must not be followed by any reference or reminder to the act of charity. The donors must expect no reward in this world. The sole motive in his mind should be to desire the good pleasure ALLAH and the strengthening of his own soul. There is abundant reward from the ALMIGHTY with HIS own pleasure and plan. Although a man with charitable inclination is best situated to attract the bounties of our LORD, which he does not hold selfishly but circulates freely.
In the Holy Book our LORD has promised great returns for those who give away not only money but also other resources to those who cannot claim anything by way of their legal right. Such people will receive full payments with no fear of any loss as promised by our LORD in verse 272 of chapter 2.
“……And whatever charity you provide, benefits your own self, and you should do charity for only to seek compliance of ALLAH.
And whatever charity you shall do, will be rendered back to you, and you shall not be in loss.”
Further in verse 261 of Chapter 2, there is not only an assurance just for safe returns but a promise by our LORD for unimaginable profits.
“The parable of those who spend their possessions for the sake of ALLAH is that of a seed out of which grow seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains:
And ALLAH grants manifold increase to whom HE please; and ALLAH is infinite, all-knowing.”
It is not that we do not give anything in charity. The believers all over the world contribute generously for the welfare of human society. But we need to check ourselves. Our thinking, our desire, and our priorities must be superseded by the will of our LORD. For the Doomsday is inevitable. We have to stand before our LORD in the Apex Court along with those who depended on us. What will be our plight if even after spending our wealth we face the wrath of our LORD and the final judgment is delivered against us? What an irreparable loss it would be!
There is still time to amend the past mistakes. A process of self introspection and evaluation of all our deeds can stop further damage. We seek the forgiveness of our LORD. Please forgive us, O our LORD. You are the Most Forgiving, the Most Compassionate, and Most Merciful. Have mercy on us. And shower all Your Favors and Bounties on us. Amen!
Thank you very much, GOD Bless you all.