Somehow, you always receive more than you give!
This topic is so close to my heart, I don’t know where to start! I suppose charity begins with empathy. Yet there are so many beginnings to it.
Why give charity? It can be any of these reasons:
- To help others out of their dilemmas.
- To thank Allah for all that He has blessed you with.
- It is the best way to bring your own problems into perspective.
- It is the best anti-depressant, and diffuser of sadness. An instant mood booster.
- A financial booster. (I’ll explain in a while.)
How you give charity:
Give it with your own hands, and directly to a person whom you know to be genuine. Give it openly, or secretly : You can do it secretly, where only you, the receiver and God know about it. You can do it openly, where everyone knows about it. (Of course, the secret one is best.) Yet, doing it openly is also fine, because it shows others around you how easy and do-able it is. (They know your financial status, and appreciate that you are still doing it, in spite of it.)
Charity in different forms and shapes:
In kind as a volunteer:
So, you offer your own skills for the organization or individual. You can give your time, and help with whatever skills you have, as a lawyer you can do some cases for free, or as a doctor, see some patients for free, as a teacher, you can teach for free. So, in whatever capacity you have been blessed with, you can offer the service to a few selected persons for free. As a writer, people like myself can help by blogging or media.
Sabra Abdulla who owns the Pehli kiran schools, http://www.pehlikiranschools.org/ has the chain of schools for the under-privileged children, in and around Islamabad. She feels very angry when people give charity only in the form of food. ‘Why can’t they give the same amount for our school? A child could get educated with that amount!’ She says in an upset manner. Well, I say, both are important. If a person doesn’t even have the money for decent food, how can he think of education? So, we can all do whatever we can. Yet, her point is very valid. The meal would go only for one day, whereas, you can educate a child for a month or a year with the same amount.
So, there are plenty of organizations working at different levels, I’d suggest going for the nearest one which you can keep an eye on also, and give continuous help.
In the Quran God has promised to give you a great deal more than you give in His name to the poor. Yes, around seventy times! Now it doesn’t seem logical. How can you get more than you give? But you do! When you give in His name, He comes into actions. Then He helps us through sources we could never have imagined! It is so true. So, I don’t know what type of chemistry takes place in the brain when you give charity, (though it isn’t easy, when you are in a financially challenging state. ) Yet, after you have taken the plunge it feels so much better. The value of the money is not by what you give, but what it means to you: Here, I’d like to take a quotation from the Holy Bible: (You will find connections from our own world too!)
- Mark 12:38-44 38As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” 41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”
So, don’t feel bad that you are giving such a little amount. Give whatever you can give which is surplus for you. However, the Quran asks you to be careful, to give only as much as you can spare after dealing with your own responsibilities. ( – So that you don’t end up needing charity yourself.)
So, back to the fun part and joy of giving charity…..
Right now, as I write, sparrows are coming and having water and grains about five feet from me, outside my window, on my boundary wall. They know these plates are laid out for them. I feel happy looking at them, as I write. They are so cute and adorable. Many have their beaks slightly open due to heat, it is 37 degrees these days. I’ve kept water too, and they like having it. Giving food to animals in your area, by leaving it out is so important. Yes, this is charity too.
So, you can give it by so many ways:
- Keeping water outside your home for those (humans) who pass by. It is too hot these days.
- Give things to hospitals: eid gifts, iftari, or equipment. The equipment can be a wheelchair, bed, or ask them whatever they need.
- You can just donate cash or zakat to organizations that you trust, like Shaukat Khanum and Edhi. These can be hospitals, orphanages, and schools. Also the new authentic ones in your area. Just walk in and check them out, give them surprise visits. Once you are convinced, you can encourage your friends also to pitch in if they can. You can donate to schools for the underprivileged.
- Do spontaneous acts of charity like distributing samosas and pakoras when it rains, to people nearby or in a school for the poor.
It is important to make charity a part of your life. Best form is to start your day with it. I’ve known persons who give charity first thing in the morning. (- like Shahida Apa, my mentor, that is what Dr. Wayne Dyer used to do also.)
Let me tell you something really strange that happened in my life, in 2008, Karachi. So one night Nadiya my daughter and I were walking in our colony at 11.00 pm. (It is a safe colony, and quite ‘normal’ to do so there…!) So, anyhow, we were busy talking, and a couple walked by us. The man turned and looked at me in the semi darkness, and said, ‘your life is in great danger! – in fact you have had a near-death experience only a few days back.’ That stopped us in our tracks. We were shocked. Both knew that it was true. I said to him,
‘it is true. But how do you know?’
He said, ‘I can see!’
Of course, I had to know more. We went back to their home for a few minutes, and found out he was a psychic and an astrologer. So, he told me that my life is in great danger, and every day, the first thing I should do when going out of the house is to give charity. It can be a small amount of Rs.5.00 or 10.00. But it must be given. Also, he asked me to read, ‘Ya Hafeezo.’ Also to add, ‘Ya Hafeezo, arhamna.’ It means to ask for protection not only for myself but also for those near me. He told me that I am in so much danger that even the people near me can get endangered by it.
I got convinced. Yes, I am a bit of a dare devil. Though, my dangerous acts are calculated. But still. This seemed like a good tip to keep. It is true, I was to get into greater dangers within a few years. There were people out to get me and my family. Did the daily charity help? Was it the prayer ‘Ya Hafizo, arhamna.’ Help in protecting us all from it all?
Let me tell you another instance:
Last year, my dad’s land manager had asked him for a loan for his son’s marriage. So, my father asked me to take him to the bank to get the money out. Seeing that he can walk only with help and has great difficulty in moving around, I said, I’ll get the cash for him, if he gives me the cheque. But he insisted on going himself. So, when we went to the bank, he got the sum of Rs.2,00,000/- out ($2000) I counted and let my dad give it to his manager. I had no idea how much had been asked, and was just doing my father’s bidding. So, when we got back, and daddy went inside, Maskeen told me this was too much, he had only asked for Rs.50,000/- ($500). He asked me to take back the rest of the amount. I told him, ‘firstly, I know my father, never gives a loan. He always gives whatever the amount is asked, if he has it. The other thing is that if he has given you this amount, I’d never take back the rest, nor would my mother. So, he was to keep it. He went back to the lands, to prepare for his sons marriage.
That same night, my father fell ill. I never informed the manager. Took my dad to hospital, he was moved to ICU around 2.00 am, by 2.30 am the doctors gave up. I received the message when I had just got back from hospital, that I should go and meet him for the last time.
So, Waliya and I went to the hospital and sat next to him. He was unconscious. We watched the BP getting lower and lower…. We sat up all night on that uncomfortable backless stool next to the bed, praying for him. As the sun rose, so did his blood pressure. He moved, then opened his eyes, defying all doctors’ predictions. At ninety years, he was fit again and back home within a few days. At 91 years now, he walks around the house too. Today, he went to the hair saloon to get his few hairs trimmed!
Need I say more about charity?
Stay blessed my dear Reader, by giving charity, you certainly will be blessed.