The Quran

“And establish prayer and give zakah and bow with those who bow [in worship and obedience].” [Qur’an; 2:43]

“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: and whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that you do.” [Qur’an; 2:110]

“O you who have believed, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers – they are the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an; 2:254]

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Qur’an; 2:261-262]

“O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a [large] smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable [to keep] anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking means to the approval of Allah and assuring [reward for] themselves is like a garden on high ground which is hit by a downpour – so it yields its fruits in double. And [even] if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle [is sufficient]. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing.” [Qur’an; 2:264-265]

“…And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah. And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” [Qur’an; 2:272]

“Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds and establish prayer and give zakah will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Qur’an; 2:277]

“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Qur’an; 3:92]

“Your ally is none but Allah and [therefore] His Messenger and those who have believed – those who establish prayer and give zakah, and they bow [in worship].” [Qur’an; 5:55]

“And establish prayer and give zakah and obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy.” [Qur’an; 24:56]

“And when it is said to them, ‘Spend from that which Allah has provided for you,’ those who disbelieve say to those who believe, ‘Should we feed one whom, if Allah had willed, He would have fed? You are not but in clear error.'” [Qur’an; 36:47]

“Here you are – those invited to spend in the cause of Allah – but among you are those who withhold [out of greed]. And whoever withholds only withholds [benefit] from himself; and Allah is the Free of need, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.” [Qur’an; 47:38]

“And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest [of Makkah] and fought [and those who did so after it]. Those are greater in degree than they who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah, with what you do, is Acquainted.” [Qur’an; 57:10]

“They are the ones who say, “Do not spend on those who are with the Messenger of Allah until they disband.” And to Allah belongs the depositories of the heavens and the earth, but the hypocrites do not understand.” [Qur’an; 63:7]

“And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.'” [Qur’an; 63:10]

“So fear Allah as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allah]; it is better for your selves. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul – it is those who will be the successful.” [Qur’an; 64:16]

“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” [Qur’an; 65:7]


Narrated Abu Burda: from his father from his grandfather that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?” He said, “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked, “If he cannot find even that?” He replied, “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked, “If he cannot do that?” He replied, “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Abu Dharr narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said : “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity, commanding good and forbidding evil is charity, your giving directions to a man lost in the land is charity for you. Your seeing for a man with bad sight is a charity for you, your removal of a rock, a thorn or a bone from the road is charity for you. Your pouring what remains from your bucket into the bucket of your brother is charity for you.” [Tirmidhi]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, “Who among you considers the wealth of his heirs dearer to him than his own wealth?” They replied, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)! There is none among us but loves his own wealth more.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “So his wealth is whatever he spends (in Allah’s cause) during his life (on good deeds) while the wealth of his heirs is whatever he leaves after his death.” [Sahih Bukhari]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, “Giving in charity is an obligation upon every Muslim”. It was said (to him), “What about one who does not find (the means) to do so?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Let him work with his hands, thus doing benefit to himself and give in charity.” It was said to him, “What if he does not have (the means) to do so?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Then let him assist the needy, the aggrieved.” It was said, “What about if he cannot even do this?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Then he should enjoin good.” He was asked, “What if he cannot do that?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “He should then abstain from evil for verily, that is a charity from him”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

“Everyone of you will speak to his Rubb without an interpreter between them. He will look to his right side and will see only the deeds he had previously done; he will look to his left and will see only the deeds he had previously done, and he will look in front of him and will see nothing but Fire (of Hell) before his face. So protect yourselves from Fire (of Hell), even by giving half a date- fruit (in charity)”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

“Save yourself from Hell-fire even by giving half a date-fruit in charity.” [Sahih Bukhari]

“Give in charity because there will come a time on the people when a person will go out with his alms from place to place but will not find anybody to accept it.” [Sahih Bukhari]

A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, which kind of charity is best?” He said, “Giving charity when you are in good health, and feeling stingy, hoping for a long life and fearing poverty.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]

A man said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “Direct me to a deed which may admit me to Jannah.” Upon this the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Worship Allah and never associate anything with Him in worship, establish prayer, pay zakat (the obligatory charity), and strengthen the ties of kinship.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

“In the morning, charity is due on every joint bone of the body of everyone of you. Every utterance of Allah’s glorification (i.e. saying SubhanAllah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His praise (i.e. saying Alhamdulillah) is an act of charity and every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (i.e. saying La ilaaha illAllah) is an act of charity; and enjoining ma’ruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two rak’ah duha prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” [Muslim]

“There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” [Bukhari]

Benefits of Charity

1. Purification

خُذۡ مِنۡ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ صَدَقَةً۬ تُطَهِّرُهُمۡ وَتُزَكِّيہِم بِہَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيۡهِمۡ‌ۖ إِنَّ صَلَوٰتَكَ سَكَنٌ۬ لَّهُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (١٠٣)

“Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [Allah’s blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” [Qur’an; 9:103]

Giving in charity protects the giver from miserliness, hypocrisy, sins, and minor imperfections in earning. It is a physical act which purifies the heart of many negative qualities and trains the heart to love Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and give for His sake rather than being attached to the wealth that He has bestowed on us. The more frequently one gives, the easier it becomes to not be attached. In addition, the more one gives, the more love one develops for Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

A man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “O Allah’s Messenger! What kind of charity is the best?” He replied. “To give in charity when you are healthy and greedy hoping to be wealthy and afraid of becoming poor. Don’t delay giving in charity till the time when you are on the death bed when you say, ‘Give so much to soand- so and so much to so-and so,’ and at that time the property is not yours but it belongs to so-and-so (i.e. your inheritors).” [Bukhari]

One must remember that when he gives, it is not necessarily so that he does the recipient a favor. The recipient is doing him a favor by allowing the giver to engage in charity, to dispense the obligatory charity as well as to earn reward for additional giving and earn the pleasure of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

2. Increase

Giving from what one has is a form of showing gratitude to the Giver. It is Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) who gave us the resources and opportunity to be charitable, possibly even as a test to see how we perform with those resources and opportunities. Gratitude generates increase. In addition, we can ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to increase it for us and give us better rewards in the Hereafter.

وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬ (٧)

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” [Qur’an; 14:7]

“Whoever among you wakes up physically healthy, feeling safe and secure within himself, with food for the day, it is as if he acquired the whole world.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

The Islamic term for the obligatory giving–‘zakah‘–has two meanings: that of ‘purity’ and ‘increase’. The optional acts of giving are termed ‘sadaqah‘.

3. Sympathy

Giving in charity is an opportunity to alleviate the pain of those in need and, in return, it also heals one’s own heart. While we have facilities to give from the comfort of our own homes at the click of a button, what is more effective is to visit the recipient personally, engage them in conversation, speak good words, and to give the charity personally. This has a profound impact in any situation but especially more so in the case of those in dire need–such as refugees, victims of various disaster, etc.


A Story on What We Have Vs. What We Would be Willing to Give

Harun al-Rashid–one of the richest of the Abbasid Caliphs–once heard of a righteous scholar named Ibn As-Sammaak and requested his presence in his chamber to give him good counsel. When the scholar arrived, the Caliph had ordered a glass of water to drink.

Seeing this, Ibn Samaak asked, “what would you give if no water was available to you and you were forced to trade for this one cup of water?”

Harun al-Rashid replied, “I would give at the very least half of my kingdom.”

The scholar then asked, “And what would you give if you were unable to release the waste of that water from your body?”

The Caliph said, “I would give the other half of my kingdom.”

The scholar smiled and told the Caliph, “What value is your kingdom if it can be bought with a glass of water.”

We can take this story to heart and remind ourselves that everything we own–be it property, money, vehicles, etc.–is worth only a glass of water. Wealth does have its benefit when treated and used in the right way. It’s value is only seen when it is used in accordance with the pleasure of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and avoiding His displeasure. It is more valuable when it is given away for His sake sake than when it is held back in miserliness. Likewise there may be times when it is more wise to hold back for His sake than to spend it, such as when tempted to spend on something sinful or to be extravagant.

Keeping in mind that all wealth is from Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), it serves well to have a healthy sense of fear that He can take it away if one were to misuse the blessing of wealth.

“The son of Adam says, ‘My wealth, my wealth,’ but your wealth is what you eat and consume, or what you wear and it wears out, or what you give in charity and send on ahead (for the Hereafter).” [Sunan An-Nasa’i]

“If the son of Adam (the human being) had two valleys of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam’s son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Charity is one of the best ways to use wealth. It is not actually giving away but rather an investment into the Hereafter. The money you spend on food and clothing is for temporary benefit on things that perish, whereas charity is an investment that helps you on the Day of Judgment.

“You will be rewarded for whatever you spend for Allah’s sake even if it were a morsel which you put in your wife’s mouth.” [Sahih Bukhari]

مَّثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٲلَهُمۡ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنۢبَتَتۡ سَبۡعَ سَنَابِلَ فِى كُلِّ سُنۢبُلَةٍ۬ مِّاْئَةُ حَبَّةٍ۬‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُضَـٰعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ (٢٦١)

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Qur’an; 2:261]

We can remind ourselves of the suffering of those less fortunate by looking at pictures of those in destitute situations around the world, and by reading and watching their stories. If one is not moved by the state of these brothers and sisters in humanity, then it is pertinent to question the state of one’s heart.

Waqf (Charitable Endowment)

Muslims have traditionally been known to establish waqf (charitable endowments) for the benefit of the community. Such endowments are typically in the form of buildings, property, or farmland, and these are maintained under specific rules. Traditionally, predominantly Muslim communities have been known to take care of people from the cradle to the grave by means of such generous endowments so people were not left unattended to or in need despite their circumstances. When reading about the travels of Ibn Batuta, for instance, one comes across narrations of the vast amounts of charitable endowments established by the community in Damascus.

Further Resources

Feeding the hungry

Salat ad-Duha

Environmental, social & corporate governance