Almsgiving

Posted on 03/13/2012 by marina

Wikis > Dictionary of Islam > Almsgiving

ALMSGIVING. The word generally used for alms is Sadaqah, or that which manifests righteousness; the word zakat, or purification, being specially restricted to the legal alms. [ZAKAT.] Sadaqatu ‘l-Fitr are the offerings given on the Lesser Festival. The duty of alnisgiving is very frequently enjoined in the Qur’an, e.g. Surah ii. 274-5, “What ye expend of good (i.e. of well- gotten wealth), it shall be paid to you again, and ye shall not be wronged. (Give your alms) unto the poor who are straitened in God’s way and cannot traverse the earth. … Those who expend their wealth by night and by day, secretly and openly, they shall have their hire with their Lord.”
The following are some of the sayings of Muhammad on the subject of almsgiving, as they occur in the Traditions;- “The upper hand is better than the lower one. The upper hand is the giver of alms, and the lower hand is the poor beggar.” “The best of alms are those given by a man of small means, who gives of that which he has earned by labour, and gives as much as he is able.”
“Begin by giving alms to your own relatives.”
“Doing justice between two people is alms; assisting a man on his beast is alms; good words are alms.” “A camel lent out for milk is alms ; a cup of milk every morning and evening is alms.” “Your smiling in your brother’s face is alms; assisting the blind is alms.” “God says, Be thou liberal, thou child of Adam that I may be liberal to thee.” (See Mishkat; Matthew’s edition, vol. i. p. 429.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam