The poor awaits your acts of charity – By Prof.  Afis Oladosu


Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. (Quran 12: 111)

Yes. It is Zakat or Sadaqah. The first is definitive or decisive, the second is in inconclusive and indecisive. Zakat is given annually, Sadaqah is given every day the sun shines in the heavens. Yes. Zakat is third in the hierarchy of our duties and responsibilities as Muslims. Read the Last Testament. The Quran, there you would discover that whenever Salat is mentioned as a duty, next in importance to be mentioned is Zakat, alms given to the poor (Quran 24: 55=56). In fact, to underscore its importance, the Prophet (s.a.w) is reported to have said that “he is not one of us he who fills his stomach while his neighbour suffers from pangs of hunger”.

In Islam, acts of charity are so important that even the poor has to be involved. In another tradition, the Prophet says again: “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people asked, “O Prophet of the Almighty! 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.”

Acts of charity become doubly rewarding during the month of Ramadan. It becomes extremely important particularly today when the coronavirus pandemic has rendered homesteads very homely, when breadwinners have become ‘bread-losers’, when families are finding it difficult to put meals on their table. Hardly would a day passes us by without voices of the weak and the helpless be brought to our hearing. To be in positions of ease such that one could extend hands of kindness and charity to the other is therefore a rare blessing we should treasure.

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