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Charity as Portrayed in the Narrations of the Ahlul Bayt (AS)

15th Ramadan marks the birthday anniversary of Imam Hasan (AS), a immensely generous Imam that was called Karim of Ahl al-Bayt ( Generous of Ahl al-Bayt). For this occasion, we look at some narrations of the Ahl al-Bayt (AS) regarding charity and its merits.

The Shia’s second Imam (AS) was immensely generous, and because of that he was called “Karim” “Sakhi” and “Jawad” (three Arabic words meaning a generous person). It is reported that he donated all his properties and wealth to charity twice in his life and donated half of all he had three times to the poor and needy. One day, he heard a man praying to God for ten-thousand dirhams. The Imam (AS) went home and sent the man the amount. Because of his vast generosity, the Imam (AS) has been called by the Shia “the Generous One.” It is also reported that he was greatly attentive to people who needed his help such that he would even leave his i’tikaf and tawaf to help those who asked him for help and he would refer to a hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) according to which he who fulfills a need of a believer is like one who worships God for years.

For this occasion, we look at some narrations of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) regarding charity and its merits.

Charity, shade for those who pay:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص أَرْضُ الْقِيَامَةِ نَارٌ مَا خَلَا ظِلَّ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَإِنَّ صَدَقَتَهُ تُظِلُّهُ

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The earth on the Day of Resurrection will be scorching, except for the shadow of a believer, for verily his charity will serve him as shade.’ Thawab al-A’mal, p. 140.

Charity, a shield against the Hell:

إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ لَتُطْفِئُ غَضَبَ الرَّب

The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Verily charity extinguishes the wrath of the Lord.’  Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46 p. 100

الصَّدَقَةُ جُنَّةٌ عَظِيمَةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ لِلْمُؤْمِن

Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘Charity acts as a great shield against the fire for the believer.’  Al-Khisal, vol. 2, p. 634

Allah’s first-hand receipt of charity

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى يَقُولُ مَا مِنْ شَيْ‏ءٍ إِلَّا وَ قَدْ وَكَّلْتُ بِهِ مَنْ يَقْبِضَهُ غَيْرِي إِلَّا الصَّدَقَةَ فَإِنِّي أَتَلَقَّفُهَا بِيَدِي تَلَقُّفاً

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘Verily Allah, Blessed and Most High, says, ‘In My stead, I have entrusted every single thing to the one who grasps it, except for charity, for verily I immediately seize that up in My Hand.” Al-Tahzib, vol. 4 p. 109

Charity and repelling calamities and afflictions

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص الصَّدَقَةُ تَمْنَعُ مِيتَةَ السَّوْءِ

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Charity prevents an undignified death’. Tanbih al-Khawatir, vol. 2, p. 33

قَالَ النَّبِيُّ ص الصَّدَقَةُ تَسُدُّ سَبْعِينَ بَاباً مِنَ الشَّر

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Charity blocks seventy doorways to evil.’ Al-Da’awat, p. 107

Charity, a cure for illnesses

تَصَدَّقُوا وداوُوا مَرضاكُم بالصَّدَقَةِ؛ فإنَّ الصَّدَقةَ تَدفَعُ عنِ الأعراضِ والأمراضِ، وهِيَ زيادَةٌ في أعمارِكُم وحَسَناتِكُم .

The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Give charity, and cure your sick ones through the giving of charity, for verily charity repels accidents and illnesses, and is a source of an increase in your life spans and your good deeds.’ Kanz al-‘Ummal, 16113

Charity increases one’s rizq (sustenance)

وَ اسْتَنْزِلُوا الرِّزْقَ بِالصَّدَقَة

 Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘Attract sustenance by giving charity.’ Kashf al-Ghumma, vol. 2, p. 207

عَنْ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ع أَنَّهُ قَالَ إِذَا أَمْلَقْتُمْ فَتَاجِرُوا اللَّهَ بِالصَّدَقَةِ

 Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘If you are reduced to poverty, then trade with Allah through giving in charity.’ Nahjul Balaghah, Saying 258

Charity, a way to repay the debts:

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِنَّ الصَّدَقَةَ تَقْضِي الدَّيْنَ وَ تَخْلُفُ بِالْبَرَكَة

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘Giving in charity helps settle debts and leaves behind blessings.’ ‘Uddat-u al-Da’i, p. 69

Different types of charity

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ص أَنَّهُ قَالَ إِنَّ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ فِي كُلِّ يَوْمٍ صَدَقَةً قِيلَ مَنْ يُطِيقُ ذَلِكَ قَالَ ص إِمَاطَتُكَ الْأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ صَدَقَةٌ وَ إِرْشَادُكَ الضَّالَّ إِلَى الطَّرِيقِ صَدَقَةٌ وَ عِيَادَتُكَ الْمَرِيضَ صَدَقَةٌ وَ أَمْرُكَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ صَدَقَةٌ وَ نَهْيُكَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ صَدَقَةٌ وَ رَدُّكَ السَّلَامَ صَدَقَةٌ

The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Verily every single Muslim is to give in charity every single day.’ When asked who would be capable of such a thing, he replied, ‘Your removal of an obstacle from the road is a charitable act; your guiding someone the way is a charitable act; your visiting the sick is a charitable act; your enjoinment of good to others is a charitable act; your forbidding others from wrongdoing is a charitable act, and your returning the greeting of peace is a charitable act.’ Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 7, p.

صَدَقَةٌ يُحِبُّهَا اللَّهُ إِصْلَاحُ بَيْنِ النَّاسِ إِذَا تَفَاسَدُوا وَ تَقَارُبُ بَيْنِهِمْ إِذَا تَبَاعَدُوا

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘A charitable act that Allah loves indeed is reconciling people when they have become estranged to one another, and bringing them close together when they have become distanced from each other.’ Al-Amali by Shaykh Mufid, p. 12

عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ إِسْمَاعُ الْأَصَمِّ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَضَجُّرٍ صَدَقَةٌ هَنِيئَةٌ

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘Making a deaf person hear without becoming irritated is a wholesome act of charity.’ Mishkat al-Anwar, p.220

Not postponing paying charity

سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص أَيُّ الصَّدَقَةِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ أَنْ تَصَدَّقَ وَ أَنْتَ صَحِيحٌ شَحِيحٌ تَأْمُلُ الْبَقَاءَ وَ تَخَافُ الْفَقْرَ وَ لَا تُمْهِلْ حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَتِ الْحُلْقُومَ قُلْتُ لِفُلَانٍ كَذَا وَ لِفُلَانٍ كَذَا أَلَا وَ قَدْ كَانَ لِفُلَانٍ

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The best form of charity is to give away when one is healthy and covetous when one has high hopes of one’s livelihood and fears poverty. Do not wait until you are breathing your last to bequeath to others, saying: ‘this is for x and this is for y, and this belonged to z.’ Al-Amali by Shaykh Tusi, p. 398

Paying charity while in need

أفضَلُ الصَّدَقةِ سِرٌّ إلى فَقيرٍ وجُهدٌ مِن مُقِلٍّ

The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The best form of charity is that which is secretly given to the poor by one whom himself has little to offer.’ Kanz al-‘Ummal, no. 16250

Charity with one’s tongue

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص إِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الصَّدَقَةِ صَدَقَةُ اللِّسَانِ تُحْقَنُ بِهِ الدِّمَاءُ وَ تُدْفَعُ بِهِ الْكَرِيهَةُ وَ تَجُرُّ الْمَنْفَعَةَ إِلَى أَخِيكَ الْمُسْلِم‏

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The best form of charity is a charity with one’s tongue through which lives are spared, adversities repelled, and benefits attracted towards one’s Muslim brother.’ Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 13, p. 389.

Charity in the form of gaining knowledge

قَالَ ص أَفْضَلُ الصَّدَقَةِ أَنْ يَعْلَمَ الْمَرْءُ عِلْماً ثُمَّ يُعَلِّمَهُ أَخَاهُ

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The best form of charity is for the Muslim to gain knowledge and then teach it to his fellow Muslim brother.’ Munyat al-Murid, p. 105

Charity in the form of quenching one’s thirst

أَفْضَلُ الصَّدَقَةِ إِبْرَادُ الْكَبِدِ الْحَرَّى

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘The best form of charity is to cool down someone’s internal heat [by quenching their thirst].’ Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 172.

Giving charity in secret

وَ صَدَقَةُ السِّرِّ فَإِنَّهَا تُطْفِئُ الْخَطِيئَةَ وَ تُطْفِئُ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ

 Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘giving charity secretly for verily it atones for one’s misdeed and extinguishes God’s anger’. Man la Yahzuruh-u al-Faqih, vol. 1, p. 205

لَا تَتَصَدَّقْ عَلَى أَعْيُنِ النَّاسِ لِيُزَكُّوكَ فَإِنَّكَ إِنْ فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدِ اسْتَوْفَيْتَ أَجْرَكَ وَ لَكِنْ إِذَا أَعْطَيْتَ بِيَمِينِكَ فَلَا تُطْلِعْ عَلَيْهَا شِمَالَكَ فَإِنَّ الَّذِي تَتَصَدَّقُ لَهُ سِرّاً يُجْزِيكَ عَلَانِيَة

 Imam al-Sadiq (AS) said, ‘Do not give charity openly for people to see and commend you for it, for verily when you do that, you have already received your reward for it [in their commendation]. However, if you give with your right hand such that your left-hand does not come to know it, then the One for whose sake you have secretly given charity will surely reward you for it openly.’ Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, p. 305

The limits for charity

قال النبي ص المعتدي في الصدقة كمانعها

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘The one who gives excessive charity is as the one who withholds it.’ Fiqh al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 237

The etiquette of giving charity

تصدقوا من غير مخيلة فإن المخيلة تبطل الأجر

 The Prophet (PBUH) said, ‘Give in charity without conceitedness, for verily conceitedness does away with your reward [for it].’ Tanbih al-Khawatir, vol. 2, p. 119

المطل و المن منكد الإحسان

Imam Ali (AS) said, ‘Delaying [one’s promise of] giving and reproaching someone for a gift embitters the goodness of the favor.’ Ghurar al-Hikam, no. 1595



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This article was written by Hujjat al-Islam Seyed Mostafa Daryabari and Dr. Morteza Karimi.

About Ali Teymoori

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