May 03, 2020

Charity and the Sri Lankan Muslim community in this holy Month:

- by Dr SLM RIFAI. UK -

              No religion gives a significant place for charity like Islam does. Hundreds of Qur’an verses and prophetic traditions highlight the significance of giving charity. Once a former British PM said that the British Muslim community is the most charitable community in the UK. He may have come to such a conclusion from the available statistics at HMRC office in England. Each year, the British Muslim community gives away millions of pounds in charity. This is not a unique social phenomenon in the UK alone, rather the Muslim community all over the world does the same thing. The Muslim community must share their fortune and wealth with their next-door neighbours even if they are not Muslims. Islamic law states that if a person dies out of famine in any Muslim village, the entire Muslim community is responsible for the death of that person. 

               Humanity suffers today immensely due to the spread of the deadly corona virus. Millions of people have lost their jobs or can not go to work due to this abnormal situation. At this moment giving charity is most rewarding than any other time. The companions of our beloved Prophet had set some good examples and precedents for giving charity. The Almighty Allah praised them for their sacrifice and charity. Some revelation came down in praising and appreciating the charitable work of some of the companions. We read the following verse that praises the charitable attitude of companions of the prophet Mohammad.  

“They give them preference over themselves, even if they too are poor. Those who are saved from their own souls’ greed are truly successful”. (Qur’an: 59:9). We all know the story behind this verse. A companion came to the prophet asking him to feed him. The Prophet asked his wife to feed him and she said there was nothing to feed except some water. So, the prophet asked some of his companions to take him as a guest. One of the companions took him in as a guest. Yet, his wife told him that there was no additional meal except the meal being prepared for his children. He told his wife to switch off the table lamp and put their children into bed and to prepare the meal for his guest. The companion served the meal to his guest. He and his wife pretended as if they were eating the meal behind the curtain. On this occasion, the above-mentioned verse of the holy Qur’an was revealed praising the mind set and kindness of this couple. They gave away their own meal for their guest even though they needed it for themselves and for their children. The religion of Islam is still producing such people even today.
“None of you (believers) will attain true piety unless you give out of what you cherish” (Qura’n;3;92). This verse persuaded one of the companions to donate one of his best gardens. Right now, everyone is suffering due to this deadly virus. There is no doubt about that and yet, Allah has given a gold opportunity to rich people to earn abundant rewards from this calamity.  Truly, this is a test for them to see if they spend their money and wealth when people need help. It is very much gratifying to see the good work of Al-Hajj- Mubarak; the owner of No-Limit. He sets some good examples by donating abundantly at this difficult time. It is reported that he has paid monthly salaries for his employees although they do not come to work. An excellent act of charity at this dreadful time. 
        It is wonderful to see that the Muslim community is sharing with all other communities in this difficult time. In fact, one of the main teachings of Buddhism is to renounce the material world and to free human souls from greed and desire. There is no better time for true Buddhist to show their compassion and kindness than this time. In fact, many Buddhist temples have been helping Sri Lankan communities without any discrimination. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka must work with them in this humanitarian work. Islam encourages us to cooperate in good charitable works with humanity. So, collective charitable work is very much encouraged in Islam. We hope and pray such initiatives are taken by all communities in Sri Lanka. 

  Humanity is boasting about its technological and scientific achievement in this digital world. It has money and wealth to create satellite stations in space and send missions to discover other planets and yet, on this planet earth, millions of people are starving to death. While the one percent of rich people enjoy 99% of their wealth, millions of people live on one dollar per day. This is what modern capitalism has done to this world. There is not any economic system that encourages equally distribution as Islam does. So called socialism, communism and capitalism all have failed to deliver. Now is high time for humanity to taste the Islamic economic principles on wealth distribution. Unfortunately, the contemporary Muslim world has failed to put the truly Islamic economic principles in practice and application. 

In principle, Islamic teachings on charity are par-excellent than any other world religions and yet, in practice, the Muslim community has utterly failed to develop Islamic charity into systematic financial institutions. Many Muslim economists have highlighted this failure. The west has developed its financial institutions, banks, companies and cooperative institutions long time ago. Yet, the Muslim world has utterly failed to provide any systematic organization or institutional mechanism to collect and distribute charities in Islam. In Sri Lanka too, we have been giving Zakat and other charities for years, and yet, it has not been systematically organised at all. Sometimes, some people may get charities from plentiful  people while others get nothing due to lack of any systemization in giving charities. So, it is duty of the community leaders to invent a good mechanism to collect and distribute Islamic charities in our country. 

1 கருத்துரைகள்:

Charity begins at home, when I happen to inquire about the above writer from his village, he has come out with the true picture of this writer which I never expected from his own people and I immediately stopped talking to him. So dear writer I was made to understand that his own relatives are suffering from poverty and lack of basic necessities in his home village, please try to help them as a man with substantial income owner in UK you have all the capabilities to do that.

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