“If you have little, give little; if you own a middling amount, give the middling amount; if you have much, give much. It is not fitting not to give at all. Kosiya, I say to you, share your wealth, use it. Tread the path of the Noble Ones. One who eats alone eats unhappily.”
When Buddha, the one who attained enlightenment, said this, he was actually pointing out how futile and meaningless it is to possess the wealth that you never use.
Whenever I think of Zakat, which means the virtuous act of almsgiving, my thoughts traverse along the ideals of many noble ones cutting across religion though it is predominantly a tenet of Islam, which believes equity of humanity is rooted in charity.
No doubt, the modern-day corporate trend of philanthropy has its origin in the vision of the Holy Prophet who said, “The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person.” However, when millions are given in charity by the corporate entities and the people on the top of it make headlines this most virtuous act of the followers of Islam often goes unnoticed, mainly because it has been ingrained in the lives of the people who follow that faith. It comes from their heart, not from the pocket. The positive impact of this act of charity, especially during the holy month of Ramdan, is visible everywhere in the form of ‘zakat’, which has a codified form in the Islamic faith. As we all know, providing donation is part of the philosophy of Islam. At least 2.5 percent of your wealth should go to charity, it says. This makes life better by ensuring food, education, healthcare and other necessities of the life of the poor and the needy, which need money.
However, what is money after all? The currency in my wallet? As long as it is kept safe there, it never makes me richer in any manner; nor does it help a human being to overcome hunger! It is just a piece of paper where there is no peace. The cash that we deposit in the bank makes us wealthier, we feel, but that is a wrong notion, which again goes against principles of divinity. The interest I get is not mine, which means the wealth I amass is someone else’s sweat. That is why we believe money kept in bank is unholy and it is not real wealth as long as it is not exchanged hands, thus shedding light in the lives of others.
Yes, the month of Ramadan is not just the month of giving; it is the time of deep reflection and sacrifice that make our life more joyous. When we transfer the wealth to the poor, in the form of money, food or shelter, there is an act of purification taking place within us. When the people around you become comfortable and happy, the society becomes happy thus promoting sustainable development, which no bank balance can provide. Moreover, this kind of development is more equitable that makes the society richer not just in terms of material gains but in terms of spiritual height as well. That is why the concept of Islamic Banking, which goes against the concept of interest on money deposited is gaining ground globally.
It is estimated that various organizations and the virtuous people pay over three trillion dollar in the form of zakat. However, most of them keep silent about it, because it is more rewarding when you give charity without disclosing, and without bothering about the headline. But, through your windows the Almighty sees everything because it is an act of pure love, and it is in that purity that the Almighty makes the presence felt, like the beacon that guides us to the paths of light and realization.
If we use money for material gains alone, life becomes meaningless and hence it is time we thought of our spiritual development as well, and let this holy month be the time of that realisation. Yes, when you start loving others and living for them as well you are demolishing the barrier between you and them, and that is the holiest act that every religion propagates!
About the author : Reena Abdul Rahman is the Chief Operating Officer of Al Hind Travels & Tours
Disclaimer : The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of TAS and TAS does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.