by Shaykh Maulana Yunus Patel (rahmatullah alayh)
Alhamdulillah, we find that with the commencement of Ramadaan, thousands of Muslims begin to contribute to different noble causes – whether these are specific for Ramadaan, such as providing Iftaar, Sehri or hampers for the poor, or whether in respect to the general efforts made to alleviate the plight of those who are suffering in different parts of the world. …So monies begin to pour in by way of Zakaah, Sadaqah and Lillah – Alhamdulillah. May Allah Ta’ala accept the different contributions.
There is, however, one shortfall when it comes to the payment of Zakaah, and that is, that the majority choose to give their Zakaah in the month of Ramadaan, thinking that they are getting a greater reward giving in Ramadaan; whereas for many, their Zakaah was sometimes due months before.
This deliberate delay in payment of Zakaah makes the person a faasiq (an open transgressor). …Even though one is paying later and that too, in the blessed month of Ramadaan, one reaches Ramadaan and one enters Ramadaan, as a flagrant sinner. Allah Ta’ala save us and forgive us.
The setback to this pattern and tendency is that we have an overwhelming amount of Zakaah and charity paid out in the month of Ramadaan. And since Zakaah is something which needs to be distributed and discharged as soon as possible, we find that for the next 11 months, many organisations do not have such funds to continue their assistance to the poor and needy – because of the imbalance created.
If everyone paid his or her Zakaah timeously, when it is due – whether Muharram, Safar, Rabiul Awwal, Rajab, instead of all being given out in the month of Ramadaan – then some equilibrium would be established in the discharge of Zakaah and in the assistance rendered to the poor and needy for the remaining year.
Moreover, this payment of Zakaah in its correct time, should not thereafter make the giver negligent in spending in other avenues at other times. We should increase our generosity in the month of Ramadaan and also spend whenever and wherever there may be a call for assistance – and that spending should be from our wealth. …Because Zakaah is not our wealth. It does not belong to us, that we can keep and use as we wish. It rightfully belongs to the poor. It is their wealth. So we should be giving from our own wealth, over and above Zakaah.
Furthermore, when giving Zakaah or Sadaqah, then it is very important to keep in mind, the dignity of the recipient and to give with respect and consideration.
Many people consider that they are doing a favour to the poor and needy when giving charity, and they do so in a manner which demeans and debases the poor and needy.
Let us understand this point: We are in need of them. The reality is that we are the needy ones, for if there were no poor, needy and destitute people in the world, to whom would we give our Zakaah and discharge that due? To whom would we give our Sadaqaat and draw rewards?
Moreover, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi waSallam) described the poor as ‘very rich people’ and directed us to keep contact with them and spend on them because on the Day of Judgment they will be told to lead every such person who favoured them, into Jannah.
Other Ahaadeeth describe how, in the Hereafter, the poor will be the ones who will come to the assistance of those who did them a good turn in the worldly life. The poor will thus become the means of najaat (salvation) for many who may have been very wealthy in this worldly life. They may even be the ones who will hold our hands and take us with them into Jannah.
Thus, we need to be conscious and mindful of the dignity and self-respect of the poor. They too have a right to respect.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us this understanding, grant us the Taufeeq to practice accordingly, grant us sincerity in our spending and accept our Zakaah, Sadaqaat and other humble efforts to please Him.