Spending in the way of Allah (SWT) is one of the important characteristics of a true believer. Allah (SWT) not only commands us but motivates us in a beautiful way.
For example Allah (SWT) says in Al-Baqarah # 265
And the likeness of those who spend their wealth in the search of Allah’s pleasure, and the strengthening of their souls, is as the likeness of a garden on the height. When the rainstorms strikes it, it brings forth its fruits twofold and if rainstorm does not strike it then a little shower is enough. Allah (SWT) is Seer of what you do.
It is easy to talk about spending for the sake of Allah (SWT), but it requires a considerable amount of will power to do so. Hence spending in this way strengthens the soul and morale of a person. Furthermore even a tiny spending with true sincerity is enough to earn a big reward from Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) motivates us in Surah Al-Hadeed # 7 in a different way:
Believe in Allah (SWT) and his messenger and spend of what Allah (SWT) has made you trustees. Hence those of you who are believers and spend, there will be great reward.
Here Allah (SWT) is explaining to us, that whatever we have was owned by someone before us. Similarly whatever we have now will be owned by someone else after us. Hence we have temporary custody of it or we are only acting as trustees. Hence we should have no hesitation in spending from whatever is in our temporary ownership. Secondly, it is made clear that only those who are believers and spend in the way of Allah (SWT) will have a great reward from Him. We conclude that if a disbeliever spends in charity he will have no reward from it on the Day of Judgement although he may get some kind of reward in this world.
In Surah Al-Hadeed # 10 Allah (SWT) says:
What hesitation should you have in spending in the way of Allah (SWT) when everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Allah (SWT).
Here is another interesting way to motivate and guide us to spend in the way of Allah (SWT). For example do any one of us own any part of the Heavens? Obviously not. In fact all Heavens belong to Allah (SWT) alone. Exactly in the same way whatever is on the earth truly belongs to Allah (SWT) although we erroneously say “This is my car, my house or this is my clinic.” Allah (SWT) by bringing the word heavens along with earth is explaining to us that just like everything in the heavens belongs to Allah (SWT), everything in the earth also belongs to Allah (SWT). We should have no hesitation in spending in the way of Allah (SWT) from what already belongs to Allah (SWT). Hence Allah (SWT) invites us: Al Hadid # 11
Who is ready to give a sincere loan to Allah (SWT) so that He can double it for him and give him a generous reward beyond it.
What do we mean by a big reward or a generous reward .This can best be understood by examining the following verse from Surah An-Naba # 36
There is reward for you from your Lord and an additional gift according to your (sincerity).
The bounties of Paradise far exceed the reward we deserve for good deeds. Hence in addition to a reward there is a gift from Allah (SWT). The size of the gift is according to the sincerity and intention. Allah (SWT) calls it a big reward or a generous reward in various parts of the Quran. Hence we will be rewarded for spending in the way of Allah (SWT) according to the intentions and sincerity.
Anas (RU) narrated that Prophet Mohammad (SAS) said: “If a person has a valley full of gold he will not be satisfied. This person would like to have another valley full of gold. As a matter of fact only the dust of the grave can fill the mouth of a person.” (Bukhari)
Ubbi bin Kaab said that this hadith was repeated so often, we thought it was part of the Quran till Surah Al-Takathur # 1-8 was revealed where Allah (SWT) says:
The mutual rivalry diverts you. Until you visit the graves. Nay! you shall come to know! Again nay! You shall come to know. Nay! If you knew with sure knowledge. Verily, You shall see the blazing fire! And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then on that day you shall be asked about the delights (you indulged in, in this world)!
Ibn Omar narrates that one time Prophet Mohammad (SAS) addressed his companions and said, “You should recite 1000 verses of the Quran every day.” The companions said, “Maybe someday we can’t recite 1000 verses of the Quran.” The Prophet said, “Can’t you read Surah Al Takathur” (Al-Mazhari) It means the message in this surah is equivalent to 1000 verses. Hence it is human weakness to accumulate and hold more and more until our deathbed. It is however obligatory for a believer to pay Zakat which is 2-1/2 % of the income of a person’s income. Allah (SWT) mentions this Zakat along with Salat in the Quran most of the time. In other words even Salat is not accepted till Zakat is paid. Caliph Abu Bakr understood this the best. He sent forces against those who refused to pay Zakat although they were performing Salat and observing Fasting.
Allah (SWT) says in Surah Muzzamil # 20
Establish prayer and pay Zakat and give a sincere loan to Allah (SWT).
Here Allah (SWT) is guiding us to not only to pay Zakat but to pay additional charity sincerely. Characteristics of true believers are mentioned in various parts of the Quran. Allah (SWT) says in Surah
Az-Zariyat # 17-19
They used to sleep very little in the night and before the dawn of each day would seek forgiveness and in their wealth there is a share for beggars and the poor.
Simalarly Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Ma’arij # 24, 25
And in their wealth they acknowledge well defined portion for the beggar and the destitute.
This well defined mathematically known portion is fixed by Allah (SWT) for all times in the form of Zakat which is 2.5% of the income. Allah (SWT) also mentions in Surah Al-Insan # 8,9
And they provide food for the needy, the orphan and the prisoner for the love of Allah (SWT)alone. (Saying) “We feed you, for the sake of Allah (SWT) only. We wish no reward or thanks from you.”
Sometimes we wonder why Allah (SWT) made Prophet Mohammad (SAS) an orphan. Allah (SWT) knows best. Perhaps one reason could be that Allah (SWT) wanted to teach Prophet Mohammad (SAS) what the life of an orphan was like. This was a necessary training for one who was going to be the mercy for the whole universe.
The companions of Prophet Mohammad (SAS) had very spontaneous effect from the guidance of Allah (SWT). For example you recall the verse Al-Imran # 92
You cannot attain true piety unless you spend in the way of Allah (SWT) what you love the most.
As soon as Abu Talha (RU) listened to this verse, he went running to Prophet Mohammad (SAS) and gave his best garden in charity. Similarly Zaid bin Haris (RU) gave his best horse in charity.
I pray to Allah (SWT) to enable us to pay Zakat and sadaqa punctually, sincerely and generously. Ameen.