Islam

Friday Sermon: Allah’s Post Office

By Babatunde Jose

All world religions preach charity as an essential ingredient for salvation. Charity has always been seen as a way of bringing social justice to the world where the haves get a disproportionate slice of the bounties of life, leaving the other halve to wallow in poverty, misery and want. Islam and other religions therefore, call upon followers to reach out with open hands and give charity as a way of life.

In the Quran, charity is often mentioned along with prayer, as one of the factors that identify true believers. The Quran frequently uses the words “regular charity,” which implies an ongoing and consistent activity, not just a one-off.

It is a general understanding that society can flourish only if the members spend their wealth not only to serve themselves but also in helping the needy. Islam suggests charity should begin from home. So for any person, after fulfilling the needs of the family, it is necessary to serve people nearby them in any way possible.

Charity provokes the feelings of well-wishing and kindness which are considered a true essence of living.

Giving nourishes our souls and triggers our concerns for others and their well-being. Islam also places an emphasis on feeding the needy and is considered as one of the best acts in Islam. By giving from whatever we are blessed with, we realize that all that we have belong to Allah and must be used for the well-being of others.

Giving in no way reduces our wealth neither does it diminish our possessions. We must learn to give and to share with others. Helping others today will never leave you helpless in your bad times. Therefore learn to give and learn to share the blessing you are given. Your riches are not the result of your doing but the grace and benevolence of God. The sage said: mimose t’Oluwa ni, aimose t’Oluwani’; getting it right is by the grace of God and not getting it is the will of God, the will of God shall always prevail. See also ZECHARIAH 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power . . . . .”

This is where my late father comes in, when he opined that the gift of riches to the wealthy is not for his self aggrandizement but for him to act as ‘Allah’s Post Office’ for the redistribution of the blessings to less endowed fellows. It is therefore in furtherance of this that people set up foundations and philanthropic organizations. Thus it is because of the poor and less privileged that Allah blesses the rich. The rich man was created because of the poor. Failing to lend them a helping hand and spread the joy amounts to selfishness, which is an act inimical to the wishes of Allah. Hence, he might not make Jannatul Firdous.

There is no doubt we all come with nothing and will go back with nothing. Which brings us to the story of the rich man as told by late Yussuf Olatunji, ‘Baba Legba’ of blessed  memory: There lived a rich man that God blessed beyond imagination. He not only had money but was wealthy more than the proverbial Qarun. He had wives and numerous children. His barn was well stocked with food and his stable had many horses which were usually adorned with ornaments when he was going out. But, and that great but, the rich man was more miserly and stingy than Silas Manner. He refused to neither share nor help the needy. His countenance when he had a visitor was always so depressed and morose because he did not want to entertain his visitors. But, as all things ‘bright and beautiful’ must end one day; the rich man died. On getting to heaven, he found himself in the Lord’s vineyard. God, the owner of Heaven and Earth, the giver of all riches approached and welcomed the rich man to His domain. He asked; what did you bring for me? The rich man was perplexed and humbled. He had no answer for God as he had returned to his maker the way he left for the world; alas, he spread his palms and told God: ‘See my palms Baba, I have come empty.’

This incidence exemplifies our fate when we die. Both the rich and the poor will go back with nothing. We come to the world with nothing and will return with nothing; Allahuakbar!  Why not do good deeds and earn reward that would be counted in your favour on the Day of Qiyyama?

No doubt, ‘Charity obliterates sins just as water extinguishes fire.’ Tirmidhi. The Prophet said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his
charity.”
 And Allah said; “O believers! Donate from what We have provided for you . . . . . .. . . (Quran 2:254)

‘A man giving a dirham as sadaqah (charity) during his life is better than giving one hundred dirhams as charity at the moment of his death.’ –  Abu Dawood

There are men worth emulating for their kindness and acts of charity towards their fellow men. This is not the place to name them. They know themselves and we pray that Allah will use their acts of charity to extinguish the wrath of the Lord for their minor transgressions.

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has said: “Every single Muslim must give charity every single day.” When asked who would be capable of doing such a thing, he replied, “your removal of an obstacle in the road is a charitable act; your guiding someone is a charitable act; your visit to the sick is a charitable act; your enjoinment of good to others is a charitable act; your forbidding of others from wrongdoing is a charitable act, and your returning the greeting of peace is a charitable act.”

“Worship none but Allah. treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and practice regular charity” (2:83).

“Kind words and the covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury. . . . . . . . . . . ” (2:263). See also (2:264).

“If you disclose acts of charity, even so it is well, but if you conceal them, and make them reach those really in need, that is best for you. It will remove from you some of your (stains of) evil”. (2:271)

May Allah teach us how to seek his benevolence; Amen.

Barka Juma’at and happy weekend

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