بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم
Some Thoughts on Compassion and Charity
By Quran and Bible Blog Contributor petercunliffe
Edited by quranandbibleblog
“They may be lazy, and by paying their hydro you are incentivizing them not working”.
“She will probably sell the food you give her and use it to buy alcohol”.
“That guy who is begging may have a nice home and he just drives in here to get extra money. Don’t give him anything”.
“You work so hard. Why spend your money on someone who is a druggie and has never worked a day in their life and let’s face it doesn’t ever want to?”
“It isn’t your responsibility to help them, you have your own problems and it’s not like there aren’t food banks”.
People who work with the homeless or help others who are facing food insecurity or financial instability or other problems, will sometimes hear this from others. Sometimes the advice is well meaning, coming from people who truly believe that what they are saying is truthful. Other times, the person giving it is full of contempt and malice for those he or she sees as “inferior” and wants to do everything possible to prevent them from getting assistance. Sometimes there may be some truth about the specific individual being alluded to. Many other times, they are unproven assumptions, and sometimes, also just plain rubbish, perhaps even racist.
Whether the quotes above are or are not accurate about the person being described should be irrelevant for those of us who call ourselves Muslims. When we help others, we should be doing it for ourselves [Editor’s Note: All good deeds should be done for the pleasure of Allah, though He has no need for them. They are for our own good]. Yes, I am going to concur that this sounds incredibly selfish. It is. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) tells us in the Quran, in Surah Hood, ayah 114 (11:114):
“And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember”.
Let’s look at this part… “good deeds do away with misdeeds”. When we face Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) on the Day of Judgment, He tells us that our deeds will be placed on a scale. He tells us this in Surah an-Naba, ayats 8-9 (78:8-9):
“And the measuring out on that Day will be just; then as for him whose measure is heavy, those are they who shall be successful. And as for him whose measure is light, those are they who have made their souls suffer because they disbelieved in Our communications”.
Helping others counts a lot in the eyes of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 274 (2:274) states:
“Those who in charity spend their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.”
The Day of Judgement is going to be a terrifying day. Not only for those who have rejected Islaam–if you are one of my non-Muslim friends and are reading this, please read the Quran and ponder on it and consider following its advice and becoming a Muslim. Without faith in Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), even if you do good deeds… and many of you do far more than me… it won’t unfortunately count for anything.
But that day will also be terrifying for many of us who consider ourselves Muslims. Every single thing we have done will be examined by Him. Every. Single. Thing. Every lie. Every act of unwarranted anger. Every stupid thing we said. Every dishonest transaction. Every cent of interest accepted. Every sexually immoral look. Every sexually immoral act. Every late prayer. Every missed prayer. Every prayer done carelessly. Every time we disobeyed or snapped at our parents. Every time we missed Jummah. Every mistake. Every act of carelessness. Every act of stupidity and malice and anger. Every sin. We will have a lot to answer for. We need all the help we can get.
There are only two options in the Afterlife: Paradise and hellfire. There are literally no other options. Some of us who end up in hell may eventually be forgiven after what will be agony spent in fire and boiling liquid. The key word is some. Not all.
Helping others is one way to help ourselves on the day we will need it the most and when none of our money, wit, intelligence, connections, friends, or even family will matter. So when you help others, or for that matter do any good deeds like prayers, making time for others, studying the Quran, going for Hajj, going to the mosque, or speaking out against injustices, remember that the only one who can actually benefit from them on the Day of Judgement which is the most important in your life will be you.