The verb ‘give’ doesn’t necessarily denote voluntary charity as having to give away money, yet most of us absolve our obligation for charity by spending lots of money during Ramadan to various causes. Though these are all noble acts – what about other lasting charity acts that we can do physically?
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“Every good deed is charity” [Bukhari].
He also said:
“On every person’s joint or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is sadaqah (charity) due every day when the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah” [Muslim].
So based on the hadith above, here are five ways you can start to give ‘physical’ sadaqah this Ramadan. The list is hardly exhaustive however as you read, ask yourself how you can implement these acts of charity in your daily schedule to increase your good deeds inshaaAllah:
1. Always start with a smile
We can never underestimate the wonders behind a smile. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)’s teachings tell us that every smile is charity.
So step one is to make sure you smile; often opportunities in the day arise where we can effortlessly smile and spread the salam, such as when you are on the road travelling, going to work, at the mosque, when you pass by a homeless person, when you meet guests or see children (as often it brings a smile to their face too!)
2. Remember Allah (glorified and exalted be He) frequently
To remember Allah is to give sadaqah with your tongue. The value and weight of dhikr is heavy and outstanding, and is our key to being rich in our relationship with Allah (glorified and exalted be He). In an amazing narration the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) advised the one who could not give money to charity, or offer anything from their possessions, to increase in performing dhikr as a better equivalent.
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “Remember Me, and I will remember you” [2:152].
You might wonder where you can start as there are so many adhkars for different occasions. Here’s a simple step by step process to engrain daily remembrance of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in your day to day life:
1. Visit MakeDua.com or purchase the Fortress of the Muslim dua book and learn 2-3 adhkar for 2-3 occasions, e.g. what to say when you wake up, what to say when you sleep and what to say when you put on clothes.
2. Repeat these adhkar on a daily basis initially from the book/website and eventually from your memory. Continue for at least a week. 3. Repeat the above process looking for new duas/occasions for supplications.
Al-Hamdulillah nowadays you can find the Fortress of the Muslim in many bookstores and even phone applications.
3. Remove harm from the pathway
A noble act we often overlook is to remove something harmful from others pathway. It may be a piece of glass that is dangerous on the road, a needle on the floor, or a disturbing rock on a busy school road where children may trip and fall.
This simple act can be a means of forgiveness as many Hadiths narrated the benefit of removing harm from the road. Moreover, this will increase your social alertness and help improve your surroundings/community to make it a pleasant place to be.
4. Say good words
Our tongue can be the cause of our destruction or our salvation, yet we often speak before we think (see 5 Ways to Control your Tongue). Ask yourself if your words will be a source of benefit or comfort to someone? Have you mentioned the Name of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in your conversation? Good words are like a plant that flourishes with many fruits, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:
“It is also charity to utter a good word” [Bukhari].
You can alleviate someone’s suffering by reminding them to ‘be patient’, to ‘have trust in Allah (glorified and exalted be He)‘ or say ‘Alhamdulillah’/’JazakAllahu khair’. You can share knowledge in a conversation about something new you’ve learnt thus benefitting others. In social psychology great emphasis lies in using optimism when talking to people so if you know of someone in hardship this Ramadan console them and assist them through your goodly words and efforts.
5. Donate your talents/skills/strength
This Ramadan, donate your skills/talent/strength to your community:
- Help setup Iftar places and moving carpets around. – Use your computer skills to help local Dawah/charity group with administrative work. – If you’re good at speeches/dawah, be the ambassador for the Muslim community in dawah events/Ramadan ceremonies. – If you fall into the arts and craft category – design cards for Eid, then sell them for a worthy cause. (You’d probably be starting up a good business without realising).
There are many other forms of physical sadaqah I have not touched upon above, such as visiting the sick, caring for an orphan, taking care of your body, looking after your parents, amongst others.
I want to hear from you: What form of physical sadaqah can you do this Ramadan?