Charity: Key to healthy community life
Living the hustle and bustle of our daily life, we seldom stop to consider the source of the many blessings that we take for granted. The food that we eat, our wealth, the knowledge that we possess, our physical and mental health and even our free time are all gifts that we may use for the betterment or detriment of ourselves and others.
There is a verse in Qur’an which asks, “Who is he that will lend to The Almighty a goodly loan so that He may multiply it to him many times?” (2:245). “Oh,” we question, “how can I lend anything to the Creator of all things?” Perhaps sharing with others what he has blessed us with can metaphorically be viewed as a loan to The Almighty.
All that He bestows upon us is only entrusted to us from Him. Our health, our wealth, our knowledge, our time, our influence on the lives of others are all subject to His confirmation.
The above verse suggests that if we are willing to share what He has blessed us with, He will reward our efforts. He will enrich us and bless us more abundantly. Greed, selfishness, and the hoarding of knowledge and material possessions deny us His generous rewards.
Just as the Almighty gives freely to us all, charity offers us an opportunity to voluntarily show our gratitude to Him. It is not only giving of our material possessions; charity can also take the form of a kind word, a smile, even holding our tongues from the utterance of an unkind remark. It even encompasses patience and attentively listening to an idea that we may not support. The blessing may be in a new understanding of an issue which leads to overall community health.
Charity is a universal concept. Trees give up their leaves every autumn, decompose into the soil and provide nutrients for new life in the spring. Parents charitably sacrifice time and resources for the enhancement of the future growth of their children.
We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. “
Our society is persistent in its narrow understanding of this concept. Broadening our perception may drastically improve our community life.
QADIR ABDUS-SABUR, PH.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is email@example.com.