Sunday, August 31, 2008

“Sadaqah” A Sacred Institution to Facilitate the Poor

By: Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany

PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A’alamiyah ( Najaf , Iraq ), M.A., LLM (Shariah)

Member, Ulama Council of Pakistan

This paper was prepared on the request of the Chairperson, “Council of Islamic Ideology Pakistan ” (Constitutional Institution of Pakistan ) a few years ago to answer the question: “How can an individual or an institution contribute to upgrade the quality of life of the less fortunate ones? With this discussion on the ‘Institution of Sadaqah’, an attempt has been made to re-establish an institution, to facilitate the poor class of the Ummah and improve their quality of life.

Part 2

Published in Daily News, Karachi on 10-08-2008 & earlier in Pakistan Times & on 25-08-2008 in Yemen Times

Philosophy of Sadaqah in Qur’an:

Sadaqah is the best act through which a person could achieve nearness of Allah and fight the forces of evil. The economic system of Islam provides us Talim that wealth should not be accumulated in the hands of one person, neither a wealthy, rich person should become a ‘Shaddad’, ‘Hamman’ and ‘Abu Lahab’ to cover his wealth like a snake. Similarly, the Trustees of Bait al M’aal should not utilize the fund undeservedly, which is similar to sucking the blood of the poor. Islam totally condemns it. Today the rich and wealthy of a society have become ferocious so as to suck the blood of the poor, but Islam is a religion of Justice, which never allows that a person may become a prey of another person. It provides assurance that all people are not equal, neither in ilm nor in wealth or power. One may be earning a lot, another less. One may be a hard worker, the other may not be so, yet another may be jobless, handicapped or crippled. Qur’an has defined the Ummah as a large family, which deserves and demands a close co-operation, mutual help and care, feeling of sacrifice among each other. Qur’an has given an assurance to this family (Ummah) for survival and bestows a golden principle:

“Help and co-operate among each other in goodness and virtue”. [12]

Strong Rrecommendations of Sadaqah:

Rasulullah (S) guides the Ummah regarding Sadaqah and Inf’aq several times, and encourages them through so many Ahadith. Sadaqah is the famous institution of charity. This is an institution through which one can spend in the name of Allah, for the cause of Allah. It is the ‘identity card’ to achieve nearness of Allah. It is the name of carrying good deeds. It is the way to fulfill the needs of the deserving class. Qur’an says:

“Say: “Verily my Lord increases the Rizaq-substance for whomsoever He wills of His servants, and restricts it (for whomsoever He wills) and He repays whatsoever you spend. He is the best of all providers”. [13]

One assurance has been given in Qur’an, which is not found in any other Scriptures:

“Those who spend their money (by giving Sadaqah, Khair’at to deserving) openly or quietly in the day and at night, their reward is with their Lord the Cherisher, they will not face any danger nor face sorrow or grief”. [14]

Commentators of the Qur’an are unanimous on the Nuzul of the above Ayat that it came down in praise of Ali to glorify his Sadaqah of four Darahim in the way of Allah—one by night, one by day, one secretly and one openly.

Let us take an example from some standard level. Today, while man has become materialistic, he first secures his selfish interest. He will not do anything without any interest. But the best assurance for secure profits is given in the following Ayat of the Qur’an:

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain, which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains and verily, Allah gives manifold to whomever He wills, and Allah is omniscient, knowing”. [15]

Now pay attention and think over it, what a divine message Qur’an conveys to believers. Those who make a name in misery, whose hearts are narrow and tied up just like a handcuffed chain; they are away from the sense of kindness. Qur’an has mentioned such people in such a strong manner that the entire body shivers on its warnings. Directions have been given as follows:

“Listen! You people are invited to spend your money in the way of Allah, but some among you are miser. In fact they are doing misery with themselves; (i.e. not sharing part in Sadaq’at and Khair’at made them deprived of Barak’at and Naimat); while Allah is self sufficient and you are needy. If you turn back, He will bring other people in your place (the Naimat you have should be transferred to other) who will not be like you”. [16]

After this, again there is a warning of a horrible punishment as follows:

“No one will be thrown in it but the miser, who deny the truth and turns his back”. [17]

Strong tone and clear wordings of the above Ay’at is enough of a warning to the miser. Numerous Ahadith carry Talim and explain the significance of Sadaqah. Qur’an and Ahadith repeatedly and forcefully informed and insisted upon those in the Ummah, who have been rewarded with bounty, not to spend their wealth as an Isr’af, or for glorification among people. Instead they must spend it on deserving, needy people, who keep their problems hidden, due to self-respect. Many people go to bed without food. In winter, due to shortage of clothes, they face cold winds, and suffer various diseases without medicines.

Evils of Society:

One should keep in mind that class discrimination and poverty are two different things. In each society, class discrimination problems survive. Guidance of Islam regarding the removal of differences among classes is that the poor class must have the necessities of the life, according to the need of the time. Class discrimination is tyranny, which is the outcome of the three evils. Rasulullah (S) has declared Jih’ad against them. In ‘Ghazwah Badar’, these ‘Three Evils’ were present, and also represented individually. First was the Ruler, Abu Jahl; the second was the Capitalist power of Quraish and third was the Cleric, Abi Lahab. These three forces are still present today in different faces and dresses. The influential partner of this ‘Troika’ is Ulama al Su (the Clerics). They are the most dangerous than the two others, as they cheat in the name of Allah and His Rasul. It is their profession, everywhere. ‘Ulama al Su’ does not offer constructive guidance to the Ummah, but misleads them and when less fortune class discusses their problems with them they explain them as it is their destiny. For them nothing in this world, they will get reward in Akhirat. Neither Qur’an nor Rasulullah (S) provides this Talim. If people come out of the Net of the Ulama al Su, they would be able to spend better lives. People of all classes should avoid financial support to the clergy in the name of religion, and donate to welfare and charitable projects from which needy people can be helped. An Urdu poet had discussed Ulama al Su, and rightly explained in his poetry as follows:

“Geo Mulla Dharakey Sey; Duniya Margaee Faqey Sey”

O Crooked clerics! Enjoy the life, you are free of worries, (as your perpetual source of income is ‘Bait al M’aal’ of public, including non broken chain of donations under numerous heads); while masses have multiple problems, the poor go to sleep witout food.

“Tu Kh’aa Mazey Sey Halwey M’andey; Tujh Ku Kiya Hey A’atey Sey” [18]

You enjoy feast everyday; have you ever considered how difficult it is for less-fortune to earn a living?

Selected Bibliography

[12] Al Qur’an, Ayat No. 2, Surat al Maedah, No.5

[13] Al Qur’an, Ayat No. 39, Surat Saba , No. 34

[14] Al Qur’an, Ayat No. 274, Surat al Baqrah, No. 2

[15] Al Qur’an, Ayat No. 261, Surat al Baqarah, No.2

[16] Al Qur’an, Ayat No. 38, Surat Mohammed, No.47

[17] Al Qur’an, Ay’at No 15-16, Surat Al Laiyl, No. 92

[18] Prof. Ali HasanMuzaffar, “Riway’at Asal Deen Nahi”, Karachi

The writer is Attorney at Law & Religious Scholar

Email address: qazishkborhany@

This document may be used, only with this copyright notice included. Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups, to post on internet forums, and include in not-for-profit publications subject to the following conditions: (1) Material used must be produced faithfully in full, without alteration or omission; (2) The author's subject title must remain unchanged, in whole or in part; (3) Material must be attributed to the author Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany. Contact the author for all other rights, which are reserved.

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