Being caring and compassionate for one’s fellow human beings is a central part of Islam. When reading the Qur’an, one cannot help being struck by the number of times charity is mentioned: Feeding the poor and needy, supporting orphans, relatives and travelers, spending in the way of Allah… All of these references emphasize the importance of charity for every Muslim.

Several ahadith – sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) – refer to this deep affection and brotherhood:

“You will not believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

“The believers are like one body in their mutual love and affection: if one limb is injured, the rest responds with sleeplessness and fever.”

If a Muslim feels the pain of his or her fellow human being, and wishes the same comfort and good life for others which he wishes for himself, it is a natural reaction to give in charity, to ease this suffering.

In addition to the indisputable benefits for those receiving charity, Islam also highlights the spiritual benefit of selflessly sharing wealth. It helps the giver to remember that every blessing in this life comes from Allah (SWT). As one human family, rather than hoarding our wealth and blessings, we should instead recognize that God wishes for us to be compassionate, and share our provisions with others without pride.

The Qur’an reminds us that there is a “recognized right, for the needy and deprived” over our wealth (70:24-5), so by giving for the sake of others, a Muslim is fulfilling a duty to those in need and preventing him or her from becoming proud of their own generosity. The Qur’an also reminds that the giving itself out to be done in a dignified manner, without asking for thanks or favor in return: “O you who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words” (Qur’an, 2:262).

Allah (SWT) also describes those who prevent the supporting of orphans and the feeding of the poor as “those who reject the faith” (107:1-3), as charity should be given in “prosperity or adversity” (3:134), without fear for one’s amount of wealth.

Have faith that a sincere act of giving can only bring abundant reward:

Those who spend their wealth in Allah’s cause are like grains of corn which produce seven ears, each bearing a hundred grains.” (Qur’an, 2:261)

With zakat—the obligatory annual tax due on an adult Muslim’s wealth that is one of the five pillars of Islam, supporting the poor and needy through charity is an undeniable cornerstone of faith.

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