The Beauty of Charity
- :Ahmed Ali al-Kuwaity
The Beauty of Charity
Author : Ahmed Ali al-Kuwaity
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Aalamiin. Thumma As-Salaatu wassalaamu Alaa Ashrafil Khalqi Ajmaeen, Muhammadin Wa Aalihi at-Tayyibeen at-Taahireen, Wa As-haabihil Muntajabeen.
Allah (S.w.T.) says in the Holy Qur’an that:
“in their histories, there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding. it is not a narrative which could be forged, but a verification of what is before it, and a distinct explanation of all things, and a guide and a mercy to a people who believe”. (Sura Yusuf, 12:111)
The style of story telling, that the Holy Qur’an adopts is considered to be one of its miracles. In addition, this style has a tremendous effect on making the reader interested in reading. A story is better understood and not easily forgotten while mere words are easily forgotten. Stories are easily absorbed without taxing the brain. This is the reason that made us to adopt the same style in this book, which is filled with real life events in the past and present, concerning the Ahlul Bait, great scholars of Islam and ordinary people, in order to convey the message without any changes, with perfection and in a summarized fashion to the brain.
Why stories of people who sacrifice?
When the people who sacrifice and the charitable, answer the call of the Qur’an which says:
“and spend out of which He has made you to be successors of …. (Sura Al-Hadid , 57:7)”,
and the call of the Holy Masum’in (a.s.) who said that:
“On the day of judgment the act of charity will provide a shade for the people who sacrifice” 1,
they are trying in their own fashion to find a solution to an age old problem of poverty. Luqman the wise was true in saying to his son that:
“He had tasted patience, but there was nothing worse than poverty ”. 2
How many fathers return back to their families after a hard day of finding sustenance only to find that they have failed to fulfill the needs of their families? How many mothers feel so hurt and pained to see the poor condition of their children compared to other children? How many celebrations of Eid and other happy occasions pass with orphans who don’t have good food and new clothes? How many capable youths have had their dreams and hopes crashed because of not having enough funds for their education. How many parents have not been able to save their children from the pangs of death simply because they didn’t have funds for the medicine to cure them?
The people who are generous and charitable inspire hope in hard times. The people who secretly give charity, in such a way that if they give by their right hand, the left hand doesn’t know, are saviours for the milliards of poor people who roam around the streets and are on the increase daily. Such people are finding a gradual and partial solution for thousands and millions of people; and at the same time are reaping rewards from Allah in the world and Hereafter. It is for this reason that we have tried to site real life events throughout the ages, so that others are motivated to follow suit. Shall we then not answer the call of the Holy Qur’an which says:
“they shall be rewarded with high places because they were patient, and shall be met there in with greetings and salutations” (Sura al-Furqan, 25:75-76)
The course of the book in hand deals with six chapters:
The first chapter of this book deals with people who sowed the seeds of charity in this world, in order to form a bridge to benefit from, in the hereafter.
The second chapter deals with events and stories related by various sources, which show the connection between the people who are alive and dead, and how we can perform certain acts which can directly benefit the dead people.
The third chapter deals with the deep connection between charity and protection from problems, mishaps and misfortunes.
The fourth chapter deals with the unseen or spiritual connection between the giving of charity and increase in sustenance.
The fifth chapter deals with the efforts exerted by our great Islamic Scholars to serve others and sacrifice their wealth and possessions in order to encourage and motivate others to do the same.
The sixth chapter deals with people who have done service to the family of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and how they have got worldly and spiritual returns.
The great religion of Islam has only come for the benefit of mankind, and one of Allah (S.w.T.)’s mercy on us is that He has opened for us a great door of opportunity of doing good deeds which remains open even after death. The key to this door is through charity and sacrifice.
During his life, a Muslim may contribute his money towards the building of a mosque or an orphanage or the printing of a useful book. After his death these deeds lighten up his grave and this indeed is a great opportunity, unique to the teachings of Islam. A man should be so crafty so as to sow his farm only to reap the harvest in the hereafter. The teachings of our Imams have emphasized a lot on this aspect.
Often Imam Ali (a.s.) used to raise his voice during the nights in the city of Kufa so as to be heard by every one:
“Prepare for a journey and do good deeds with what you have been blessed, for what lies in front is difficult road full of obstacles and frightening junctions from which there is no escape.” 3
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that:
“Three things help a man after his death, and these are: a charity given by him, a good habit he taught to others and a good offspring he leaves behind, who prays for his forgiveness”. 4
The Holy Prophet (S) says that:
“Four things continue to reward a person even after his death; a man who dies on the true path, a good advise or knowledge given by him to someone who acts on that advice, an act of charity and a good son who prays for him and asks for forgiveness on his behalf”. 5
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that:
“Six things benefit a man after his death; a pious son who asks for forgiveness on his behalf, a copy of the Holy Qur’an he read from, a tree he planted, a glass of water he quenched others’ thirst with, a well he dug, and a good tradition or habit he left behind to those around him” 6.
The following is a series of real life events of people who left behind them good deeds that filled the sky with stars illuminating the way, and their deeds remain eternal despite their death.
A Man Flies with his Efforts
There lived a man in Turkey during the time of a ruler called Mustafa Kamal Ataturk who despised the teachings of Islam and prevented the Turkish people from following Islam .The women folk were not permitted to adorn themselves with a hijab and no religious organizations were permitted to function.
However during this suppression, a man rose, who was determined to challenge the authorities and made himself busy with the task of building mosques inspiring those around him. Soon the authorities came to know about this and he was sentenced to a ten years imprisonment. However this man never gave up and while he was serving his sentence, he influenced his friends who used to come to visit him to form a committee that would supervise the activities involved in the construction of mosques. He was so sincere that he inspired his cellmates to start building mosques once they completed their term in prison. It is recorded that he was able to build tens of thousands of mosques even in this period of constraint and oppression.
What was the secret of this man? It is said that whenever a mosque’s construction would be completed, a collection box was put at the disposal of the worshippers of that mosque to start contributing towards the building of yet another mosque. Imam Ali (a.s.) says:
“a man flies with his efforts, the way a bird flies with its wings”.
The Mosque Which Is Called: ‘As If I Have Eaten And Drunk’
Sayyid Khatib Jawad Shabber relates from Sheikh Muhammad Husayn Kaashiful Ghitaa that he saw a mosque with a strange name in Turkey. It was called ‘As If I Have Eaten And Drunk’. The Sheikh was fascinated by this strange title and wished to know the reason behind this name. So he questioned the Imam of the mosque. The Imam said that the mosque in question was in a state of ruins and needed urgent repairs. However, when he approached the wealthy merchants of the city they refused to help, giving various excuses. He thus decided to take out the expense from his personal income.
The way he did this was by economizing just the way we save up for any worldly item we dearly wish for. He loved travelling and for some time he stopped travelling and saved the money for the mosque. He even asked his children to limit their expenses and make do with the clothes they had for that year. He in other words lowered his standards of eating and clothing and budgeted his expenses. Every time he felt the urge of good food and clothes he consoled his heart that his share was waiting for him in the Hereafter. In this way he managed to repair the mosque.
To inspire others to sacrifice their luxuries even for a short time in order to do an act of charity, he named the mosque ‘As If I Had Eaten And Drunk’ 7.
The Man Who Sold His House In Order To Get His Religious Writings To Be Printed
Marhum Ayatullah al-Sheikh Jawad al-Balaghi an-Najafi is known for his publications in which he has debated with Atheists, Jews and Protestants. Despite all these talents in the field of knowledge he lived in extreme poverty. His house in Najaf showed signs of his poverty. It is indeed astonishing to know that when he wanted his educational work to be published, he found himself in no position to do so due to his abject poverty, and despite this he sold his house and got his desire. Wasn’t it possible for the Sheikh to lead a life of comfort? Of course, but he gave preference to the world Hereafter which is eternal.
Never Discontinue A Charitable Act!
Shahid Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib, may Allah’s mercy be on him, relates that a great and pious man told him the following event.
A relative of this pious man had bought a property on which he had built a house. After the death of this relative, the pious man saw him in his dream one night. The relative was blind, and when he was asked the cause of his blindness he related to the pious man the reason for his bad state.
He related that when he had bought the land, there was a well in it by means of which the villagers in the surrounding villages benefited. However the relative ordered for the well to be closed. The villagers faced the constraint of going through long distances to get their supply of water. The result of this act was blindness in the life hereafter.
The pious man asked his relative in the dream whether he could do anything for him to relieve him of this bad state. The man replied in the affirmative, and suggested that his heirs should endeavour to open that well for the villagers’ benefit. The pious man stood up to carry out this act, and after some time he dreamt that his relative had got back his sight and was thanking him for the help given to him 8.
The dress was sold but the Masjid remains!
It has been related that during the Abbasid regime one of the cruel rulers used to charge high taxes to the people. The people of Balkh in Afghanistan were subjected to cruelty when they refused to pay taxes to the rulers. When the situation for the people of Balkh became intolerable they went to the wife of the representative of the ruler in Balkh who they knew to be a merciful and considerate lady.
When they asked her to intercede on their behalf, she took out an expensive and glamorous robe of hers, the value of which equalled to the amount demanded of them. The representative of the ruler in Balkh took his wife’s robe and placed it in front of the merciless ruler. The ruler demanded to know whose robe it was, and when the representative informed him of the events, the ruler was touched by the merciful act of the lady and forgave the villagers asking that the robe should be returned to its owner.
The lady on receiving the robe asked whether the ruler had glanced at her robe.
“Yes,” said her husband.
“Well, I shall not wear a dress on which a stranger’s eye has befallen, so sell this robe and build a mosque from the money you get.”
Ibn Batuta in his narrations says that this mosque still stands. The dress was sold but a mosque remains. Good acts remain. A shining reminder that what counts are deeds!
House for this world or Masjid for the Akhirah!
One of the followers of the great Ayatollah Murtadha Ansaari, donated some wealth to him requesting him to buy a house. Having donated this money the man went to perform the Pilgrimage. The Ayatullah deemed it more important to build a mosque with this money.
This mosque still stands and so many people have prayed in it and have gained knowledge in it. The man on his return from pilgrimage, was surprised to see that contrary to his expectations the Ayatullah had built a mosque instead of a house to reside in.
When the man questioned, the Ayatullah replied, “Which is better, a house here in this world or a residence in the Hereafter? For we shall soon leave this world and we need a house more in our permanent abode.”
The man’s trust and faith increased tenfold in the Ayatullah’s wisdom. 9
Thus a Library was established …!
One prominent scholar and authority on Islam called Sayyid Mar’ashi established a famous library in the city of Qum. He did this with his own personal effort by toiling hard for many years.
Libraries play a very important role in causing awareness to the people, giving the people a good hobby and pass time, to spread good virtues, to be a source of pleasure, for the preservation of our culture and for the continuation of our culture and knowledge. It is due to all these reasons that our scholars toiled hard to establish public and private libraries and preserved valuable and ancient manuscripts in it.
I will relate some examples which will touch our emotions and find in front of us a man of great caliber and cause us to question ourselves as to why we don’t exploit our potentials.
The doors of this library were opened since 1394 A.H. Sayyid Mar’ashi didn’t get much financial assistance in establishing this library. In many of the books in this library I have seen a caption in which the Sayyid has written that he bought the particular book in question by praying and fasting on behalf of people who had died and whose relatives paid for these acts of worship. This is called ‘Salaat of Istijara’. This prayer is incumbent on the eldest son of a dead man to pray or fast or go to pilgrimage on behalf of his dead father in case the dead man did not perform these acts. The son may pay somebody reliable to perform these acts.
How great are these scholars who used each and every opportunity to do something which would help them in the life Hereafter. Sayyid Mar’ashi bought some great and rare books by praying on behalf of the dead, and sometimes a sum total of two years prayers in conditions of hunger and extreme fatigue. 10
He is still alive due to those Masajid
Marhoom Sheikh Abbas Qummi Rahamullah who compiled the book of supplications called Mafateehul Jinaan was a man of great piety and sincerity. People used to throng the mosque, when they knew that he was going to lead the prayers because of their respect and love for him. He however was not arrogant or proud of this but in fact used the love of the people for a good use.
He chose old mosques which needed repair and construction and prayed in them. He then mobilized the congregation to donate towards its repair and maintenance. Once the mosque was repaired he shifted to another mosque which was in dire need of repair. The masses were surely to follow him to the mosque and once again they would stand up to its repair. In this way the great sheikh repaired a number of mosques.
How many people still pray in these mosques and the reward goes to him. 11
The ever continuing charity!
One of the great projects which Ayatullah Golpayeghani took up was the building of a great hospital in the holy city of Qum.
The director of this hospital narrates in an interview given by him to Iran T.V. that the late Ayatullah asked him some 27 years ago to leave Tehran in order to manage the new hospital in Qum.
The director says that he was hesitant to move from Tehran, when one night he dreamt that a holy and dignified personality was escorting him around the wards and various departments of the hospital. This great and holy personality then remarked that, indeed his wealth had been spent in a good way.
The director was surprised and asked in his dream: “Your wealth? Who are you?”
The great personality replied: “I am Mehdi.”
“Which Mehdi?” asked the director.
“Why, the same Mehdi you always hear and know about.”
When the director came to know that the 12th Imam was blessing the project, his mind about shifting to Qum was made up already.
There is a very beneficial idea. Just as we all love to receive gifts and we all love when people remember us in our life time, similarly we love to be remembered in our death when we shall be counted as dead people and our graves will lie amongst other graves.
We should therefore not forget others who have departed from us especially our parents and relatives by praying for them, by giving charity on their behalf and by visiting their graves. Some people think wrongly that our rights towards our parents are limited only in their life and end at their death. Muhammad ibn Muslim narrates a tradition from Abu Ja’far (a.s.): “A person may be good to his parents during their life and forget them after their death, thus Allah considers him to have angered his parents. If on the other hand he was irresponsible in his duties towards them during their life and started to do good deeds on their behalf after their death Allah considers him to be an obedient servant”. 12
The Holy Prophet says that the leader of the good doers on the day of Judgment is the one who did good to his parents after their death. 13
A famous scholar relates that he was told by Sheikh Ali Tehrani that the Sheikh’s father related that he was in Karbala’ and his mother was in Tehran. Then one night he dreamt that his mother had come to him and said that she had died and that she had been brought to Karbala’.
The Sheikh’s father woke up and as he wondered about his dream, he received a letter saying that his mother had indeed died and they had sent her body to Karbala’ to be blessed and buried at the Haram (shrine) of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
The sheikh’s father brought the body to the Haram of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and prayed to this saint. “Ya Abbas! my mother was not a regular in saying her prayers or fasting. I beg you to intercede on her behalf and I promise to pay somebody who will pray and fast for fifty years on her behalf”, he begged.
After many months, the Sheikh’s father heard that there was noise and commotion in his dream at the door of his house. He came out to find out about the origin of that noise when at the door he saw that his mother had been tied to a tree and was being whipped. The sheikh’s father asked the reason for this and he was told that they had been ordered by Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) to whip her until the Sheikh’s father fulfilled his promise of paying the debt of her prayers and fasting.
Thus he went into his house and brought back the money and then took his mother in to the house to tend to her wounds. When he got up from his dream he realized the mistake he had committed and in reality found people to pray Salaat Istijaara and fast for her. 14
He used not to pray and fast!
Marhum Khalil Tahraani says that there was a man who worked at the public bath house in Tehran. This man was called Ali Talib and he never prayed or fasted. He even had a public bath built well known by his name.
Once when Marhum Khalil was in Najaf, he saw Ali Talib in his dream at Wadius Salaam. According to the traditions from our Imams, the soul of the believers is bought to Wadius Salaam which is a place situated in Najaf. Marhum Khalil asked him how he happened to be in this nice place when he never prayed or fasted.
Ali Talib then related how the famous scholar called Sheikh Muhammad Kermanshahi had paid several people to pray and fast on his behalf. Then Ali Talib also mentioned the people who were praying, fasting and performing pilgrimage for him.
Marhum Khalil says that when he got up from his dream, he met after some time travellers from Tehran who indeed verified that Ali Talib had died and that Sheikh Muhammad Kermanshahi had indeed paid several people to pray his lifetime prayers and fasts, and they too mentioned the same people who were mentioned in the dream.
This event proves that what we perform for the dead reaches them. It also proves that the soul of every believer does go to Wadius Salaam in Najaf. It teaches us how people in the past cared about people who were not related to them except in faith not only in the lifetime but also in the death. 15
The best charity!
Once a companion of the Prophet (S) called Saad had gone to the battle field outside Medina. On the way, Saad heard that his mother who had been sick had died. Saad who loved his mother very much came to the Prophet (S) and said that he had wanted to give charity on his mother’s behalf but it had not been possible for him.
He then enquired if he could give charity on her behalf now that she was dead. The Prophet (S) replied in the affirmative. Saad then went on to inquire what was the best charity he could offer? The Prophet (S) said that on the route to the battle field he had seen that the soldiers were thirsty and there was a dire need of water.
The Prophet suggested that the best charity was to dig a well on the road so that caravans would benefit from the supply of water and it would also be a continuous form of charity for years to come. That was what Saad did. 16
The fast reaching charity!
Sayyid Husayn Muddarrisi relates that one of his female relatives had seen his dead father in a dream. His father’s face was illuminating with light and beside him was a woman who was folding beautiful and smart clothes the likes of which she had never seen in this world before. When asked where the clothes had come from, the woman replied that they were for his father and that they had been sent by his sons for him.
This woman who had seen the dream asked all his dead father’s relatives whether they had done any special good deeds for their father. One of the Sayyid’s brothers was taken back and admitted that he had prepared for some clothes to be given to orphans but he had not actually distributed them.
The Sayyid was so surprised to know that a deed had been rewarded when only a decision was made on his part and the charitable act had not taken place yet. So this proves that any charitable act done for the dead reaches them immediately, as soon as you make the intention. 17
Respect the charity!
One great scholar Allama Muhammad Husayn Al Husayni At-Tehrani says that when we do an act of charity or a good deed for the dead, it should be with respect.
He relates a real life event as told to him by another great scholar of Islam Agha Buzurgh ATahraani who said that when he was small he lived with his family in Tehran. It was a few days after the death of his grandmother and he was with his mother in the kitchen while his mother was cooking some food.
A beggar knocked on the door and Agha Buzurg decided to give the beggar some food as an act of charity on behalf of his grandmother so that she would get a reward. Well, because he didn’t find a suitable vessel in which he could put the food he quickly grabbed a cup which they used in the bathroom and put the food in it and gave it to the beggar.
That night his father dreamt a strange dream and woke up in the middle of the night and related to his mother that he had seen his mother and she was annoyed, because she had received some charity in a bath cup and her friends had all made jokes of this. She stressed that when you stand up to do an act of charity it should be done with respect.
Agha Buzurg says that his mother was taken back by this incident and on straining her memory she remembered that Agha Buzurg had given the beggar some food in a cup used in the bathroom. 18
The world of Barzakh!
Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Al Mudarrisi says that he saw his father a few days after his death and asked him how he felt when his soul was being removed. His father, Marhoom Ayatullah Al Kazim Al Mudarrisi replied that he was quite at ease when it happened.
Sayyid Taqi Mudarrissi says that the Marhoom father often appears in his children’s dreams and relates to them about many events connected to them.
Once his father’s soul appeared in the dream of their neighbour who teaches his children and asked the neighbour to inform his children that the good charitable acts that they do reach him continuously.
One of his sons called Sayyid Husayn Al Mudarrissi has been specially appointed by his family to rise up to the task of doing charitable acts for the deceased members of the family. Sayyid Taqi’s brother Sayyid Muhammad Bakir Al Mudarrissi relates that one year they commemorated the death of their father with a majlis and then they distributed tea, cakes and biting to the people who had participated.
On that particular night the soul of their father appeared in the dream of their sister who knew nothing about this event and who resides in Tehran. Their father told her that his sons had sent him some cake that day. In another yearly commemoration for their father, as they prepared food in the kitchen, one of his brothers called Abbas saw his father in his dream and his father asked him to check whether every thing was all right in the kitchen.
The reward of food distributed as charity reaches the dead people very quickly, as related in many teachings of Islam. 19
Beware of the debts of the deceased!
It is very important to pay the debts of the people who are dead, since this can relieve them of punishment in the grave.
After the death of the great scholar Almir Sayyid Hassan Bin Air, Sayyid Ali Al Husayni revealed in a dream to his son the amount of money which he owed to a person, and that he was in trouble due to this. When the amount of money was paid, he thanked his son for relieving all the pain and torture he was undergoing.
Another scholar Allamah al Noori relates that he was told by Amir Sayyid Ali, that the latter in his dream saw his father and expressed his thanks and the relief he felt since he had been through a lot of trouble. When the scholar asked his father why he had been through turmoil, his father revealed that it was because of a certain amount of money that he owed somebody, and mentioned the name of that person.
On going through the accounts of his father he became even more surprised on not finding the name of this person in his father’s account books. The only way was to ask the person whose name had been mentioned by his father. The man when approached said that, at the death of the scholar’s father he had inquired whether there was a mention of his name in the list of people his father owed, but he had been told by the man who was handling the accounts that there was no mention of his name. The man went on to say that he had been upset and regretted that he had not made a written contract as a proof of the money owed to him by his father. However after sometime he chose to forgive this matter and overlook it. 20
Gift the dead!
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “Gift the dead”. When the companions asked what they should gift the dead with, the Prophet said: “With Charity and Prayers,” and continued to say that: “the souls of dead people descended every Friday on earth and begged their close ones with a forlorn voice: ‘O Mother, O Father, O Children, O Close ones to me, be kind to me even with a dirham, or a piece of bread or clothes, and Allah shall reward you.”
Then the Prophet S.A.W. cried bitterly and all the companions cried bitterly too such that the Prophet (S) could not utter anything. Finally the Prophet said, “These were your brothers in faith and they now have turned to dust after enjoyment in this life and they regret bitterly and reproach themselves and wish that they had done good deeds so that they wouldn’t need you, and that is why you should help them in their desperate condition.”
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “All the prayers, fasts, pilgrimage, charity, good acts and prayers reach the dead and help and reward them”.
The Holy Prophet (S) says that: “The dead man is like a person drowning who helplessly holds on to any help given to him by his father or brother or friend and he clings on to these and loves these acts more than the world itself, and the gifts for the dead are charity and praying for their forgiveness. 21
Hajj on behalf of dead is also charity!
One scholar relates that in the season of Hajj after completing the acts of worship he did Tawaf, going round the Kaaba seven times and prayed two units of prayers at Maqaame Ibrahim (a.s.) for another scholar.
When he went home, the same night he saw the scholar whom he had gifted the acts of worship, come in his dream and thank him for his kindness, a proof that these acts reach the dead. 22
Only six days!
Al Haj Sayyid Muhammad Hassan Naaji Shirazi informed his own son after his death in a dream that the person his son had hired to pray the Salaat and Fasts that he had missed in his life time, had not acted upon his will and in fact had only repaid the equivalent of six days prayers.
Sayyid Muhammad Hassan Naaji’s son relates that his father had instructed him to hire a man to pray an equivalent of four years prayers, and four months fasts. His son had done as instructed, but after some time his son saw his father in a sorry state and he was informed that his will had not been acted upon.
His son immediately went to ask the man whom he had hired and on checking the books in which the hired man used to write how much of the worship he had accomplished, they realized that the dream was true. The hired man apologized and said that he had been under the impression that he had accomplished much, but from then he promised to complete the contract. 23
60 Tumans saved me!
A scholar relates that he saw a friend of his in the dream, and when he asked his friend’s condition after death, he was told that his condition had been bad were it not for some money given by his trustee on his behalf in the year of severe drought in Yazd.
On waking up, this scholar went to the deceased’s trustee and asked him what he had done for the deceased during the drought in Yazd. The Trustee thought for a little while and on recalling said that he had been asked to help the people of Yazd who had been suffering from famine. In addition to his own money or charity he also took out some sixty tumans from the deceased’s account and gave charity on the dead man’s behalf.
Well he was surprised to understand that these sixty tumans were the ones which changed the destiny of the deceased’s man after his death. 24
A woman lost her husband through death. She decided to give charity on his behalf. One Friday night she prepared some food and sent her son to give it to a poor man who lived near her house. While sending the food the dead man’s son felt very hungry but he controlled himself and after having given the charity, he returned home hungry and went to bed.
The next Friday the same sequence of events took place. On the third Friday, the orphan while sending the food to the poor, could not control himself and ate the food on the way. That night the widow of the dead man dreamt her husband who told her that: “That night was the first night whence he received the reward of the charity she had given, while the charities she had given before had not reached him”.
The widow got up and doubting that her son had committed a blunder went to investigate the matter. Her little orphan said that contrary to her suspicion he had sent the charity the two Friday’s to the poor man, and it was on the third Friday that he had eaten the food.
It was then that the widow understood that her son deserved the food more than the poor neighbour. Thus we need to give charity to our near kith and kin before we look further 25
“But he would not attempt the uphill road, and what will make you comprehend the uphill road? it is the setting free of a slave or giving of food on a day of hunger to an orphan having relations or to the poor man lying in dust.” 26
Give Charity even if it is little
Marhoom Nahawandi says that it was related to him by a scholar who saw in his dream a group of dead people walking together in a happy mood. He saw an old man walking behind them who was unhappy and despairing.
When the scholar asked the old man why he was unhappy, the old man replied that while the relatives of other dead people sent charity to them his own son didn’t send anything to him.
This scholar woke up and immediately went to the deceased’s son. The son was a launderer and the scholar found him washing some clothes near a river. On inquiry, the dead man’s son said that his economic condition was too bad for him to help his father and when the scholar tried to convince him he got angry and took a cup and poured some water on the river bank three times, and retorted angrily, “Here take some charity for my father!’’.
That night the scholar dreamt the same old man in a happy mood. On inquiry the old man said that the charity of the water had reached him. The scholar questioned how three cups poured down on the river bank could have helped him. The old man answered that there had been a little fish on the river bank which was dying due to lack of water. The three cups of water poured by his son had pushed the little fish back into the river, thus saving its life.
This had made the dead man happy and prayed for the economic condition of his son to improve. After some time the son became rich due to his fathers blessings. This shows us to give charity even if it is little. 27
Your Salaams has reached me!
A great scholar’s wife relates that after the death of her husband she visited his grave and greeted him. That night the woman saw her husband who told her that he had received her greetings.
This small incident shows that if a mere greeting reaches a dead man so what about an act of charity. 28
Small acts of charity saved me!
After the death of Ayatullah Sayyid Mirza Mahdi Shirazi, a believer saw him in the dream and asked him: “What was the act he really benefited from in the Akhira”.
The great scholar replied that it was small acts of charity he had given to beggars who knocked his door and were satisfied with whatever was given to them. 29
Rewards and Punishments!
Sayyid Shaheed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib relates that a scholar told him that he had seen his father in the dream. When the scholar asked him to give him details about the rewards and the punishments that are found in the life here after, the dead man replied that worldly people could not understand about the circumstances of the hereafter but he would try to give some examples.
The punishments meted out were as if you had a very high and steep mountain which you cannot ascend and you are being followed by a wolf, and there is no way out.
As for the rewards they can be likened to being in a sauna with all the steam and water vapor, and if somebody opens the door slightly how soothing is the breeze that creeps into the sauna? Well a reward feels this way. This is the way it feels when you send us gifts from the world.
My mother is unhappy with me!
It has been related in some books that a believer spent a night in a graveyard. In the middle of the night he saw a group of people emerging out of their graves with a shining light and a plate full of various blessings. Only one dead man didn’t come out of his grave and remained in its darkness full of remorse.
The believer went to him and asked him why he was not blessed as the others. The dead man replied that all the others had relatives who sent them gifts. He had an old mother but she had been unhappy with him and didn’t give him a thought.
The dead man asked the believer to greet his mother for him and told him where she lived. In the morning the believer went to the old woman and related what he had seen. The old woman wept bitterly and gave the believer a bag of gold to be distributed to the poor as charity on her son’s behalf.
The next night the believer saw the young man happy and thankful, and asked that his mother should be thanked for saving him. 30
Mullah Fateh Ali Sultaan Abadi relates that whenever he used to hear about the death of anybody, he would pray Salaatul Wahsha; the prayer recommended to be prayed for the deceased, and ask Allah to protect him especially in the first night in the grave from loneliness.
Well a certain man died and the Mullah prayed for him as was his custom. The Mullah met a friend of his who told him that he had seen the dead man in his dream, and was told that his condition had been miserable but when the Mullah prayed for him the torture was removed.
The dead man prayed for the Mullah for showing such consideration and kindness to him. 31
Send proper Sadaqah!
It has been related in the book ‘Al Irshadaat fi ilm il Ibaadaat’, that a man prayed for a dead woman and this woman came in his dream to thank him and assure him that his prayers had reached her in the form of blessings.
It has been related in the book stated above that a woman used to work in somebody’s house. The owner of the house had invited some guests and shortly after the guests had left, the maid servant collected all the remaining food and gave it as Sadaqah in her mother’s name.
The next day the maid was visited by her sister who informed her that she had dreamt their deceased mother who informed her that the food her sister had sent had reached her, but she had asked that the next time she should send proper Sadaqah and not remains of some meals.
Sheikh Sudooq relates from Imam Ja’far Sadiq who heard this tradition from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) that once Prophet Isa (a.s.) was passing a grave whose occupant was being tortured. After some time, Nabi Isa (a.s.) passed that grave again and saw that the torture had stopped.
He asked Allah who revealed to him that the deceased’s son had given charity and so the torture had stopped. 32
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) has said that: “An act of charity shields seventy dead people from ill fate”.
The Prophet (S) has also said that “The angel of death is told to remove the soul of a person, but if during that time charity is given then the order to remove the soul is cancelled”.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “An act of charity given openly prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a secretly given charity cools the anger of our Lord Allah (S.w.T.)” 33.
It has been related in the same book that the Holy Prophet (S) said that: “Allah says that when the angel of death is asked to remove the soul of a person, and if he or she gives Sadaqah, Allah orders the angel of death to stop”.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “An act of charity shields us of seventy evils of this world including an ill fated death. The one who gives charity never dies ill fatedly”. 34
According to Islamic beliefs, when we give charity, Allah due to his mercy changes our fate. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that:
“Allah removes what He wishes and establishes what He wishes, for He has the Mother of Books”. (Sura ar-Ra‘ad, 13: 39)
Here below are few incidences from genuine and reliable sources to prove this.
Charity in the name of Imam Zaman (aj)!
This is an incident witnessed by the author of this book. Once I was admitted to the hospital, and as I was lying in my ward, I saw a friend of mine bring in his son with a life threatening situation. His son was in acute pain, and when I asked my friend he said that the nurses were taking some tests and soon his son would be taken to the operating theatre.
Well, the nurse took a sample of blood, and we on the other hand started comforting the little boy who was only nine years old. As we were waiting the father of the boy put something small under the pillow of his son.
Shortly after, the doctor arrived and said that they had tested the blood and didn’t think it necessary to operate, and instead some medicine was prescribed for him. The father at once thanked the Imam of our time Al Mahdi (aj) for helping, and then revealed that he had put an amount of money as charity and asked the Imam to help, and this was the result.
Disaster will not reach his garden!
Sheikh Ahmed Mujtahidi says that there was a time when many grape gardens in a village in Shahriyaar in Iran were afflicted with disease, which caused extensive damage to the fruit. There was a man who owned a garden in the same village who on hearing the news was sure that his garden was in a good state.
When the man was asked how he could be so sure about this, he answered that he always gave the Zakaat (Islamic Tax) on the property and also gave out a lot of charity, and this was a guarantee for his property to be safe from disasters.
When people who had heard this went to investigate his gardens in Shariyaar, they found it to be the only garden which had not been affected with the disease. 35
Charity removes illness!
The author of the book Najafiyat, Sheikh Ali Dakheel relates that Al Haj Abdul Husayn Abu Reeha related to him that Al Haj Rasheed Roomaani who was a Syrian businessman once became extremely sick. His family had surrounded him with despair, crying for him.
The sick man asked his family whether they wished him to be well. They admitted eagerly that that was their hearts desire. Well he asked them to give all the food and grains stored in the house as charity. Shortly after he recovered and is said to have lived up to the age of 130 years.
Indeed the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) says: “Cure your sickness with charity”. 36
The ship drowned …!
A man known as Al-Hajj Salim Tarih who died in Iraq in 1293 A.H. was a famous ship merchant who traded with other countries. He once asked his trade partner to contribute some money to give as charity. When asked by his business partners why he had given this charity, he answered that he had received some news that the ship in which they had sent their property had sunk. He was certain that the charity would help in the recovery of their property.
Soon afterwards some men came to give Al-Hajj Salim a bag full of dirhams. The men said that all the goods had sunk but this bag which had the money belonging to Al-Hajj Salim was hanging on a nail which was hammered onto a plank of wood that formed part of the ship. This plank together with the bag of money had not sunk. 37
Charity in the name of Imam Husayn (a.s.)
Iraq was a nation which in olden times was afflicted just like any other nation with diseases like cholera and typhoid, and the epidemic affected so many people. It is to avert such dangers that the people carried out many religious ceremonies in the name of the great Imam and Martyr Husayn (a.s.).
A man relates that in one such ceremony, the people appealed to Imam Husayn (a.s.) to help them from such diseases. A man after the ceremony had a dream that some armed people came to steal things from them. As they wanted to attempt stealing, the leader of the gang instructed them to stop because he would not like to kill people who had taken part in a ceremony commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
The gang leader then asked his companions to go to another place.
The next morning the man who had seen this dream heard that, three people had been killed in the neighboring village by thieves.
All this shows that Sadaqah conducted in the name of our Imams is effective in averting problems. 38
Charity averts death!
Allamah Hilli relates in some of his books that the Holy Prophet (S) once passed by a Jew who was going to chop some wood. On seeing him, the Prophet said that the Jew would be bitten by a poisonous snake and die.
In the evening the companions saw the Jew and found it strange that he was still alive contrary to what the Prophet (S) had predicted. So they questioned the Holy Prophet (S) about his predictions. The Prophet (S) asked for the Jew to be presented to him so that he could be questioned.
When the Jew came, the Prophet asked him to open the bundle of chopped wood, and out popped a snake. The Holy Prophet (S) asked the Jew what act he had done on that day.
In reply the Jew answered that he had not done anything in particular except that as he was eating some food a beggar asked him for some of it, so he gave one of the two cakes he had without any hesitation to the beggar.
The Prophet then said that the Jew had been destined to die but for the charity he had given which removes seventy evils. The Jew accepted Islam.
Indeed charity increases your good deeds and your life. 39
A Morsel for Morsel!
A woman from the Bani Israil tribe was washing some clothes on the sea shore. Her child lay near her. A beggar came begging and she quickly gave him a piece of bread which she had.
Shortly after a wolf came beside the lady and snatched away the little baby in its mouth. Well, Allah sent an angel who removed the baby from the wolf’s mouth and the angel retorted: A Morsel For A Morsel. 40
Charity averts robbery!
Imam Ja’far Al Sadiq (a.s.) was once travelling with some companions amongst whom were some businessmen who had some goods with them. After some time they became aware that there were gangs of thieves who were waiting ahead planning to loot them. The companions of the Imam wondered what steps to take.
The Imam advised that the best step was to make intention of giving some of the goods in the way of Allah as Sadaqah or charity. This is what the companions did and when they passed the thieves, nothing happened to them. Charity had averted the danger in which they were. 41
Prophet Yaqub lost his son …!
It has been related in some books that Nabi Yaqub (a.s.) once was visited by a beggar on a Friday night. Although Nabi Yaqub (a.s.) heard the beggar, he didn’t feed him.
In order to make Nabi Yaqub realize the importance of charity, Allah (S.w.T.) revealed to him that due to this act Allah would soon put Nabi Yaqub to a test, and that he should show patience in face of this test.
After that Nabi Yaqub was tested by the temporary loss of Nabi Yusuf, his son, for quite a long period. Due to this Nabi Yaqub really suffered, until he finally was reunited with his son. 42
The bride will die on her wedding night!
It has been related by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) was once told by people that a certain girl was getting married. When they mentioned her name, he said that she was going to die on her wedding night.
The morning after the wedding they found the bride still alive. When they asked Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) as to why his predictions were not correct, the prophet asked to see the bride, and asked whether she had done some good act on the wedding night.
The bride replied that there was a beggar who used to beg every Friday night outside the house. On the wedding night, he came to beg as usual and because nobody bothered with him, she got up and went to give him some charity.
Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) asked her to look at a pile of clothes which lay in her room. When the bride tried to look beneath the pile of clothes she found a scorpion. That’s when Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) remarked that due to the good act, she had been saved from death. 43
Cause and effect, are from the wisdom of Allah (S.w.T.). He has connected the cause and effect of things. For example, the person who uses good methods in planting his crops, will get a good harvest. Just the same way a person who eats and drinks healthily will have good health.
Allah (S.w.T.) too has linked spiritual and metaphysical causes to spiritual results. Allah states that the one who is beneficial to his relatives will have an increase in his life span. Also Allah states that giving charity removes evil. We human beings wonder how the cause and effect is connected, and what is the wisdom behind the incidences in life? Some cause and effects are easy to explain and the wisdom behind them is clear. On the other hand some of these phenomena’s are hard to explain. However Islam stresses that giving charity increases sustenance. Here are a few traditions that stress on this fact.
The Holy Prophet (S) says: “Attract sustenance by giving charity”. 44
Abu Abdillah (a.s.) says: “Allah gives help to person equal in quantity to the charity a person gives”. 45
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “Everything has a key, and the key to sustenance is charity”. 46
Here below are some real life events that will illustrate these facts.
Effects Of Charity
One famous scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Hadi Al Amini relates that his father while acquiring knowledge in Najaf, Iraq, went to his hometown Tabriz. While he was in his hometown, he used to visit his relatives and friends.
Sheikh Amini’s father didn’t see an old acquaintance of his who was a poor and needy man. When he didn’t see this friend, he asked about him and was told by people, that the man he was asking about was a rich man and no longer poor. Sheikh Amini’s father decided to pay a visit to his friend.
While conversing with his friend he asked his friend the reason for the change in his economic position. The man replied that he had been very poor to the extent that he was forced to sell some properties that belonged to him, like furniture etc. By selling these things he had collected some money enough to start a business with.
As he was on his way back to his house with the capital, he saw a poor lady crying. The man asked the lady the reason for crying, and she explained that she was a widow with orphans who were hungry. The man felt pity on her, and on seeing that she needed the money more than himself he gave the whole amount of money to her. He returned home and spent the night depressed and worried for his family.
The next morning, surprisingly he was summoned to the house of a rich man. When he went to the rich man he was told by him that he had six thousand bags of rice which he feared were on the verge of expiring. The rich man suggested to him to buy the rice at a low price on loan from him. The poor man did so and sold the rice bags quickly. He took some more and in this way was able to make much profit. Soon he became rich and well to do. 47
Indeed the Qur’an says that:
“The person who lends to Allah, a good lending will receive many times more”. (Sura al-Baqara, 2:245 )
Help according to your capability!
Sheikh Abdul Aziim Al Muhtadi Al Bahraani in his book ‘Qasas wal Khawatir’ relates that a beloved friend of his came to him in need of some money. Although the Sheikh didn’t have anything to give this friend, yet he asked the friend to meet him at a certain venue so that he would give away the little he possessed, thinking of the saying that if you can’t give everything you can give a little.
As the Sheikh waited for this friend, he came across a verse of Qur’an which says that a person should give charity according to his means, and that Allah doesn’t burden a person more than his capability, and surely after difficulties there is ease 48.
The Sheikh saw that the verse was describing his position in respect to his friend, as the Sheikh didn’t have much to give to his friend but he would help his friend according to his capability. As he took out an envelope containing the little he had, he decided to write the verse of Qur’an on the envelope.
As he finished doing so, he found his friend coming towards him happily and saying that he had obtained what he desired soon after the Sheikh had promised to give him something. 49
Allah increases tenfold!
I encountered this incident personally, and I will reveal it in detail.
A friend of mine telephoned me and asked me to collect some money for the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hassan (a.s.) to help some needy people. I started to do so and shortly after I collected fifty dinars, while the amount needed was sixty dinars. In order to fill the deficit I personally added ten dirhams myself since the time was short and it was needed urgently.
Three days after the incident a friend of mine phoned me and told me that as he was looking into his account books he found that he owed me a hundred dirhams, and wanted to pay me back quickly. I was surprised and could not remember how he came to owe me this money.
However he reminded me, and told me that he used to pay me back in instalments, and after checking his books he found that he had not paid me the last instalment. Well, he paid me the money, and as I was thinking over the events I remembered how Allah promises in the Holy Qur’an, to increase a good deed ten folds. I remembered the amount of ten dirhams that I had taken out as charity.
Help to a Jewish girl!
A great scholar Al Haj Mu’iin Ashirazi relates that a friend of his Sayyid Darshooji who was a businessman said to him that his business was in a bad state and that his capital had been depleted and he was in debt. As he was in this dire state, a Jewish girl once came to him and informed him that she was getting married and that she was an orphan. She asked him to take pity on her and to sell her some home accessories at a cheap price.
Although the businessman was in a bad economic state, he decided to sell the girl the goods at a cheap price. Whereby the goods cost a hundred and fifty tumans, he gave her a discount of thirty tumans and sold her the goods at a loss.
Soon after that, he was offered some household commodities that were rare to be seen in the market at a very low price and with an additional advantage that they were offered to him on credit. Although he was hesitant to take on the deal, he did so and ended up making a huge profit, since people were in need of the items due to their scarcity in the market. In this way he recovered his capital and his economic condition improved.
Charity is key to sustenance!
Sheikh Kulaini in his book Al Kaafi relates the following tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.): “Cure your sick by giving Sadaqah or charity, and remove troubles and mishaps by giving charity, and increase sustenance with charity. Charity banishes seventy shaitans from what is within one’s beard, and charity goes unto the hand of Allah before it goes unto the hand of the needy”. 50
Our Holy Prophet (S) says that: “We should give charity as it increases our property, and it makes the mercy of Allah befall on us”. 51 Once Abu Abdillah (a.s.) asked his son how much money he had. His son replied that he only had forty dinaars. Abu Abdillah (a.s.) asked his son to give it all away in the way of Allah. His son was hesitant and said that it was the only meager amount he possessed.
His father replied that: “Charity was the key to sustenance”.
Shortly after having given the amount in charity the Imam’s son got four thousand dirhams. The Imam (a.s.) said to his son: “O son, we gave Allah forty dirhams and he gave us four thousand.” 52
The blessed harvest!
Mullah Fatah Ali relates that one of his close friends related to him that he had several farms. One year due to bad economic conditions people were suffering from starvation. This man decided to give the harvest of one of the farms to the poor. So he went to the mosque and proclaimed that people could benefit from this land, provided they were in need, and that they would not take from the harvest more than that which was necessary.
The needy went there everyday in great numbers and benefited. The owner of the farm was so busy with his work that he didn’t follow up closely on the condition of that piece of land. After he had harvested all the other pieces of land, he remembered this particular farm he had given as charity, and ordered his servants to go and collect any dry grass, plants and seeds that may have remained.
To the great surprise of the servants, they found that there still remained a lot of crop that had not been harvested and consumed. On collecting the harvest, they all found that the harvest of that piece of land exceeded that of all the other pieces of land that the man possessed.
In addition to that, while it was a common practice to leave a land without planting any crops the following year so that it could regain the minerals it had lost, it was found that this piece of land had not lost it’s fertility at all, and it was possible to cultivate it in the following year. 53
“Indeed Allah increases for whomsoever He wishes”. (Baqara 2:261)
Charity increases your knowledge!
It has been related from Mirza Khalil, may Allah have mercy on him, that he was not a physician, but he got the knowledge of medicine from a simple act of charity, as a gift of Allah to him.
He says that in his youth, he once visited the city of Qum that has the mausoleum of the sister of Imam Ridha (a.s.). During those days there was war between the countries of Iran and Russia, and there was lot of hunger due to bad and deteriorating conditions, especially when the cities of Iran were filled with prisoners from Russia.
He relates that his room was in one of the rooms of Dar ul-Shifaa, the top story of which constituted of a Madrassah and some rooms in which the visitors took abode.
Once Mirza Khalil went to the market to buy some bread and after a lot of efforts he got some. On the way back to his room he saw a Russian woman who was carrying a baby and was pale with hunger. When she saw Mirza Khalil with the loaf of bread she rebuked him, blaming him that the Muslims were not keeping the prisoners in a good state. Her words had a deep effect on Mirza Khalil and he decided to give the bread as charity. He then went back to his room feeling deep pangs of hunger.
Shortly after, a stranger knocked on his door to ask him where he could find a doctor, since the stranger’s mother was ill. Mirza Khalil asked him about the symptoms of the ailment, and when the stranger described to him about the nature of his mother’s sickness, Mirza Khalil found himself automatically or involuntarily prescribing some medicines to the stranger. When the stranger left to look for the medicines, Mirza Khalil was really puzzled, since he knew that he didn’t have any knowledge of medicine, but he was able to prescribe the medicine. Soon after, the stranger came to thank him and tell him that the medicine had cured the sick mother. Also, the stranger brought food and gold coins as an appreciation to him.
After some days the stranger brought to him several people suffering from various ailments, and Mirza Khalil repeated the same act of prescribing the medicines to them, and they were all cured. This is when Mirza Khalil realized that this was a gift he had got from the Almighty in return for the act of charity.
Mirza Khalil became a renowned doctor without passing any exams except that of a spiritual nature. In addition he studied medicine and saw that he grasped it’s principles with ease and reached great heights in this new career granted to him by Allah. 54 Charity to animals!
Imam Husayn (a.s.) saw a slave eating a morsel of food and then giving a morsel to a dog near him. The Imam asked the slave the reason why he was feeding the dog. The slave said that I feel ashamed to eat without feeding the dog.
The Imam asked the slave to wait until he returned, and went to the slave’s master, and bought the slave and the piece of land on which he worked from his master. Then he freed the slave. Thus the slave achieved his freedom as well as becoming the owner of a piece of land due to his kindness to the dog. 55
Half prosperity, half distress!
It has been related from Abil Hassan Al Mussa (a.s.) that there was a man amongst the Bani Israelites who saw a dream in which an angel informed him that half of his life would be prosperous and another half would be in distress. The angel asked him to choose whether he would like the first half to be in prosperity or the latter half.
The man woke up from his dream and consulted his wife. His wife advised him to choose the first half to be in prosperity, suggesting that Allah may have mercy on them later on.
The second night the man dreamt the angel again who demanded the answer from him. The man replied exactly what had been discussed by him with his wife. As prophesized by the angel the dream came true and the man was leading a very prosperous life with an abundance of blessings.
However his wife advised him to help his relatives, neighbors and the needy. Soon the first half of his life came to an end, and despite his expectation of problems and distress he found no change in his life, and still had all the blessings. He was puzzled and in this condition he dreamt of an angel who informed him that Allah thanked him for all the charity he had given and so decided to increase the blessings given to him.
A poet once said that if you wish to do good do so, and if you decide to sow a seed then sow a good one since a good seed will produce seven hundred more seedlings but a bad seed will only result in a bad outcome.
The famous poet Firdous says that: “A good deed is for yourself and a bad one also returns back to you”. 56
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