Charity and Zakat – What to give and to whom? (2:215)

Recipients of Charity

[2:215] They ask you about giving: say, “The charity you give shall go to the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien.” Any good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.

Second pillar is Zakat. This verse describes the recipients of charity.

How much to give to charity:

6:141 zakat must be given on day of harvest – we harvest paychecks should give when we get paychecks

In the footnote it reads that zakat is so important that mercy is restricted for people who give it specified as 2.5% since time of Abraham

I give the amount that is not bothering me or impacts my life. God says do not be extravagant help others but do not hurt yourself financially.

Zakat is 2.5% not penny more or less. Anything extra is charity.

Give the excess the extra.

[2:219] They ask you about intoxicants and gambling: say, “In them there is a gross sin, and some benefits for the people. But their sinfulness far outweighs their benefit.” They also ask you what to give to charity: say, “The excess.” GOD thus clarifies the revelations for you, that you may reflect, 


The Meaning of Community (2:213)

Disastrous Jealousy
[2:213] The people used to be one community when GOD sent the prophets as bearers of good news, as well as warners. He sent down with them the scripture, bearing the truth, to judge among the people in their disputes. Ironically, those who received the scripture were the ones who rejected any new scripture, despite clear proofs given to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. GOD guides those who believe to the truth that is disputed by all others, in accordance with His will. GOD guides whoever wills in a straight path.* 

What does “community” mean?

Community is a group of people that think the same or share the same interest.

If we used to be one community how is it that there are so many communities?

Because they follow man not God. If we are worshiping God alone then they we are united we are the same believers. This is unifying believers not separating/condemning other groups. Men and women are all equal, it is only our faith that separates.


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Delayed Gratification (2:201 – 2:202)

[2:201] Others would say, “Our Lord, grant us righteousness in this world, and righteousness in the Hereafter, and spare us the retribution of Hell.” 
[2:202] Each of these will receive the share they have earned. GOD is most efficient in reckoning.

Marshmallow Experiment

The Marshmallow Test and Why We Want Instant Gratification: Silvia Barcellos at TEDxMidAtlantic 2012


Marshmallows and Children a Lesson in Time Preference Theory (Ted)

Ask God for this life then He will give you the marshmallow now. But, if you ask for the Hereafter then God will give you the marshmallow now and in the Hereafter as well.

Commemorate GOD as you commemorate your own parents (2:200)

[2:200] Once you complete your rites, you shall continue to commemorate GOD as you commemorate your own parents, or even better. Some people would say, “Our Lord, give us of this world,” while having no share in the Hereafter.

What does it mean to commemorate God as you commemorate your own parents?

Commemorate own parents, the ones raising you paying for your education, never realize how much they do. A lot of people see that and they appreciate their parents. 1st commandment there is no god beside God, 2nd commandment is honor your parents

31:14 “We enjoined the human being to honor his parents. His mother bore him, and the load got heavier and heavier. It takes two years (of intensive care) until weaning. You shall be appreciative of Me, and of your parents. To Me is the ultimate destiny.”

Tendency to pray for loved ones when in Hajj – is a reminder for Hajj that your main commemoration should be to God.

How do you commemorate parents?

Definition commemorate:

  • to exist or be done in order to remind people of (an important event or person from the past)
  • to do something special in order to remember and honor (an important event or person from the past)

After a certain age we don’t need them anymore – are we still giving them attention now that we don’t need them? Are you willing to do that? Means to remember/tend to/take care of. To commemorate God means to honor/remember God.

Whatever occupies most of your day is your God. Should always think about God the most. Commemoration of God always has to be higher than remembrance of parents.

Weekly Activity – The Benefits of Commerce (2:198)

Part #1
Get an assortment of candies and snacks. Have people randomly select one item then rank on a scale of 1 to 10 how much they like the item. average the number across everyone’s ranking.

Part #2
Give people an opportunity to trade with one another for 1 minute. Then allow everyone to rate how much they like their new item, and compare the change in level of satisfaction.

How does this make you think of giving to charity? Would it be better to give someone something they actually need or what you think is best for them?


Commemorating God at Hajj (2:198-199)

[2:198] You commit no error by seeking provisions from your Lord (through commerce). When you file from `Arafaat, you shall commemorate GOD at the Sacred Location (of Muzdalifah). You shall commemorate Him for guiding you; before this, you had gone astray.

[2:199] You shall file together, with the rest of the people who file, and ask GOD for forgiveness. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

It was different when doing Hajj – I didn’t try and look for the best deal but looked for what God wanted me to have. Learned that if you are in a state of Ihram (being the best righteous person you can be) how beautiful it is. Everything you find is a gift, and you will love it because you are very appreciative. God says give from the things you love – if someone asks for something in Hajj because they want it I will give it to them.


Sacred Months (2:197)

The Four Months of Hajj (Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi I)
[2:197] Hajj shall be observed in the specified months.* Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.

*2:197 Hajj can be observed any time during the Sacred Months: Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, and Rabi I. Local governments restrict Hajj to a few days for their own convenience. See 9:37

 Altering the Sacred Months*
[9:37] Altering the Sacred Months is a sign of excessive disbelief; it augments the straying of those who have disbelieved. They alternate the Sacred Months and the regular months, while preserving the number of months consecrated by GOD. They thus violate what GOD has consecrated. Their evil works are adorned in their eyes. GOD does not guide the disbelieving people. 

*9:37 The Sacred Months according to the corrupted Muslim World are Rajab, Zul-Qe`dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th and 1st months of the Islamic Calendar). A careful study of the Quran, however, reveals that they should be Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, and Rabi I (12th, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd months). See Appendix 15

Islamic Months

According to 9:2 and 9:5 the four sacred months are consecutive months.

[9:2] Therefore, roam the earth freely for four months, and know that you cannot escape from GOD, and that GOD humiliates the disbelievers.

[9:5] Once the Sacred Months are past,

Additionally, Rabi I (Rabi Aval) is the third month of the Islamic calendar, but the word Rabi means spring, but in classical Arabic it means fourth or one fourth. Why would the third month of the Islamic calendar be called the fourth? Because it is the fourth sacred month.


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Hajj (2:196)

Hajj and `Umrah Pilgrimage*
[2:196] You shall observe the complete rites of Hajj and`Umrah for GOD. If you are prevented, you shall send an offering, and do not resume cutting your hair until your offering has reached its destination. If you are ill, or suffering a head injury (and you must cut your hair), you shall expiate by fasting, or giving to charity, or some other form of worship. During the normal Hajj, if you break the state of Ihraam (sanctity) between `Umrah and Hajj, you shall expiate by offering an animal sacrifice. If you cannot afford it, you shall fast three days during Hajj and seven when you return home – this completes ten – provided you do not live at the Sacred Masjid. You shall observe GOD, and know that GOD is strict in enforcing retribution. 

Discovery Channel Mecca:

Hajj (start 2min 20sec)

You should go to Hajj with good intentions as you are going to get ever closer to God.

Hajj puts believers in the the mood of giving to charity.

During Hajj a man insisted to give me prayer beads even though I was not poor, all beads that I bought in Hajj broke except for that one.

Best behavior when on Hajj, learned that I need a lot of work to always be appreciative. There is a lot to focus on for both positive and negative at Hajj realized that I have to choose where to put emphasis.

Need to be in a state of Ihram when you go to Hajj and this needs to become second nature.

Malcom Gladwell – Second Nature

Messenger recommends waiting approximately ten years before going to Hajj.

Malcom Gladwell – 10,000 hour rule (2 min)

2:196 – 2:215

This week we read from 2:196 – 2:215. Some of the items that were discussed were the following

  • Hajj (2:196)
  • Sacred Months (2:197)
  • Weekly Activity – The Benefits of Commerce (2:198)
  • Commemorate GOD as you commemorate your own parents (2:200)
  • Delayed Gratification (2:201 – 2:202)
  • Disbelievers Ridicule the Believers (2:212)
  • The meaning of community (2:213)
  • Charity and Zakat – What to give and to whom? (2:215)

Weekly Activity: Lesson Regarding The Rules of War and Compassion (2:190 – 2:195)

Rules of War*
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.

*2:190 All fighting is regulated by the basic rule in 60:8-9. Fighting is allowed strictly in self-defense, while aggression and oppression are strongly condemned throughout the Quran.

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
[2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
[2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
[2:195] You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.

Grossness of Murder
[5:32] Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.

A Higher Call

Think about your family; your parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents. How far and how wide can you go in your family tree? We all originate from the same mom and dad (7:189) and God made us into distinct people that we may recognize one another (29:13). We are all related in one way or another and we should never cease from holding out showing compassion to our family. When we spare a life, save a life, affect a life we are not only affecting that one life, but all the lives that will descend from that individual.

Family Tree Explained