In this activity we broke up into small groups and discussed one of five topics relating to charity.
Charity and Community
The Best Community
[3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in GOD. If the followers of the scripture believed, it would be better for them. Some of them do believe, but the majority of them are wicked.
Appendix 36 – What Price A Great Nation
3. Prosperity for all the people. God’s economic system is based on constant circulation of wealth, no usury, and productive investment. Non-productive economy such as gambling, lottery, and high interest loans are not permitted (2:275-7, 59:7).
Giving to charity brings people of different socioeconomic statuses together. This makes us less selfish and more involved in the decisions that affect the community at large and not just our own demographic.
People who give show that they don’t have dependency to the worldly material and this send a good message to the community at large. By giving we are releasing our worldly attachments. God tell us that we cannot attain righteousness until you give from the possessions you love
Charity also creates bonds between people and also brings awareness towards causes in the community or society at large and ways to address them.
Charity and Activism (Social Change)
Sometimes charity can be given towards a cause. This rallies people around a common cause and brings awareness to the topic and ideally a plan of action on how to address the issue. People pick a cause that they feel passionate about that they want to help. We have numerous examples of people giving money to help in causes in other countries and societies to impact social change. The example of Charity Water shows how giving people easy access to fresh drinking water can change an entire society, because so much of person’s time in these villages revolves around obtaining and transporting water. When this time is freed up in particular women are able to be kept safe and productive in a society.
Charity and Equality
Charity creates equality in a community because it provides a circulation of wealth. Charity also helps prevent theft. Charity can also fund education and with a more educated society can bring more equality to the community.
Appendix 36 – What Price A Great Nation
4. Social justice for all. Because of the obligatory charity (Zakat), no one will go hungry or un-sheltered (2:215, 70:24-25, 107:1-7).
Charity and Humility
[2:262] Those who spend their money in the cause of GOD, then do not follow their charity with insult or harm, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;
Charity is not only limited to money. It can be our time our expertise, labor etc. God also tells us that a kind word is better than a charity followed by insult as we previously learned. When we give to charity or receive charity we realize that is a blessing in either way and this teaches us humility.
Charity and Socioeconomic Class
God advocates us to give to charity across different classes.
[2:273] Charity shall go to the poor who are suffering in the cause of GOD, and cannot emigrate. The unaware may think that they are rich, due to their dignity. But you can recognize them by certain signs; they never beg from the people persistently. Whatever charity you give, GOD is fully aware thereof.
When we give to charity it requires us to go inside a community and understand the problems at hand. Sometimes money can solve the problem, but sometimes it requires a deeper understanding of the root of the problem and then determining the best way to approach it. It is good to give to a charitable organization, but can really form a connection when we give directly.
When we give to charity it is important to get involved in the community and seeing who needs help. Think about what areas of the community do we want to know better and what problems we can help solve with our charitable giving.