All of us could enrich our lives with the rewards of sincere charity, but these common misconceptions keep us from doing so:
It is my income, I have the right to do whatever I want with it!
We may think so, but all the great religions of the world state otherwise. For example, the Quran clearly states, ‘The poor and the destitute have a right to your wealth’. Thus, when we give charity, we are not doing any special favor; we are simply honoring this right. And when we do so, nature honors us in return.
In fact, it is impossible to attain salvation without charity. Muhammad (PBUH), the prophet of Islam, said that what we give in the service of humanity is truly ours, it will bring us salvation. What we cling to or hoard is not ours, our descendents will use it for their own consumption. The Rig Veda states, “ Let us serve the Lord by giving to the poor and the deprived.” So if we want to grow closer to God charity is a must.
First I will earn a lot of money then I will do something for society
Instead of thinking I will donate after I am wealthy, we should donate in order to be wealthy. Charity is one of the five Quantum Laws of Prosperity. When we give something away a vacuum is created, and since nature abhors a vacuum, things rush in from every direction to fill it up. Just as a low pressure in the atmosphere creates a storm, sincere charity creates a storm of rewards.
This is why all the great religions encourage everyone, regardless of whether they are rich or poor, to donate. And it is not how much but how wholeheartedly we give that counts. Muhammad (PBUH), the prophet of Islam, once said that even if we donate a single date from our honest income Allah accepts it with his own hands and makes it mountainous with his bounty. So don’t hesitate to give from what you have.
How can I not give to beggars, it is inhuman!
In many societies around the world begging is an organized business. Giving alms to beggars therefore defeats the true purpose of charity. The Weekly 2000, the Daily Jae Jae Din and the Daily Ittefaq have all published investigative reports on the begging business in Bangladesh. These reports brought to surface some fascinating facts.
There is a huge network of beggars in Dhaka. This network is controlled by professional beggar Godfathers under political shelter. These godfathers gather beggars from all over the country, train them in all sorts of tricks, and then send them to beg in various spots in the city. For every 100 taka he makes, the beggar gets 50 taka at most; the rest goes in the pocket of the godfather.
The combined annual income of this organized begging mafia was almost 30 crore taka back in 2005. Average daily income was between 250 and 300 taka, average monthly income around 9000 taka, and average annual income more than 1 lakh taka! ( Weekly 2000, 18.02.2005)
Jamir Ali, a beggar, owns 35 bighas of land. Every year, he buys one more bigha of land in his village home in Rangpur with the money he makes by begging. On his children’s birthday, he sends cakes from the best confectionaries in Dhaka.
Jalal Molla, another beggar, makes 60 thousand taka per month and owns 12 baby taxis and 2 microbuses. He has named his two-storey house in his village home musafir khana ( Traveller’s Lodge).
Karam Alai Sheikh, another beggar, conducts usury business on the side. Although he pretends to be a beggar in the city, he owns a luxurious home and a private rickshaw in his village. He pays his private rickshaw puller two and half thousand taka in salary every month. ( Daily Ittefaq, 13.01.2007).
So don’t be fooled! Your money can be put to much better use.
Charity is great for publicity!
If you think of charity as a publicity tool or as a means to gain someone’s favor, secure a contract or a deal, or want to use it in your self interest in some other way, you will never be able to enjoy its natural rewards. Similarly, if you remind or taunt the person you have given to, or expect to take advantage of their helplessness in some way, charity will not bring you any mental, physical, financial or spiritual benefits. Only when you make the donation with pure intentions will it bring you rewards in return.
‘Those who donate secretly for Allah’s satisfaction and do not taunt or hurt the recipient will be rewarded. The will be free from fear, pain and misery.’ (Surah Al Baquarah 263)
‘There are wonderful rewards for those who give selflessly. They will enjoy blessed long lives and immortality.’ ( Rig Veda, 1:125).
Whether others engage in charity or not is their business, why should I interfere?
All the great religions encourage us to inspire others to donate, and forbid us to discourage them.
The Buddha said when we keep someone away from charity we commit three offences. First, we deprive the potential donor from the satisfaction and reward of doing a good work. Second, we deprive the potential recipient from help. Third, we insult ourselves through this expression of pettiness.
If we analyze the ayats 16 to 20 of Surah Mayoon we will see that one of the main causes of poverty is not encouraging others to stand by the downtrodden.
Thus, encouraging charity in others is a part of spiritual progress. So besides giving yourself, encourage others to give as well. You too will be rewarded along with the donor.