The importance of charity during Ramadan
The CEO of the National Zakat Foundation Dr Sohail Hanif talks about the importance of charity and generosity during Ramadan.
The Holy Month of Ramadan is built around two things – fasting and the Holy Quran.
Firstly, fasting. Scholars state that amongst the reasons we fast is to feel the plight of the hungry and to feel the joy of food and drink when we break our fast.
You’ll know how that first sip of water and taste of a fresh date beings us such happiness. Even those who are unable to fast must atone by feeding someone hungry.
So, fasting is about harmonising with those who experience these struggles – sharing feelings with those without means. It’s theorised around need, to feel what they feel, to be the connector to the hungry.
Meanwhile, the month of Ramadan is also a celebration of revelation. We are expected to recite the Holy Quran more during this month than any other time.
Narrated Ibn Abbas: “The Prophet (SAW) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur'an with him. Allah's Messenger (SAW then used to be more generous than the fast wind.”
This Hadith is explicit that during Ramadan our engagement with the Holy Quran will find expression in the act of generosity. The book is called Quran Kareem – the Generous. The entirety of the holy message is painting a picture of reality and the journey to God and the centrality to charity in this journey.
When we combine these two features – fasting and its rigours of discipline to bring us in to harmony with those in need and our relationship with the Holy Book – it leads to an outpouring of generosity.
This generosity is felt across the land and across history with open feasting and the open iftars we see now across the world. It’s this giving that Muslims are known for, with studies often suggesting our community are the most generous while also being the most impoverished.
Here at the National Zakat Foundation we experience this generosity, with thousands of people giving their Zakat locally to help Muslims in need across the UK.
This year, the need is so great and the situation so dire that international relief organisations are giving to NZF, to help alleviate poverty in our towns and cities in our own country.
Every day, we hear stories of terrible hardship and suffering from people across the UK.
This Ramadan, I hope that the ability to understand at least some of their pain coupled with generous giving will go some way to building a stronger Muslim community.