Already, the full moon has graced the skies and is waning back to it’s crescent form. Half of Ramadan has passed…the Month of Giving is nearing its end.
Charity has a very important place in Islam; it is one of the five pillars enjoined upon Muslims. And in the month of Ramadan, the encouragement to give in charity is even more emphasized.
The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) described him saying, “The Prophet was the most generous of people, and he was most generous during Ramadan.”
So, in keeping with this spirit of increased generosity that he exemplified, Muslims around the world make an extra effort to be charitable during this month.
It is a time when children eagerly drop coins into their sadaqah (voluntary charity) jars. When families fill boxes with non-perishables for the food banks. When pre-loved toys and clothes find new homes. And when charity organizations see the bulk of their yearly funds come pouring in.
This definition of charity…the giving of one’s wealth…is the one that comes most readily to our minds. But charity within the Islamic context has a much broader meaning: to do good for one another in any form .
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once said: “To judge justly between two people is charity. To help a person with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting his belongings onto it is charity. And the kind word is charity. And every step that you take towards prayer is charity. And removing a harmful object from the road is charity.”
It is this far-reaching outlook on sadaqah (voluntary charity) that defines the essence of Ramadan. The spirit of the month is brought to life by the generosity of the people. And even though this may be a pandemic Ramadan where congregation and gatherings are not possible, the acts of charity still shine through and define the Month of Giving.
Baskets of dates and other delicious edibles are left on the porches of our neighbours. Cards filled with prayers and love are mailed, or whatsapped, to loved ones we cannot visit. Containers of hot food are distributed at drive-thrus in mosque parking lots to hundreds of congregants in lieu of a community meal.
And in this modern age, online platforms like Launchgood and JustGiving collect millions of dollars on behalf of aid organizations, replacing the collection boxes circulating after prayer. Social media sites like Instagram and Facebook raise awareness of the campaigns and causes, replacing fundraising dinners.
It’s a different Ramadan experience.
But it’s still the Month of Giving without doubt.
And that spirit of charity that forms the essence of Ramadan continues to shine as brightly as ever.
Maryam Baksh is a graduate from University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Muslim community in Vancouver and a busy young mother.
You cna read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking, HERE