This International Day of Charity, the world is celebrating acts of charity and the big-hearted people and organisations that are helping to make our world a better place.
Charity has an honoured status within Islam. This is not limited to obligatory charitable giving. It includes all charitable acts, as the Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: “Every act of goodness is charity” (Muslim, Hadith 496). Here are our top tips to help you make the most of your acts of charity today and throughout the year:
- Use your passions to have fun and raise much-needed funds for charitable causes. If you have a taste for adventure, check out the amazing challenges offered by Islamic Relief in your country. Put those formidable culinary skills to work by holding a bake-off, bring friends together in a coffee morning, or encourage the children to hold a sponsored silence (good luck with that one!). The possibilities are endless.
- Making a charitable donation is a great way to make a difference, but do your research before committing your cash. Look for charities that measure their impact, follow international best practice and codes of conduct, and which deliver effective and high quality programmes alongside value-for-money. Find out more on the charity’s website and those of regulatory bodies such as the UK Charity Commission. Ask questions if you need more information.
- There is a great tradition within Islam for speaking out against injustice. Perhaps there is a humanitarian crisis like that in Yemen, which is overlooked by the mainstream news media. Or maybe a problem like climate change, where each and every one of us needs to act. Your voice matters. Use it to raise awareness, contribute to the debate, and push for action.
Use your free time to give back. Volunteering with organisations like Islamic Relief will enable you to do good and develop your skills. Investing your free time to serve your community, perhaps by coaching a children’s cricket team, running errands for an older person or even litter-picking at your local park, can be spiritually and emotionally rewarding.
- Charity begins at home, according to the old saying. Be kind to those around you – your family, your friends, your associates and your neighbours – and remember, “you who believe, do not cancel out your charitable deeds with reminders and hurtful words” (Qur’an, 2:262).
- There is a simple charitable act that costs nothing and takes no time at all to do. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Your smile for your brother is charity” (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, 3:98). Flash those pearly whites, and light up someone’s day.
Islamic Relief is an independent humanitarian and development organisation with a presence in over 40 countries around the globe. We have helped millions of vulnerable people in our 30 years of fighting poverty and injustice.