Generosity is a virtuous trait that every Muslim should strive to attain. As for the believer who closely adheres to the teachings of Islam, kindness and giving from what he has become part of his good character.
Generosity is the opposite of stinginess, as stinginess is a disease of the heart. The Muslim should avoid this bad quality, for it is a source of corruption. The Muslim’s faith and righteous deeds purify his heart, so his hands should be outstretched, giving to those who are in need.
A generous man will share what he has with others, thinking about other people as he thinks of himself. He benefits by helping others and solving their problems. He makes people happy and prevents them from doing wrong, which is often a direct result of poverty. This is a great service to society, and there are some people who spend their life in this service, establishing valuable foundations which remain after them such as hospitals, libraries etc.
Whatever is given for Allah’s Sake will never decrease one’s wealth in the slightest; rather, it will bless, purify and increase it, as the Prophet said: “Charity does not decrease wealth.” [Muslim]
Whatever is given in charity will be recorded with The One Who has full knowledge of all things. Allah, Almighty, Says (what means): “…And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” [Quran 2: 272]
The Prophet directed the Muslims’ attention to this higher understanding of generosity when he asked ‘Aaishah, may Allah be pleased with her, what was left of the sheep they had slaughtered. She told him : ‘Nothing but the shoulder.” He said, ‘Everything except the shoulder is saved’.” [At-Tirmithi]
Whatever is spent will return multiplied and Allah will increase it in this world and in the next. Allah Says (what means): “The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” [Quran 2: 261]
And (what means): “…But whatever thing you spend [in His cause] – He will compensate it; and He is the best of providers.”[Quran 34: 39]
Since noble characteristics are acquired in different ways, the Muslim works to develop virtuous traits according to Islamic guidelines. Allah Says (what means): “And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, ‘My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.’”[Quran 63: 10]
Generosity is not expressed exclusively with wealth and money, but also with our time, good deeds, actions and kindness to all people. Allah Says (what means): “Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love...”[Quran 3: 92]
Allah, Almighty Says (what means): “Indeed, mankind was created anxious: when evil touches him, impatient, and when good touches him, withholding [of it]…”[Quran 70: 19-21]
The Messenger of Allah said: “Protect yourself from the Hell-fire even by giving a piece of a date as charity.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This narration shows that a person can be generous and win the pleasure of Allah even by spending a small quantity of wealth.
Jaabir, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah never said `no’ to anyone who asked him for something. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This narration illustrates the generosity of the Prophet . If somebody asked him for something, he would never say `no’ to him. He would also, on occasions, resort to borrowing to meet the want of a needy person.
The Prophet said: “Everyday two angels descend and one of them says, `O Allah! Compensate (more) to the person who gives (in charity)’; while the other one says, `O Allah! Destroy the one who withholds (charity, etc).’” [Al-Bukhari]
The Prophet also said: “Allah, the Exalted, Says, `Spend, O son of Aadam, you will also be spent upon.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
According to the narration, one who spends in the way of Allah, will be duly paid. It means that Allah will enhance the provision of such a man and grant him the best recompense.
In another narration, the Prophet said: “There are forty kinds of virtue, the highest of which is to gift a (milch) she-goat. He who practices any of these virtues, expecting its reward (from Allah) and believing in the truth of the promise made for it, will enter Jannah (Paradise).” [Al-Bukhari]
A person giving charity should not render it vain by reminders of his generosity or by injury. The giver should be cheerful when asked and when giving. He should spend without being stingy or irresponsible.
Whether giving in abundance from his riches, or a small amount of his meager means, one should give with complete satisfaction, a cheerful face and nice speech.
The Muslim who truly understands the teachings of his religion never looks down upon any charity, no matter how small it may be. He strives to do as much as he is able, while he is firm in his conviction that Allah will reward his good deeds, no matter how small, as Allah Says (what means): “On no soul does Allah place a burden greater that it can bear …”[Quran 2: 286]
He also responds to the words of the Prophet : “Protect yourselves from the Fire even if it is with half a date.” [Al-Bukhari]
Islam teaches the Muslims to be constructive, beneficial members of their societies; always helping those who are deprived and destitute to the best of their abilities. Every good deed is described as an act of charity, as the Prophet said:
“Every Muslim must give charity.”
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if he cannot do that?”
“Then let him help one who is in desperate need.”
“Then let him do good, and refrain from doing evil, and that will be an act of charity on his part.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]