The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the most generous of people in giving charity, but he was even more generous during the month of Ramadan. He was more generous and faster in giving charity than a blowing wind. Anas radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The best charity is the one given during Ramadan.” [At-Tirmithi]
Zayd ibn Aslam narrated that his father said, “I heard ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu saying, ‘One day the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded us to give in charity. At that time, I had some money. I said, ‘Today I shall surpass Abu Bakr radhiAllahu ‘anhu, if I am to ever surpass him on any day.’ I therefore brought half of my wealth. The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked: ‘What have you left for your family?’ I replied, ‘The same amount.’ Abu Bakr then brought all that he had with him. The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked him: ‘What have you left for your family?’ He replied, ‘I have left Allah and His Messenger for them.’ Thereupon I said, ‘I shall never surpass him in anything.’”
Talhah ibn Yahya ibn Talhah radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated, “My grandmother Su‘da bint ‘Awf Al-Muriyyah who was the wife of Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullaah related to me, ‘Talhah came to me one day disconcerted. So I asked him, ‘Why is it that I see you with a gloomy face? What is the matter with you? Did I do something that upset you?’ He said, ‘No, you are the best wife a Muslim man can have.’ I said, ‘Then what is the matter?’ He said, ‘The wealth I have has increased and that disturbs me.’ I said, ‘Do not worry. Distribute it.’ She said, ‘He distributed it until not even a single dirham was left.’”
Talhah ibn Yahya radhiAllahu ‘anhu further said, “I asked the custodian of Talhah’s property: how much was the amount? He said, ‘Four hundred thousand.’”
Charity during Ramadan has special significance, so hasten to give as much as you can. Charity has many channels, including:
a. Feeding the needy: Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allaah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. Indeed, we fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful.” So Allaah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness, and will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments]. [Quran 76: 8-12]
The Salaf (righteous predecessors) were keen to provide food for others and they placed it before many acts of worship. Whether you feed a hungry person or a wealthy Muslim – the reward is the same. Hence, poverty is not a condition for feeding a person. It was narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “O people, spread the greeting of peace, provide food, maintain kinship ties and pray during the night when people are asleep, and you will enter Paradise peacefully.” [Ahmad and At-Tirmithi. Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
Some of our righteous predecessors said, “For me to invite ten of my friends and feed them with a meal that they like is dearer to me than freeing ten of the descendants of Isma‘eel (Ishmael).”
Many of the Salaf used to leave their Iftaar (food for breaking the fast) to others. They included ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu, Daawood At-Taa’i, Maalik ibn Dinaar and Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Ibn ‘Umar radhiAllahu a’nhu did not break his fast except with the orphans and the needy. Sometimes, if he learned that his family had turned away orphans and the needy, he would not break his fast that night.
Some of the Salaf, including Al-Hasan and Ibn Al-Mubaarak used to feed their fellow Muslim while they still continued to fast. They also served them and attended to their well-being.
Abu As-Sawwaar Al-‘Adwi said, “Some men from Banu ‘Adyy tribe used to pray in this mosque. None of them ever broke the fast alone with his food. If he found someone to share with, he ate with him, if not, he would take it to the mosque, so that others ate with him and he ate with others.”
Feeding other people is an act of worship that leads to many other acts of worship, including endearing yourself to your brothers whom you fed, which will lead you to Paradise. The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another.” This deed will keep you close to righteous people and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will reward you as the food you provide gives them energy to perform acts of obedience.
b- Providing food to break the fast: It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever feeds a fasting person will have a reward equal to that of the fasting person, without any reduction in his reward.” [Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i. Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
In another hadeeth, Salman radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever feeds a fasting person in it (meaning Ramadan) will be recompensed with the forgiveness of sins and salvation from Hell. He will also receive the same reward as the fasting person without causing him any reduction (in his reward).” The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, not all of us can find something to feed a fasting person.” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam responded: “Allah will give this reward to him who feeds a fasting person with a sip of milk or a date or a sip of water. Also, Allah will make him who quenches the thirst of a fasting person to drink from my basin a drink after which he will never feel thirsty until he enters Paradise (where there is no thirst).”
Originally published here.