How a Believer Lives During a Pandemic
Question: What should a Muslim's life look like during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Answer: They should continue to live life for Allah's sake, with patience, hope and trust.
Aisha (ra) reported that she asked the Messenger of Allah (saw) about plagues and he said, 'It is a punishment that Allah sends upon whoever He wills, but Allah has made it a mercy for the believers. Any servant who resides in a land afflicted by plague, remaining patient and hoping for reward from Allah, knowing that nothing will befall him but what Allah has decreed, he will be given the reward of a martyr'. (Bukhari)
From the hadith above, it is clear that it is not only those who die from the plague who will be given the reward of a martyr. You don't even have to be infected by it. As long as you stay in the land (instead of fleeing the disease and carrying it elsewhere), remaining patient, hoping for Allah's reward and trusting in Allah's plan - you will get the reward of a martyr.
Allah often tells us not to fear or be distressed in the Qur'an - because as long as we believe and perform good deeds, we will not lose anything. Even if we are isolated or fall victim to this pandemic, as long as we continue to believe and do good, we will not have lost anything. Rather, we will have gained Allah's pleasure, reward and the incredibly high status of a martyr.
With that in mind, let's remind ourselves of why we should continue to give charity during this calamity. Let's not be fearful and worried about our wealth; instead, let us continue to be compassionate, selfless and generous for the sake of Allah.
This is the power of charity:
One: Charity Protects You From Hardship
Charity can protect us from trials and tribulations in this world. During this crisis, we are all reading up on basic health and nutrition tips, NHS guidelines and, of course, protective du'as and Qur'anic verses. But we should not forget an essential good deed we can do to protect ourselves - giving Sadaqah.
Giving Sadaqah does not just include donating money to the needy - although that is a highly rewardable action. It also includes simple acts, like smiling at people or making a loved one a cup of tea - compassionate actions that will surely comfort and please people during this time of self-isolation.
If you want to protect both yourself and vulnerable families from calamity, why not donate to our Coronavirus Appeal? We are delivering vital food and other essentials to the most vulnerable and isolated families in the UK and we urgently need your support.
Two: Charity Increases Your Wealth
Sometimes, we can think of our good deeds as things that will only benefit us in the afterlife. During times of crisis, it is tempting to think 'It is too difficult to give charity right now - it will only make things harder for me in this life'. We know it will be beneficial in the afterlife, but we are worried about sustaining ourselves in this life.
It is wise to be cautious during this time of uncertainty. However, it is important to remember that the Prophet (saw) said: 'Charity does not decrease your wealth'. (Muslim)
This is a really important reminder: whatever you spend in the way of Allah will never be a loss. It will never take anything away from what you have. In fact, it will actually increase your wealth:
This is true for both Sadaqah and Zakat. In fact, the root word of Zakat in Arabic literally means both 'purification' and 'increase'. Thus, spending in the way of Allah both purifies your wealth and increases it.
Three: You Will Wish You Gave More Charity
'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"'. (Qur'an, 63:10)
This Qur’anic verse shows us that we need to prioritise giving charity while we can. Because, when we’re about to die, we will wish that we had a little more time in this world - just so we can give charity.
This is really thought-provoking. Of all the things a person could do if they had more time on earth - praying, asking for forgiveness, spending time with their families, fasting - they will wish they could give charity. This will be their number one priority when they are about to die.
Let’s not wait until it’s too late before we give charity! In this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to live as if today is our last day in this world. Give charity as if it’s the last chance you will ever have to give charity.
Four: Allah Will Fulfil Your Needs
'Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs'. (Bukhari)
Our instinct could be to withdraw during this time, to take care of our own needs and pull away from being generous towards others. But, the fact is, we don’t take care of our own needs - Allah does.
And while we should be planning well and thinking ahead during this crisis, we should also have faith that Allah will fulfil our needs. We should continue to act for His sake and not succumb to acting selfishly or short-shortsightedly.
Ultimately, by fulfilling the needs of our brothers and sisters in need, Allah will fulfil our needs too.
Five: Charity Protects You Even in Your Grave
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, ‘Verily, charity will protect people from the heat of the graves’. (Tabarani)
Not only does giving charity benefit you immensely in this world, it also protects you from the punishment of the grave. Moreover, it can actually bring happiness to people in their graves:
Such is the amazing power of Sadaqah: in this world, it will increase your wealth, fulfil your needs, and protect you from hardship; and when you are in your grave, it will continue to benefit you! It is truly a priceless investment during this pandemic.
Six: Charity Removes Sins
Continuing on the theme of charity benefiting you in the next life - it can also remove your sins, as stated in this hadith:
'Charity extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire'. (Ibn Majah)
This is a powerful analogy because, by extinguishing your sins, giving charity is pulling you further away from (Hell) Fire. As the Prophet said, ‘Save yourselves from the (Hell) Fire even by (giving in charity) half a date; and if this is not available, then (save yourselves) by saying a good, pleasant, friendly word’. (Bukhari)
The amount of charity you give can be small as half a date, but if you give it with a sincere intention, it can still remove your sins and protect you from the Fire. In times of hardship, you don’t have to be extravagantly generous - just give what you can with a pure intention. Every donation counts, and what means little to you can mean a world of difference to a family in need.
Seven: Charity Shades You on the Day of Judgement
So far, we have seen that, in the afterlife, giving charity will protect you in your grave and remove your sins. But it has yet another power: it will shade you on the Day of Judgement, a day when there will be no shelter or rest:
On top of this, every time you give charity which removes someone’s discomfort, Allah will reward you for your compassion by removing one of your discomforts in the next life:
'Whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection'. (Bukhari)
There are so many ways you can remove someone’s discomfort! You could give shelter, water, clothes, transport or a livelihood - you have the power to make someone’s life a lot easier with a single click.
During this Coronavirus pandemic, you can ease a vulnerable family or elderly person’s burden by providing them with food to help them cope.
Eight: Charity is a Door to Paradise
Finally, after protecting you in this world, increasing your wealth, fulfilling your needs, removing your sins, protecting you in your grave and shading you on the day of Judgement, giving Sadaqah has not finished benefiting you! It’s eighth power is to lead you straight into Paradise!
One of the gateways to Paradise is called ‘Baab al-Sadaqah’, meaning ‘Door of Charity’. This means that giving charity is literally a door into Jannah; an unmissable opportunity and the best investment you will ever make.
We’d like to draw your attention to two more ways Sadaqah can benefit you:
Nine: It is the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw)
We have now entered the blessed month of Sha’ban, of which the Prophet (saw) said:
‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Sha’ban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my Ummah’. (As-Suyuti)
This means that we should be making an effort to draw closer to the Prophet (saw) during this month. One way to strengthen this connection is by following his Sunnah of being generous:
He (saw) lived simply and gave often, considering all the charity he gave to be a gain rather than a loss:
Aisha (ra) narrated that they had slaughtered a sheep, and after distributing it, the Prophet (saw) asked, ‘What remains of it?’ She said, ‘Nothing remains of it except its shoulder’. He (saw) said, ‘All of it remains except its shoulder’. (Tirmidhi)
Thus, one of the powers of giving charity is that it helps us follow the Prophet’s (saw) example, bringing us closer to him.
Ten: Charity is Proof of Faith
Giving charity for Allah’s sake, as stated in the hadith above, is proof of one’s faith. In fact, the Arabic root word of ‘sadaqah’ means ‘to be truthful’ or ‘to believe’ or ‘to attest as true’ - meaning that giving Sadaqah shows the truth of your faith.
This crisis is a test of faith. If it makes us more patient, more generous, more reliant on Allah, more eager to please Him, more compassionate of others - in short, if it improves us and brings us closer to Allah - then it will be a source of mercy and reward for us. However, if our fear and worry make us decrease your good deeds, become selfish and bring us further from Allah, then we will not have gained anything from this crisis.
Which will you choose? The temptation of hoarding or the power of charity? Fear or faith? Will you choose the power of charity and the way of a believer who has complete trust in Allah’s Plan?