'And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and (numerous) benefits, and from them you eat'. [The Noble Qur'an, 16:5]
As the temperatures drop and the frosts start to set in, Allah (swt) has given us the perfect way to protect ourselves from the cold - layers of warm clothing.
While most of us are digging into our winter wardrobes and stocking up on warm clothes, sadly, there are many families around the world who can't afford this essential winter protection. With that in mind, we've put together a blog about the incredible rewards you can gain from providing warm clothes to those in need.
Without further ado, here are five simple reasons to donate warm clothes this winter!
You will be doing something Allah loves
Providing warm winter clothes is one of the best ways you can be beneficial to others during the cold season.
In winter, there are two ways our bodies lose heat:
- Conduction, when we touch something cold (e.g. by sitting on the floor); and
- Convection, when heat transfers from our bodies to a moving fluid or gas (e.g. when the icy-cold wind whips around our bodies).
Many people can't avoid the winter cold in their day-to-day lives. For example, impoverished families in Pakistan and Afghanistan live in dilapidated houses with no central heating, even while the temperature drops as low as -15 degrees. They also don't have the option of taking heated transport to work or school. Moreover, their daily errands - washing clothes, collecting firewood, visiting neighbours - involve coming into direct contact with the cold.
When advising the Sahabah (ra) about winter, Umar (ra) wrote, '…prepare for it with wool, leather boots (khuffs) and socks. Use wool as your under-clothing and outer-clothing, because the cold is an enemy that enters quickly but leaves slowly'. [Lata'if al-Ma'arif]
As Umar (ra) said, coldness enters our bodies as soon as we touch something cold, but it takes a long time for us to warm up after that. This is why it's important to prevent our bodies from getting cold in the first place.
You will be protected in this world
The gift of a warm shawl, a winter coat or some thick socks may seem small to us, but it makes a world of difference to those with no other protection from below-freezing temperatures.
SubhanAllah, although we can’t protect families in Syria, India-administered Kashmir and elsewhere from conflict and impoverishment, we can protect them from the cold, rain and snow this winter.
The gift of warm clothing is also clearly given a lot of weight by Allah and His Messenger (saw), because for as long as someone uses that gift, you will be under Allah's protection. While you are shielding someone from the bitter cold, Allah, al-Hafeedh, the Ultimate Protector, is shielding you from countless troubles and obstacles.
You will be blessed in the next world
Our teams around the world are distributing warm winter clothing to the vulnerable. These include gloves, socks, coats, jumpers and shawls - simple clothes whose purpose is to keep people warm.
Yet Allah considers the gift of this basic clothing to be worth the beautiful clothing of Jannah! These clothes are described in the Qur'an as: 'green garments of fine silk and brocade' [18:31] - and of course, the 'silk' of Paradise is incomparable to the silk of this world!
This reminds us of the question Allah asks us: 'Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over?' [2:245]
No matter how small your donation to those in need this winter, Allah, the Most Generous, will multiply it for you, and you will see its rewards in this life and the next, in sha' Allah. Equally, no matter how large your donation is, you will never regret it, because it is a truly wise and beneficial investment, alhamdulillah!
Protecting people from the cold is a great deed
The above hadiths refer to providing people any type of clothing - they are not specific to winter clothes. However, providing warm winter clothes in particular is an excellent good deed, as illustrated by this beautiful story Imam Ibn Rajab (rh) narrates, of a pious man giving his own winter clothes to a poor man:
'Safwan ibn Salim (ra) went out on a cold night in Madinah near the masjid, and he saw a man with little clothing on, so he took off his coat and covered him up with it. One of the people of Shaam (Greater Syria) saw in his dream that Safwan ibn Salim (ra) had entered Paradise with a shirt with which he had clothed him with. Then he went to Madinah and said, "Show me where Safwan is". He was brought [to Safwan] and he told him what he had seen'. [Lata'if al-Ma'arif]
The instant you do something good for the sake of Allah, that deed is recorded and you are rewarded for it. On the same night on which Safwan (ra) gave someone his coat, someone dreamed that Safwan (ra) entered Paradise for that deed.
In our everyday lives, there are many small actions which we forget - for example, giving some clothes as Sadaqah to the poor during winter. It only takes a few moments and it makes seemingly little difference to our lives. But it has a huge impact on our next life, and most importantly, although we can't see it, these simple good deeds please Allah (swt).
You will be saving lives
Although we know that winter clothing is an effective way to stay warm, many of us might not understand that it is actually a life-saving donation.
Last winter, in an IDP camp in Idlib, Syria, our team spoke to Mohamed, who described what it was like to be a refugee in winter. Every time it rained, his family's tent would deeply into the mud, and the children were soaked with freezing water in their sleep. Mohamed described carrying his ten children out of the tent in the darkness and covering them up with the three worn blankets he owns. His youngest child was only six months old.
Mohamed was afraid of his children getting seriously ill in winter, because they might not survive. He prayed for basic winter supplies like warm clothes, saying, 'My only hope is for my children to have proper clothes and to get through this winter safely, and to one day return home'.
Thankfully, your generous donations last winter provided Mohamed's children with warm winter clothes and heating fuel, protecting them from the rain and snowfall, alhamdulillah!
This winter, there are thousands of families like Mohamed's who need your help. Living in flimsy tents, makeshift shelters or even in the open, they urgently need your Zakat and Sadaqah to protect them from serious illness or even death.
Our teams are on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India-administered Kashmir, Syria, Lebanon and the UK. They are distributing essential aid such as warm clothes, blankets, stoves and fuel, and nutritious food.
Your Zakat and Sadaqah will bring warmth and security to those living in war zones, refugee camps and poor communities. Be the answer to their du'as, 'keep us warm, keep us alive'.