Saturday, January 26, 2013

21st Century Sadaqah

“Seek opportunities to do sadaqah where you find them!” my mother taught me when I was young. And thus I never saw her show any road rage, rather quite the opposite. “Making way for other cars is like sadaqah in this country,” she would say while driving. What I learnt most from these car journeys was to take the opportunity to make the practice of the deen relevant and practical to the time and place we live and seek the most out of every moment. Now when I see the jubilant smiles of drivers as I wave to let them join the traffic, and the overjoyed look on pedestrians faces when made way for to cross the road, I remember this simple lesson my mother taught me. Who knows, alongside their thank you wave, they may also be whispering a good intentioned prayer for me!
While perhaps a simple gesture, the understanding that in even regular, seemingly routine acts, there is a chance to shine as a caring believer, is a step in the right direction. Thinking of methods in our personal circumstances and modern lives to impart the good is crucial, thus we are able to carve out our own niche cycle of positivity through conscientious action. As Surat’l-Baqarah, verse 110, tells us: “And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah. For Allah sees Well all that you do.” This is the very point. Charity is oft mentioned in the Qur’an, to be done on a regular basis. Practically speaking, for something to become regular it must first be deemed a reachable target. At the most simplest level therefore, adopting seemingly small, but significant noble habits is a worthy aim. We know from the hadith that Allah even loves the small good deeds if done regularly.
Sadaqah is an ever-living act of goodness. It is a gesture that won’t just spread smiles and warm hearts in this life, but could very well be the act of saving grace which will help us on the Day of Judgment. There are many narrations which inform us of how important good deeds on that Day will be. While we will regret even the smallest of bad deeds, so too could we be saved by having given someone as little as half a date in this lifeNo act is too little, but rather, the secret lies in a sincere, quality intention.
A lot of us are blessed to have many an opportunity to cross paths with different people. Each passing meeting, even if but a moment, can be one where goodness is sowed and reward is reaped.  Where others may see normal mundane life activities, we can try to make into moments which will make us prosper eternally. Sincere intentions and thoughtful and humbled actions hit the mark. If there was a ‘Quality Assured Stamp’ for actions, that would be the formula we’d need.
Think back to that ‘Big Issue’ seller. Yes, that one you saw as you walked down the high street. They saw you strolling past, eyes averted and glum faced too. Stop and rewind. Excuses have been exhausted for the 21st century sadaqah star (you, in training). For you know that even if you don’t have the money or time to give, you can offer a simple and sincere smile. It’s not merely an overstated example. It’s real. It’s sunnah. It’s that sadaqah that might just tip your scale of deeds!
Knowledge moves into the realm of action when things become practical. Jotting down some everyday movements and the possible opportunities to be of benefit is a worthy exercise to broaden one’s realisation on the matter. For the student, emailing someone some notes from a class they missed can be sadaqah, as too can opening the door for the teacher. For the commuter, smiling at the bus driver can be sadaqah, as too can assisting the one too shy to ask for help with their luggage: this often doubles up as silent da‘wah too! For the internet savvy, emailing/sharing on a social site a beneficial reminder can be sadaqah, as too can be spending time helping the elderly with technology! Remember, of course, to keep check that they are Quality Assured!
All it takes is a moment for reflection during your day, and you too will have a list of your own. Taking this time out to consider the endless possibilities for spreading the good will prove invaluable in your quest to becoming a 21st century sadaqah superhero! But like Lex Luther was always on Superman’s case, with Kryptonite in fact to weaken him, be warned, Shaytan too will be at you with his wayword whisperings. “What’s in it for me?!” you will soon whine. Realise that you are the one most blessed in all this, for Allah has given you the ability to help another and therefore an opportunity to attain His favours. As one scholar reminds us, “When you give someone charity, be thankful to them. You may be fixing their Dunya, but they may be fixing your Akhirah!
Written for 1st Ethical Charitable Trust who empower Muslims to enrich communities through faith based campaigns. For more information, please visit

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