In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
SPENDING IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH
All praise is for Allah, the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe. May His peace and blessings be upon prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and followers of right guidance till the Day of Judgment. Allah, the Exalted, says: "The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it grows seven ears and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases; and Allah cares for all and He knows all things. O you who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury like those who spend their wealth to be seen of men but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. They are in Parable like a hard barren rock on which is a little soil; on it falls heavy rain which leaves it (just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with what they have earned. And Allah guides not those who reject faith. And the likeness of those who spend their wealth seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls is as a garden high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest and if it receives not heavy rain light moisture suffices it. Allah sees well whatever you do. "Q2:261, 264-5
"By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give of a truth Allah knows it well." Q3:92
Islam teaches us to be hard working, to seek wealth through righteous means and spend on our wives, children, parents, relatives, and give in charity; this is an obligation on us and we will be rewarded for doing it. Furthermore, it is the duty of the rich to take care of the poor. Allah enjoins "Zakat" (obligatory charity, the third pillar of Islam), annual alms giving of 2.5% of the capital and property after all expenses have been deducted to the poor, on rich believers and "sadaqa", charity, on every believer. This is to remove greediness from our hearts, purify our hearts and properties, and foster good relationship and kindness among us.
"They ask thee (Muhammad) what they should spend (in charity). Say: Whatever you spend that is good is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever you do that is good Allah knows it well." Q2:215.
The Prophet said, "A man's spending on his family is a deed of charity." (Buhari 5.343)
Zakat and sadaqa are for the poor and the needy. Sadaqa is an individual affair but Islamic government or organizations and mosque authorities can collect Zakat for distribution to the poor and the needy, building and maintenance of mosques, schools, hospitals, humanitarian activities and Jihad. The salary of the people who collect and manage Zakat can also be paid from it.
A man asked the Prophet (PBUH), "O Allah's Apostle! What kind of charity is the best?" He replied. "To give in charity when you are healthy and greedy hoping to be wealthy and afraid of becoming poor. Don't delay giving in charity till the time when you are on the death bed when you say, 'Give so much to so-and-so and so much to so-and so,' and at that time the property is not yours but it belongs to so-and-so (i.e. your inheritors)." (Bukhari 4.11)
This is a reminder to those of us whose wealth has reached the "nisab"; that is, those that are considered rich to pay Zakat. It is unfortunate that many Muslims pay little attention to Zakat despite the fact that it is the third pillar of Islam.
Our beloved prophet (PBUH) said: "Every Muslim has to give in charity." The people asked, "O Allah's Prophet! If someone has nothing to give, what will he do?" He said, "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns)." The people further asked, "If he cannot find even that?" He replied, "He should help the needy who appeal for help." Then the people asked, "If he cannot do that?" He replied, "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds." (Bukhari 2.524)
"The upper hand is better than the lower hand (i.e. he who gives in charity is better than him who takes it). One should start giving first to his dependents. And the best object of charity is that which is given by a wealthy person (from the money which is left after his expenses). And whoever abstains from asking others for some financial help, Allah will give him and save him from asking others, Allah will make him self-sufficient." (Bukhari 2.508)
Islam does not encourage begging, our beloved prophet (PBUH) emphasized on the dignity of labor. Islamic organizations and mosque authorities are charged with the responsibility of collecting and distributing Zakat because they are expected to know the members of the community that need assistance. It is unfortunate that Muslims are not leaving to expectation in this regard. Wealth is a test for the rich, Allah will question them on the Day of Judgment about the source of their wealth and how they spend it. Similarly, poverty is a test for the poor, Allah uses it to test the endurance of the poor. May Allah safe us from the evils of wealth and poverty (Ameen).
Allah's Apostle (PBUH) ascended the pulpit and said, "Nothing worries me as to what will happen to you after me, except the temptation of worldly blessings which will be conferred on you." Then he mentioned the worldly pleasures. He started with the one (i.e. the blessings) and took up the other (i.e. the pleasures). A man got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Can the good bring about evil?" The Prophet remained silent and we thought that he was being inspired divinely, so all the people kept silent with awe. Then the Prophet wiped the sweat off his face and asked, "Where is the present questioner?" "Do you think wealth is good?" he repeated thrice, adding, "No doubt, good produces nothing but good. Indeed, it is like what grows on the banks of a stream which either kills or nearly kills the grazing animals because of gluttony except the vegetation-eating animal which eats till both its flanks are full (i.e. till it gets satisfied) and then stands in the sun and defecates and urinates and again starts grazing. This worldly property is sweet vegetation. How excellent the wealth of the Muslim is, if it is collected through legal means and is spent in Allah's cause and on orphans, poor people and travelers. But he who does not take it legally is like an eater who is never satisfied and his wealth will be a witness against him on the Day of Resurrection." (Bukhari 4.95)
Let us ponder over the above hadith and relate it to what is happening to the Muslims and their wealth today. Islam teaches Muslims to spend their personal wealth, gotten through righteous means, in charity for the betterment of people yet we see some people who embezzle public fund and put many people in poverty. How will they account for this betrayal of trust on the Day of Judgment?
Brothers and sisters in Islam, let us be Muslims in the real sense of it and follow the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), this is the best for us. May Allah have mercy on us.
Peace be on you.