By : Al Manar
The first generation of Muslims, the pious Salaf, were undoubtedly the best of generations. Their character and way of life stands witness to this fact and is further confirmed by the statement of Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم :
'The best of generations are my generation, then those which follow them, then those which follow them.' (Reported by Muslim)
They were indeed, the best amongst those who implemented the teachings of our beloved Prophet Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. So naturally it is their example that one must follow in all matters and Ramadhan is no exception. The Salaf were frugal with their own iftaar meals but generous hoststowards others.
'Abdullaah ibn 'Umar, for example, would prefer to eat his iftaar meal with the poor. Whenever he broke his fast at home, he never ate his fill, so that if a needy person visited, 'Abdullaah could give him his iftaar meal. Thus he would end up virtually "fasting" that whole night too! He used to give away sweets in charity saying, 'I am aware of Allaah's saying; "you shall not attain piety until you spend out of that which is beloved to you" [Ali 'Imraan: 92] and Allaah knows that I love sweets.'
Once when Al-Imaam Ahmad had prepared some bread for iftaar, a needy person called on him. Without hesitating he gave away all his bread, and went hungry. Ibn-ul Mubaarak used to prepare sweets for his brothers, despite the fact that he was fasting.
Al-Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee, once said, 'It is beloved to me to see one increasing his acts of generosity during the month of Ramadhan, following the example of Allaah's Messenger, and for one's own good.
There are many who become over-occupied with fasting and Prayers, forgetting the other benefits of the month of Ramadhan [i.e. forgetting about the benefits and rewards for being generous towards others].' (Lata'if-ul Maa’rif)
Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم said, 'The best of deeds is that of keeping your believing brother happy, or that of paying off a debt of his, or that of feeding him.' (Ad-daylamee, 1/1/123, AsSilsilah As-Saheehah/Al-Albaanee, 1494)
The most beloved of people to Allaah are those who are of most benefit [to others]. The most of beloved actions to Allaah, 'azza wa jalla, is when you make another Muslim happy, removing a hardship that has befallen him, paying off a debt of his or rid him of hunger. It is more beloved to me indeed that I walk with my Muslim brother to see to a need of his than performing i'tikaaf (secluding oneself) in a Masjid for a month.' (At-Tabaranee/Al-kabeer, 3/209/2, As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, 906)
'The best of people is the one who is of most benefit to them' (As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, 426) 'The likeness [i.e. in terms of rewards] of the one who comes to [the aid of] a widow and [the aid of] a destitute is like that of a mujaahid (striver) in the cause of Allaah or that of someone who spends the night in prayers and the day in fasting. (Al-Mishkaat, 4951)
'Abdullaah ibn 'Amro ibn Al 'Aas, narrated that a man once asked Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم 'Which is the best [of actions] in Islaam?' He replied, 'Feeding [others] and extending the Salaam to those who you know and those you do not.' (At-Targheeb - Saheeh)
Rasoolullah صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم also said, 'Once there was a dog wondering around, dying of thirst, when a prostitute saw it. She then took off her shoe and used it to give the dog water [out of a well]. She was granted forgiveness [i.e. for her sins for being a prostitute, when she repented].' (Al-Bukharee and Muslim)
If this huge reward was granted to a woman because of kindness to a dog, even though she was involved in major sin, can we imagine the rewards for kindness to an obedient, fasting Muslim? Our Prophet, told us, 'Allaah, ta'aala, has singled out certain people with abundance for the benefit of His other servants and He shall let it run [i.e. their wealth] as long as they are persistent [in benefiting others with it]. If they cease to do so then He shall take it away from them and redirect it to others.' (At-Tabaraanee/Al-Awsat, 5295, As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, 1692)
We should be most active in spending our wealth to help those less fortunate. This Ramadhan, let us remember too, the saying of 'Ubaid Ibn 'Umair, rahimahullaah, 'On the Day of Judgment people will be gathered as hungry as they have ever been and as thirsty as they have ever been and as naked as they have ever been. Then, he who has fed [others] for the sake of Allaah, 'azza wajal, Allaah will feed him till he is full. He who has given water to others for the sake of Allaah, 'azza wajall, Allaah will give him water and he who has clothed others for the sake of Allaah, 'azza wajall, Allaah will clothe him.'
Ash-Sha'bee, once said, 'He who does not consider himself in greater need of the reward for giving sadaqah, as compared to the need of the destitute for that sadaqah, will have corrupted his act of charity and have it flung in his face [on the Day of Judgment].'
Dear readers, we shouldn't shy away from performing even the smallest of good deeds, for Allaah the Most Merciful's rewards can be greater than Mount Uhud in size! Let us not forget that, 'The Messenger of Allaah, was the most generous of people and he used to be most generous in Ramadhan' (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).
The next time we come across a call to help our needy fellow Muslims, let us respond with vigour and joy! Maybe this act will be the one through which Allaah bestows His pardon and everlasting bliss on us!