Impact of charity on the economy and society at large

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

June 08th, 2007

NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

In the previous sermon, Huzur spoke about the rights towards others, an extremely important topic as it promotes peace and harmony in the society. Today�s sermon expounded on the same topic, outlining the impact of fulfilling these rights on the economy of a country and on society at large.

Huzur said that in every society, the rich and the poor co-exist, and the needy and those who provide for them live side-by-side. But there are people who due to their greediness and self-indulgence abstain from spending their wealth in the way of religion, nor do they fulfill the needs of the poor, to the point that they become entirely oblivious to the rights of others. They do not wish to spend an iota of their wealth that is given to them by God Almighty. This kind of an attitude widens the gap between people and severs ties between them. It also promotes feelings of jealousy and rancor among the poor for their wealthier relatives. A believer should restrain from such greed. Thankfully, there are no such people or very few of them in the Jamaat who keep an eye on other�s wealth. In fact, it has come to notice that the poor and less resourceful people are often those who make larger financial sacrifices keeping in perspective their economic standards.

The more affluent people should always be mindful of the needs of their brothers, and feelings of anger and dispute should never prevent them from extending their hand in help to the poor. An Ahmadi should not indulge in fulfilling his or her own desires alone, but should respect the desires and needs of his brothers, sisters, poor, and others. Huzur related the incident from the life of Hazrat Muhammad . He was going through a very difficult time of trial when Hazrat Aisha was accused of a certain wrongdoing. At that time, there were certain people, who were otherwise righteous but for some reason accused Hazrat Aisha wrongfully, whom Hazrat Abu Bakr was helping financially. After Hazrat Aisha�s pardon from Allah Almighty, Hazrat Abu Bakr swore that he would never help these people again. On that occasion, Allah revealed the following verse:

�And let not those who possess wealth and plenty among you swear not to give aught to the kindred and to the needy and to those who have left their homes in the cause of Allah. Let them forgive and forbear. Do you not desire that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful� (24:23)

So this is the commandment for the believers to follow for all times. Despite the fact that it was Hazrat Abu Bakr�s daughter who was suffering, and the Prophet himself was grieving, Allah commanded not to withdraw your helping hand even at this difficult time. Allah is Most Forgiving and expects the same of His people. When in such circumstances, the Companion of the Holy Prophet was warned, then in normal times, such activities of helping others become even more important. Financial contributions and sacrifices result in promotion of peace. At the time of Hijra, Ansar displayed a similar affection for their Muhajir brothers. Their example of helping one another set the tone of founding a society filled with peace and harmony and the bond created by Hazrat Muhammad between two Muslim brothers was tied in love forever. This brotherhood reverberated in the entire world and caused a revolution to take place. The same sentiment should be exhibited by the followers of the Promised Messiah, who is the obedient servant of the Prophet, so that a new society of peace and accord can emerge.

Huzur reminded the Ahmadis who live in the West and are well off to be very attentive to the needs of their relatives and next to kin. They should send gifts generously to people in the poorer countries and to those who are less affluent. Huzur said that such help should take rise from the bottom of the hearts of the wealthy, keeping in mind the tradition that the left hand should not come to know of the charity that the right hand gives. They should preserve the self-esteem of the person they are helping out. This will promote good relations and the prayers that emerge from the hearts of those who are being helped will help the society as a whole.

Huzur reminded that the inflation in Pakistan has reached such an extent that it is becoming very difficult for a white-collar laborer to maintain even his simple standard of living. As we are aware of this difficult situation, we should therefore extend our hand to those who are truly striving in these difficult circumstances. Huzur mentioned the example of a woman who used to receive monetary help from a relative living abroad. For some reason, the assistance stopped suddenly, to the point where the family reached conditions of starvation. That woman one day saw 1 rupee lying on the floor. She first thought that she would pick it up, but then due to some reason, abstained from doing so. She had always taught the lesson of exhibiting patience and steadfastness and remembrance of God in the face of adversity to her children. When she returned, she found the same relative in her house, who handed her an envelope full of money. Had she not received that financial assistance, her children may have developed feelings of hatred towards society and perhaps towards Allah. This is the reason why Allah has drawn our attention towards helping others; indeed this is a commandment full of wisdom.

Huzur then quoted the following verses of the Holy Quran:

�And in their wealth was a share for one who asked for help and for one who could not.� (51:20)

�So give to the kinsman his due, and to the needy, and to the wayfarer. That is best for those who seek the favor of Allah, and it is they who will prosper. Whatever you pay as interest that it may increase the wealth of the people, it does not increase in the sight of Allah; but whatever you give in Zakat seeking the favor of Allah � it is these who will increase their wealth manifold.� (30:39-40)

Huzur expounded on these verses, saying that if the rights of the poor and the needy and the wayfarers are not fulfilled, then this group of people will be forced to delve into the world of crime. This will in turn not only diminish the level of peace in society, but also create feelings of malice and resentment towards the wealthy. We see that in the poor or underdeveloped nations, it is this group of underprivileged people who come to the streets in protest and raise their anger towards the wealthy and the resourceful and the government. They go on strikes, break the law and create disorder. History is a witness and such disorder results in economic downfall. This group of people also strays away from God for not being helped and the rich stray away from God because they do not help. Islam, being a complete and universal religion, draws attention towards the importance of fulfilling these rights to our fellow human beings and it is indeed the Muslim�s righteous deeds that result in a display of Islamic values; otherwise a mere claim to Islam is meaningless.

A Muslim is encouraged to partake in charity, he is enjoined to give Zakat, and is reminded of the importance of giving gifts. The Holy Prophet said that a Muslim should give gifts as it promotes love between people. The Holy Quran mentions frequently the importance of giving Zakat, as it provides for the expenditures of the Islamic government and fulfills the needs of the poor. Huzur also reminded that the poor sector of the society contributes greatly to the economy of the country, as they provide labor to work in factories and toil on the land. If they stop working, the country�s economy will be greatly affected (especially in the developing countries).

Huzur said that no other religion competes with Islam in that it makes provision for all sectors of the society. Today, there is much turmoil in the world. Only money alone cannot provide peace. We must help the needy out of what is given to us to gain the pleasure of Allah. We must not regard the poor as an inferior being, but guard his self-esteem.

Allah Almighty draws our attention to one of the most primary reasons why the downfall of an economy occurs, and that is �interest�. Interest in Islam is forbidden for the sole reason that it makes a poor man even poorer. If we compare the shortcomings of participating in interest with the advantages of giving to the poor, we see that by spending in the way of Allah, we gain His pleasure, we promote the establishment of peace in the society and we gain eternal paradise in the Hereafter. Whereas, participating in interest incurs the wrath of Allah, and one meets his ruin in this world and in the Hereafter. Interest contributes to the destruction of peace in the society. The poor man�s condition keeps worsening, whereas the rich amass more wealth. Interest causes money to accumulate within a group of wealthy people and creates an abyss of debt for the poor, from which there is no escape.

At a recent gathering at a university, Huzur said that he addressed a group of people, where he mentioned that interest gives birth to a form of slavery and he said that many of the attendees agreed strongly with him. Such slavery only creates hatred and causes peace to regress. In some parts of Pakistan, a poor man is born with a debt, lives his whole life in debt, and dies in debt, and all this due to the evil of loaning money on interest. If these people pay heed to Allah�s commandments, they can save themselves from the curse of debt. Huzur said that we should pray for Pakistan as it is passing through a very difficult phase, for various reasons, but one being that selfishness has exceeded beyond limits. May Allah have mercy on all countries that are imprisoned in the pest of usury. Allah has informed us in the Holy Quran that wealth does not increase due to interest merely because it has incurred the wrath of God. Huzur warned that the only way out of this curse is to follow Allah�s commandments and believe in the Holy Prophet sent by God. Helping the poor, giving Zakat and not partaking in interest are the ways in which we can promote peace in the society. The Holy Quran says:

�Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of what men�s hands have wrought, that He may make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil.� (30:42)

The reason why conflict takes place is due to the bad deeds in which the society indulges itself and the source of reaching this state is disobedience to God�s teachings. Therefore, a Muslim who finds himself in such a pitiful state is spiritually bankrupt as well. When the condition of the world reaches such a sorry state of affairs, one should look towards the righteous people appointed by God Almighty to guide them out of this darkness into a state of light.

Huzur ended the sermon by quoting the Promised Messiah, who described the spiritual decline of humanity in one of his exerpts. He said that the world is thirsty for spiritual water. It is dying without it. Everyone around is inclined towards evil deeds. It is the need of the world for Divine Light to descend, but very few actually benefit from this Divine light. Huzur said that an Ahmadi is indeed fortunate who is blessed by the opportunity of benefiting from this light and it is the duty of every Ahmadi to spread this light around. Perhaps, his effort will result in saving a group of people from annihilation.

SOURCE:   https://www.alislam.org/archives/2007/summary/FSS20070608-EN.html

His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of Worldwide Ahmadiyya Mulsim Community

His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of Worldwide Ahmadiyya Mulsim Community

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