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Special Passion for Sadaqah

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(Sayyidah Asmaa bintu Abi Bakr [radhiyallahu ‘anhuma] – Part Five)

Among the many praiseworthy qualities with which Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was blessed by Allah Ta‘ala was her extraordinary passion for spending in charity.  

As previously mentioned, Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was not residing in a home of affluence and wealth. Rather, there was some financial difficulty in the home, to the extent that she did not have a servant and had to personally carry out the difficult chores.

Nevertheless, despite not possessing abundant wealth, it was still her heart’s desire to spend in charity. Hence, she once enquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! I do not possess any wealth besides that which Sayyiduna Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) gives me (for my personal needs). Should I spend in charity?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Spend in charity, and do not hold back, lest wealth be held back from you (i.e. if you do not hold back from spending your wealth on the poor, then Allah Ta‘ala will not hold back and will bestow you with wealth as well).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #2590)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) took these blessed words of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to heart and would thereafter spend whatever she could in sadaqah. Thus, her son, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), said, “I have never seen any woman more generous than Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha). However, the manner in which they would spend was different. As for Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), then she would accumulate the money she received until it reached a certain amount. Thereafter, she would spend it in sadaqah. As for Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha), she would not keep any wealth until the following day (i.e. on receiving wealth, she would immediately spend it in sadaqah).” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 292)

Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would impart the very same teaching to her own family. Hence, it is reported that she would advise her daughters and other household members saying, “Spend in the path of Allah Ta‘ala and give in charity - and do not wait until you have accumulated extra wealth. If you wait until you have extra wealth, then you will never have extra. On the contrary, if you spend in charity, you will not find any loss.”

Likewise, it is reported that when Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would become sick, she would emancipate every slave that she owned. (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 252)

Lessons:

1. A person does not need to possess abundant wealth to spend in charity. Rather, each person can spend within his means, even if the amount given is small. It is the heart and sincerity with which the action is carried out that makes it weighty on the scales. Hence, it is possible that the R2 given by a poor person can fetch more reward than the R20 given by a wealthy person - based on the heart, intention and sincerity.

2. We should never procrastinate and delay in carrying out good deeds. Rather, we should do whatever we can, whenever we can. In this way, even if our actions are small, they will become the means for us receiving taufeeq (divine ability) from Allah Ta‘ala to do even more. If we take the first step, Allah Ta‘ala will enable us to take the next steps, but if we hold back and refrain from the first step, then we will always remain behind, without progressing.

3. Sayyidah Asmaa (radhiyallahu ‘anha) advised her family that they should not wait to receive extra wealth before spending. If they wait for extra, then it is highly likely that they will never end up spending in charity, perhaps as the wealth will be spent in other avenues, or because the ‘extra’ they want will never be enough for them to begin to spend. Conversely, if they spend what they have, then their wealth will not be lost, as the reward will be secured in the Hereafter, and also because spending in sadaqah does not cause one’s wealth to decrease, but causes one to receive barakah (blessings) in his wealth and opens the door to Allah Ta‘ala blessing him with even more.

4. Giving sadaqah is an effective means of acquiring shifaa (cure) for the sick (see here for more details).