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Hadith on Charity: Broadening the Scope of Good Deeds

📖Sahih Muslim 1006
Abu Dharr reported: some of the people from among the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to him: Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away (all the) reward. They observe prayer as we do; they keep the fasts as we keep, and they give Sadaqa out of their surplus riches. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can (also) do sadaqa? In every declaration of the glorification of Allah (i. e. saying Subhan Allah) there is a Sadaqa, and every Takbir (i. e. saying Allah-O-Akbar) is a sadaqa, and every praise of His (saying al-Hamdu Lillah) is a Sadaqa and every declaration that He is One (La illha ill-Allah) is a sadaqa, and enjoining of good is a sadaqa, and forbidding of that which is evil is a Sadaqa, and in man’s sexual Intercourse (with his wife, ) there is a Sadaqa. They (the Companions) said: Messenger of Allah, is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us? He said: Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.

From this hadith (narration) in Sahih Muslim, we can learn several important lessons:

  1. The concern of the Companions: Some of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) expressed their concern to him regarding the perceived advantage of the wealthy in terms of earning rewards. They believed that the rich could easily give charity due to their surplus wealth and thought they had an unfair advantage.
  2. Equivalence of rewards: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) responded by explaining that Allah has provided avenues for everyone to earn rewards, regardless of their financial situation. He emphasized that acts of worship and virtue are not exclusive to giving material charity. There are numerous other deeds that also carry rewards and are accessible to everyone.
  3. Different forms of Sadaqa (charity): The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned various forms of sadaqa, indicating that acts of worship and righteousness extend beyond monetary contributions. These include declaring the glorification of Allah, saying takbir (saying “Allah-O-Akbar”), praising Allah, affirming His Oneness, enjoining good, forbidding evil, and even intimate relations within the bounds of marriage.
  4. Intentions and lawful actions: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) clarified that when a person engages in lawful sexual relations within the framework of marriage, with the intention of fulfilling a natural and permissible desire, they are rewarded. However, if one were to engage in such actions with forbidden intentions or outside the boundaries prescribed by Allah, it would be sinful.

Overall, this hadith teaches us that while financial charity is important, it is not the sole means of earning rewards. Acts of worship, righteousness, and fulfilling one’s obligations within the boundaries set by Allah can also earn great rewards. It emphasizes the importance of intention and highlights the comprehensive nature of Islam, which encourages individuals to engage in virtuous actions in various aspects of their lives.