all praise and thanks to allah the generous, the superb bestower and peace and blessings of allah be upon our beloved prophet muhammad, his family, his wives, his companions and followers until the day of judgment.
we will talk about a superb trait and a great manner. it is the most beautiful quality in the character of prophets, apostles and the righteous. they all called humans to follow such quality, namely the quality of generosity.
the person who is characterized with generosity is of a high status and rank, and usually people listen and turn to him. any person who was characterized with generosity had also leadership whether at the time of jahiliyah () or islam, he ruled because of being generous first and foremost.
what is generosity?
generosity is the quality of being noble and noble-mindedness. it is a candid estimation of other men's virtues and good qualities. it is the summation of all praised qualities of goodness, honor, munificence, bestowal and liberality in giving and expenditure. abu hurayra said, "the messenger of allah, peace and blessings of allah be upon him, was asked, 'which people are the most generous?'' he replied, 'the most generous of them in the sight of allah are those with the most taqwa (piety).' they said, 'that is not what we are asking about.' he said, 'the most generous of people was yusuf, the prophet of allah, son of the prophet of allah, who was the son of the intimate friend of allah (ibrahim).' they said, 'that is not what we are asking about.' he said, 'are you asking about those of arab origin?' 'yes,' they replied. he said, 'the best of you in the jahiliyah is the best of you in islam when you have understanding from allah)." (al-bukhari)
the status of generosity and munificence:
* generosity is an attribute of almighty allah. he is the generous, the superb bestower. he is the gracious giver whose bestowal is unlimited.
* generosity is a quality of prophets (peace be upon them). the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most generous human in terms of honor and lineage. he was the most munificent giver with liberality in giving and expenditure.
the mother of believers, aisha (ra) reported that they once slaughtered a sheep, and then distributed all parts of the sheep as a charity except for the shoulder which she kept for them. when the prophet (pbuh) asked her about what remained from the sheep (after distributing it), she said 'nothing remained except for the shoulder', so the prophet (pbuh) commented 'everything remained except for the shoulder.' (sahih at-tirmidhi)
* allah motivates us in several verses in the qur’an to spend in charity and goodness: “and whatever charity (benefit) you do expend, (then) it is for yourselves; and whatever you expend (should be) for nothing except for your seeking the face of allah; and whatever charity you do expend will be (paid) to you in full, and you will not be done an injustice.” (al baqarah: 272)
* the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged muslim to be generous. abu hurayrah (ra) narrated that the messenger of allah (pbuh) said: "whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him say what is righteous or keep silent. whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him be kind to his neighbor. and whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him be generous to his guest." (sahih muslim)
kinds of generosity:
since generosity describes many praised qualities, it has many kinds such as:
1- generosity towards allah:
the muslim is generous towards allah by being obedient and devoted to his worship. it means to know allah by seeking knowledge and educating himself about teachings of islam and the qur’an. it is to know the commands of allah to follow them, and prohibitions to avoid them.
2- generosity towards the prophet (pbuh):
generosity towards the character of the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) comes through following the sunnah (prophetic teachings) pursuing his path, learning about his life (pbuh), his guidance and respecting him.
3- generosity towards yourself:
generosity towards the self is never to insult yourself and never to utter a bad word, nonsense or aimless talking. in surat al-furqan, almighty allah describes the true believers as ibad ur-rahman the servants of the all-merciful: “and the bondmen of the all-merciful are the ones who walk on the earth gently, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “peace!” (al-furqan: 63) reading further the verses that describe such honorable servants of allah, we find out that they are the ones who: “when they pass by idle talk, they pass by honorably.” (al-furqn: 72)
4- generosity towards family and relatives:
the muslim is generous towards his spouse, children and relatives by treating them well and giving expenditure, in other words not to be miser. abu huraira reported that allah’s apostle (peace be upon him) said: "of the dinar (unit of currency) that you spend as a contribution in god's path, or to set free a slave, or as charity given to a needy, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spent on your family. (sahih muslim, book 005, chapter 12, number 2181)
5- generosity towards guests:
being generous towards guests is a very high manner and praised quality in any human. the prophet (peace be upon him) taught us about the importance of being generous and benevolent towards guests. abu hurayrah (ra) narrated that the apostle of allah (pbuh) said: "whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him say what is righteous or keep silent. whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him be kind to his neighbor. and whoever believes in allah and the last day, let him be generous to his guest." (sahih muslim)
fruits of generosity:
1- generosity brings the muslim closer to paradise and protects him from hell. indeed, islam highly encourages generosity and condemns misery. abu hurairah reported that the prophet muhammad (pbuh) said, "a generous person is close to allah, close to paradise, close to people, and far from hell. however, a miserly person is far from allah, far from paradise, far from people but close to hell. allah loves more an ignorant man who is generous than a worshiper who is miserly." (tirmidhi)
2- generosity and giving charity does not decrease wealth. the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) said: 'sadaqah (charity) does not decrease wealth.' (muslim) in fact, it increases wealth and causes abundance and richness in health, happiness, family and every blessing in our lives. abu hurairah (ra) narrated that the prophet (pbuh) said, “every day two angels come down from heaven and one of them says, 'o allah! compensate every person who spends in your cause’, and the other (angel) says, 'o allah! destroy every miser.’” (bukhari)
3- generosity is nobility in the present life and honor in the hereafter. it gives a good reputation to the generous person and a positive image among people.
4- generosity makes the person lovable by his family, neighbors, relatives and everybody.
motivations of generosity:
1- to realize that the wealth is allah’s, as everybody and everything are owned to almighty allah, for he is the creator of heavens and earth.
2- to trust allah, be faithful and never fear of poverty if we spend in charity and allah’s path.
3- to follow the footsteps of the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) and the great companions in spending their money to spread religion, feed the poor and build the ummah (islamic nation).
4- to train ourselves on generosity and munificence at all times of the year, especially in the month of ramadan, the two eids (eid ul-fitr and eid ul-adha), and all occasions that require us to spend and help the poor, needy and afflicted.
5- to remember the great reward from allah in the present life and the hereafter. indeed, the consequences of generosity and expenditure are success and winning.
may allah bless us all! may allah make us of the generous people in word and deed! may allah bless us with getting his mercy, satisfaction and forgiveness!
() jahiliyah: in islam it means the period preceding the revelation of the qur’an to the prophet muhammad. in arabic the word means “ignorance,” or “barbarism,” and indicates a negative muslim evaluation of pre-islamic life and culture in arabia as compared to the teachings and practices of islam. the term has a positive connotation only in literature; pre-islamic arabic poetry is esteemed by muslims for its precise and rich vocabulary, sophisticated metrical structures, and fully developed systems of rhyme and thematic sequence.