Smiling is Sadaqah :-) (and so are other things)

The Prophet (saw) said:

“Sadaqah (charity) extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire.”

(At-Tirmidhi, 614)

Now, which one of us isn’t in need of our sins being extinguished? I know I am. About three years ago, I left work after my maternity period ended. I wanted to go back to work, but I chose motherhood and spending the early years with my daughter instead. Up until then I had pretty much worked for 15 years non-stop. I had become financially independent, with which came a freedom to spend whatever and however I liked in sadaqah. And then suddenly that all went away.

I no longer have the means to give money away the way I would like to. Don’t get me wrong, alhamdhulillah, we, here in the West are still a hundred times better off than most of our ummah and can afford to regularly give in charity. But I feel something has gone, its not the same for me anymore – it is different when we have a monthly salary we control all by ourself.

At times this makes me really sad. I’m not sure to what extent my sadness is sincere, it might be caused by an absence of a habit, but I’d like to think that it is much more than that.

As believers we know how blessed and rewarding a deed of sadaqah is. We all rush to it, we love to give and await the reward for it on the Day it will truly count. These thoughts made me look deeper into the practicalities of giving sadaqah and by that I mean what is recommended in Islam.

I’ve always reminded myself that the acceptance and reward of sadaqah is another one of Allah’s beautiful blessings upon His slaves. He, out of His Mercy and Kindness has allowed us to make up for our sinful actions by giving more. Allah isn’t in need of anything from us, we are in need of His forgiveness. This made me think, a Rabb, who is so Kind, wouldn’t let a slave not be able to wipe away his/her sins because of their inability to give money in sadaqah. And that is exactly what I found in the beautiful guidance uttered by our beloved Prophet (saw).

Abu Dharr (ra) reported: Some people said to the Messenger of Allah (saw):

“O Messenger of Allah, the rich have taken away (all the) reward. They observe Salah as we do; and give Sadaqah out of their surplus wealth.”

Upon this he (saw) said, 
”Has Allah not prescribed for you (a course) following which you can (also) give Sadaqah? In every declaration of the glorification of Allah (saying SubhanAllah) there is a Sadaqah, and in every Takbir (Allahu Akbar) is a Sadaqah, and in every celebration of praise (Alhamdulillah) is a Sadaqah, and in every declaration that He is One (La ilaha illallah) is a Sadaqah, and enjoining of good is a Sadaqah, and forbidding evil is a Sadaqah….”

(Muslim)

How absolutely amazing is the above hadith?! I urge you to read it. Read the words carefully. Then ponder on it for a moment. Now, read it again. One could read it a hundred times and still feel more and more blessed. That’s how I felt. It was like a desperate plea was answered. One that only Allah knew about. This is a hadith that has been around for over a thousand years, but yet it did something for me, at that time. A time when I needed to find a way to earn a reward my nafs needed. And I found these words.

And it doesn’t end here. In Islam, we have the opportunity to earn reward for actions that we’d never think twice about. Here’s a short list of some of the things we can do, that requires no money, but is considered charity in Islam:

  • Smile 🙂

“Your smile for your brother is charity” (Tirmidhi)

  • Say something good.

“It is also charity to utter a good word” [Bukhari]

  • Give water. Remove harm.

“A human being has 360 joints (or bones), everyday he has to give some sadaqah for each one of them. Every kind word is sadaqah; help rendered by a man to his brother is sadaqah; a drink of water given to someone is sadaqah; and the removal of harmful objects from the road is sadaqah.” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

  • Plant a tree.

“There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”

So, this is just four things out of the many things we can do to earn the reward of sadaqah. How beautiful is that? The thing is, we all know all this. We know that smiling is charity. But how many of us actually smile to earn that reward. When I thought about each one of these actions and those listed in the above hadith where the Prophet tells us that uttering ‘Alhamdhulillah’ is sadaqah, it all changed for me. I feel more attached to these actions now. I have a more mindful approach to them. They all carry a greater meaning in my life.

Its funny because some months ago, through a simple craft activity my daughter learnt that ‘smiling is sadaqah’. She repeated it for days, and still does when we take pictures of her.  My objective behind the craft was to teach my daughter the concept of a child sized charitable action. I did the same when we sowed some seeds. But in essence these actions aren’t child sized. They’re actually more than adult sized – because they can help us in being rewarded and most importantly help with wiping away our sins. So how dare I think I taught my child something simple and childish – I actually attempted to teach her something that can be our saviour when nothing else can be.

As Ramadan approaches, and we want to earn the reward of giving sadaqah, let’s not forget these actions on our list of charitable acts. We are a nation truly blessed by our Creator’s Mercy. Even in these small actions, we can hope for big results. inshaAllah.

The Prophet (saw) said:

“Every man will be in the shade of his charity on the Day of Resurrection.”

(Ahmad)

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