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CharityFaith

The Eternal Path of Charity

176
CharityFaith

The Eternal Path of Charity

The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) teaches us: “True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul”.

176

The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) teaches us: “True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul”.

If you ever have been fully engaged in any social or professional activity, you might have been experiencing a mental state that psychologists define as flow. You are completely involved and you feel enjoyment in the process of the activity. Some might experience flow while engaging in a sport and others might have such an experience while engaged in an activity such as painting, reading, or fishing.

For some, this activity involves helping people, animals or plants in one way or another, which relates to the state of the soul introduced in this paper as The Eternal Path of Charity. Indeed, during any charity-based activity, you will feel some kind of tranquility in your heart, and sometimes, you will even experience tears of inner joy. This means that you are putting the path of your life in the pleasant Eternal Path of Charity.  

The aim of this paper is to link the Eternal Path of Charity to the feeling of Mercy from Allah for those who help people, animals, or plants in this short life. This unseen Eternal Path of Charity could therefore be The Straight Path mentioned in many Quranic verses. Moreover, those who spend their lives helping others will not only be happy in this life but their soul will be in the Eternal Paradise with flowing rivers. 

The Eternal Path of Charity

“By the soul and Him Who perfected him in proportion, then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right it for him. Indeed he succeeded who purifies his own self and he fails who corrupts his own self.” (Quran; 91:7-10) [1]

According to this Quranic verse, people who are successful in the divine test in this short life are those who purify their souls. To explain more, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) created an analogy in the following hadith (saying): “The parable of the five prayers is that of a river running at our door in which we self-purify ourselves five times a day” [2].

Since the time spent for prayers is a charity, my understanding is that the rivers described in this saying could be the Eternal Path of Charity that purifies our soul. Moreover, each kind or good act during our social and professional activities allows us to feel the Nearness and the Mercy of Allah (SWT) as the Quran says “Surely Allah’s Mercy is ever near to the good-doers” (Quran; 7:56)[ 1]. Therefore, similar to the reward of spring that comes after every cyclic flow of charity during the water cycle, the divine recompense of helping people, animals, or plants during our social or professional activities is a feeling of happiness.

This is now supported scientifically by MRI scans which demonstrate a “warm-glow effect” in the reward centers of the brain in certain situations. This research was conducted in the form of experiments in which a group of people were given money, with half of them instructed to spend it on themselves and the other half required to spend it on other people. Contrary to their own expectations, the half who spent the money on others were shown to consistently get more pleasure out of the experience than their non-altruistic colleagues [3].

To enlighten us more on this topic, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) teaches us: “True enrichment does not come through possessing a lot of wealth, but true enrichment is the enrichment of the soul” [4]. Therefore, as the cyclic flow of charity in nature ends every year with the reward of spring, all our actions in helping others during our social or professional activities will be added as good deeds to our eternal soul. As a consequence, our righteous actions will be added to the Eternal Path of Charity. Finally, based on the Quranic verse “Guide us to the Straight Path (Quran, 1; 6) [1], this unseen Eternal Path of Charity could be The Straight Path.  

The Eternal Eid

“The description of Paradise which the pious have been promised in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed, rivers of milk of which the taste never changes, and rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of clear and pure honey; therein for them is every kind of fruit and forgiveness from their Lord.” (Quran; 47:15) [1]

This Quranic verse explains that beyond feeling the Mercy of Allah (SWT) in the unseen Eternal Path of Charity, those who please Allah (SWT) during their social and professional activities will experience eternal gardens with flowing rivers as the last destination for their eternal soul.

Therefore, in light of the Quranic verse, “Wealth and children are an adornment of the life of the world. But the good righteous deeds that last are better for your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope” (Quran; 18:46) [1], we should not be happy or sad about the material things we have (finance, beauty, and social position, children) because they are simply a decoration and there to test and distract us in life. The wisdom is to share what Allah (SWT) provided for us by helping people, animals, and plants and prepare ourselves for the Eternal Paradise. 

Notably, traditional jurisprudence (fiqh) in Islam distinguishes between two principal branches of law, which are divine obligations for Allah (SWT) (ibādāt) and our actions with people, animals and plants (muʿāmalāt). However, according to the Quranic verse “Therein they will cry: O Lord Brings us out, we shall do righteous good deeds not the evil deeds that we used to do” (Quran; 35:37) [1], the wrongdoers will cry and beg Allah (SWT) to get them out of Fire and bring them back to life to do good deeds. 

My understanding is that the good deeds mentioned in this Quranic verse relate to our divine duties of charity by helping others (muʿāmalāt). It therefore follows that worshipping Allah (SWT) with our good actions and interactions with people, animals and plants during our social and professional activities could be much appreciated by Allah (SWT) and results in our best Path to the Eternal Paradise.

Following this line of thought, we could conclude those who spend their lives helping others will be happy in this life by feeling the Mercy of Allah (SWT) in the Eternal Path of Charity, and deserve to live eternally in the Eternal Paradise. The Prophet (PBUH) explained: “Allah (SWT) says: ‘I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has never crossed the mind of man. All of that is reserved, besides which all that you have known is as nothing.’ Then he recited: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do” (Quran; 32:17) [5]. 

As said by this Quranic verse “Tell them, (O Prophet): “My servants who have committed excesses against themselves, do not despair of Allah’s Mercy. Surely Allah forgives all sins. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Quran; 39:53) [1], I came to understand that it could also be an Eternal Path of Forgiveness.  However, the precondition for forgiveness is in the following part of the verse: “Turn to your Lord and surrender yourselves to Him before the chastisement over-takes you; for then you will receive no help” (Quran; 39:54).  

In conclusion, it could be one Eternal Path of Charity related to our good deeds to please Allah (SWT) and one Eternal Path of Forgiveness for our bad deeds to obtain forgiveness from Him. The Day of Judgment is a Balance between the accepted good deeds and the unforgiven bad deeds. As mentioned in the Quranic verse “See, how We have exalted some above others in this world, and in the Life to Come they will have higher ranks and greater degrees of excellence over others” (Quran; 17:21) [1], the Eternal reward in Paradise will be different for everyone depending on the result of the Balance.

On a last note, if we live our life like we do in Ramadan with prayers and asking Allah (SWT) for forgiveness, consuming as little as possible and sharing as much as we can, avoiding any single sin and do good deeds with others, then our afterlife will be like an Eternal Eid in Paradise. 

O Allah “The Responding One”, 

We beg You to make best our achievements, to make best our acts, to make best our deeds, and to make best our inside and our outside. We beg you to put us on the highest level in Paradise.

Amen.


References

[1] Interpretation of the meanings of the Noble Quran by Dr. Muhammad Taqui-ud-Din Al Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, DARUSSALAM (1996).

 

[2] A Muslim’s perspective of #Happiness, Al Qalam ATENEO DE DAVAO UNIVERSITY http://alqalam.addu.edu.ph/directors-corner/a-muslims-perspective-of-happiness/.

 

[3] Dunn, Elizabeth et al (2008). “Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness”, Science 319.

 

[4] Quranic Definitions and Hadith Al-muflihûn, ridwân, Happiness in Islam, in Living Islam https://www.livingislam.org/k/qdh_e.htmlEric van Bemmel, Why feeling pain is key to our happiness, University of Melbourne, August 2017.

 

[5] Sahih al-Bukhari 7498 In-book reference: USC-MSA web (English) reference Sahih al-Bukhari 7498 Book 97, Hadith 123: Vol. 9, Book 93, Hadith 589 (deprecated numbering scheme).

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