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How Charity is an Integral Part of Muslim Holidays

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The Prophet (on him be peace) said: “Whoever helps break the fast of a fasting person, he will have the same reward as him without decreasing anything from the reward of the fasting person.”

Holidays are always a time of celebration, no matter what the faith. But what makes Muslim holidays so unique is how our faith makes giving back an integral part. From Zakat al-Fitr on Eid al-Fitr to gifting Udhiyah/Qurbani on Eid al-Adha, charity is the backbone of our holidays. Here are all of the special ways we give back.

Giving More Charity During Ramadan

Ramadan is a special month for us. We are encouraged not only to fast but to become more generous in charity. This is because our beloved Prophet Muhammad (on him be peace) was the most generous during this holy month. Who better to follow than the best example for humanity?

The Prophet (on him be peace) would give charity throughout the year but would increase his charity during Ramadan. Ibn Abbas (may God be pleased with him) said, “The Prophet (on him be peace) was the most generous of people, and he was most generous during Ramadan.”

The Prophet (on him be peace) also said: “The best charity is that given in Ramadan.”

Women at a Zakat Foundation of America distribution in Ramadan 2020 happily accept food intended to get them through the month. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

Charity Is Recommended for Those Who Can’t Fast

For those unable to fast in Ramadan, God tells says in the Quran to feed the hungry:

“Fast the prescribed number of days; except if any of you is ill or on a journey, let him fast a similar number of days later. For those who cannot endure it for medical reasons, there is a ransom: the feeding of one poor person for each missed day. But if he feeds more of his own free will, it is better for him. However, if you truly understand the rationale of fasting, it is better for you to fast” [Quran 2:184].

The rewards of feeding a fasting person show how generous and merciful God is.

The Prophet (on him be peace) said: “Whoever helps break the fast of a fasting person, he will have the same reward as him without decreasing anything from the reward of the fasting person.”

Zakat Foundation of America has seasonal Islamic giving during Ramadan that allows you to feed the needy during Ramadan and gift Iftar in more than 40 countries. Your gifts of Iftar provide and nourish entire food-insecure families.

Zakat al-Fitr: The Zakat of Breaking the Fast of Ramadan

We all must pay an obligatory Zakat (charity) known as Zakat al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan.

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The Companions of the Prophet (on him be peace) “imposed” the Zakat of Fast-Breaking [at the close of Ramadan] — at the measure of one sa‘ (four double-handfuls) of dates or one sa‘ of barley — on every Muslim, free or bondsman, male or female.

This particular charity is intended to bring happiness to everyone on Eid day.

Women in Kenya accept fresh Udhiya (Qurbani) meat at a Zakat Foundation of America food distribution on the first day of Eid al-Adha celebrations in 2020. | Zakat Foundation of America photo

Eradicating Hunger on Eid Al-Adha

The whole holiday of Eid al-Adha is to feed the needy. Meat is rare and expensive in many parts of the world. When we sacrifice livestock in honor of Prophet Abraham, on him be peace, with Qurbani (also known as Udhiyah), we are commanded by God to gift a third of the animal to the neediest. This meat is given to families who typically live off water and grains alone.

God tells us we must feed the needy immediately after we perform Qurbani (Udhiyah):

“We have made sacrificial camels [and cattle] among the symbols of Allah, in which there is [much] good for you, so pronounce the Name of Allah over them when they are lined up [for sacrifice]. Once they have fallen [lifeless] on their sides, you may eat from their meat and feed the needy — those who do not beg, and those who do. In this way We have subjected these [animals] to you so that you may be grateful” [Quran 22:36].

In the weeks leading up to Eid al-Adha, Zakat Foundation of America launches an Udhiyah/Qurbani program for donors to support those in need. Our organization chooses the healthiest animals through field representatives on the ground for this sacrifice. We work to ensure families receive the best quality meat. Rather than ship canned or frozen meat, we purchase animals within the distribution countries to benefit local economies. The meat is always fresh, delivered directly to needy families on the first day of Eid.

Charity is woven deeply into Islam, especially in our holiday seasons. Make sure always to make charity a part of your family’s holiday traditions.

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