The Holy Quran has repeatedly reminded us about helping the poor, and it has taught us that our help should be only for the sake of Allah (SWT). Muslims are told that when giving in charity, they must not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, since this act voids their charity. In this regards verse 264 of Surah Baqarah says, “O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day.”(1)
So how should we help the poor? Allah (SWT) answers this in verse 271 of Surah Baqarah, “If you give alms openly, it is good, and if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is better for you.” (2)
Ali ibn Isa narrates the following from Ibn Aisha, “I heard the people of Medina saying: “We lost hidden charity after Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH) passed away.” (3)
There were several families in Medina who received help from Imam Sajjad (PBUH), yet they were not aware where the help was coming from. Once Imam Sajjad (PBUH) was martyred, those helps were also cut. (4)
Ibn Sa’ad, a famous Sunni scholar, writes, “When a poor or needy would approach (Ali ibn Hussain (PBUT)) he would rise immediately, help the person, and say, ‘Charity first reaches Allah before reaching the one who asked for it” (5).
Imam Ali Ibn Hussain (PBUT) had a poor cousin. Imam used to go to visit him every night and give him some money while he could not see Imam’s face. That man used to say, “Ali Ibn al-Hussain (PBUT) does not consider his poor family members; may Allah (SWT) punish him.” Imam heard these words many times and never said anything; he continued to be anonymous with his patience. After Imam’s martyrdom, his cousin did not receive any charity and then realized that the generous man who used to help him was Ali Ibn al-Hussain (PBUT). Thus, he went to Imam’s cemetery and cried there… (6)
Abu Na’eim, another Sunni scholar, writes, “Whenever a poor approached him, he used to say, ‘Blessing of Allah upon the one who takes bounties for me to hereafter.’(7) After he passed away, people realized that Imam Sajjad (PBUH) paid for expenses of one hundred families. (8)
He sacrificed a lamb and asked it to be cooked whenever he fasted; then he would go to the kitchen near the sunset and say, “Take this plate to this home and that to another.” Once the food was completely distributed, then he would break his fast with bread and dates. (9)
Indeed, Imam Sajjad (PBUH) did all of this for the sake of Allah (SWT) and hence Allah (SWT) improved his image to an unsurpassed level amongst the people. Imam’s enemies tried their best to hide his image in the society; but he became far more popular than they could imagine. Certainly, no one can cover the sun from shining…
(Selection taken from “Life of Ali Ibn al-Hussain (PBUT)” by Late Dr. Sayyed Ja’far Shahidi)
Roshd website offers condolences upon the 25th of Muharram al-Haram, the martyrdom anniversary of the symbol of generosity, Imam Ali ibn al-Hussain (PBUT) to the Muslims of the world and especially you dear friend.
1. The Holy Quran, (2:264)
2. The Holy Quran, (2:271)
3. Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 2, p. 78 & p. 101 – Manaqib, vol. 4, p. 153 – Safwat ul-Safwah, vol. 2, p. 54.
4. Irshaad , vol. 2, p. 148 – Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 2, p. 77 & 92 – Manaqib, vol. 4, pv.153 – Khisaal p. 616 – I’laam al-Waraa p. 262.
5. Tabaghaat, Vol. 5, p. 160
6. Kashf al-Ghummah, vol. 2, p. 107 – Hilyat al-Awliaa’, vol. 3, p. 140
7. Safwat ul-safwah, vol. 2, p. 54 – Hilyat al-Awliaa’, vol. 3, p. 136 – Tabaghaat, vol. 5, p. 164
8. Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 46, p. 72