Generosity is especially blessed during the month of Ramadan. There are many reasons for this.
For one thing, Ramadan is a blessed month where the rewards for all of our good deeds are multiplied. Beyond that, there is the fact that our generosity at this time helps those who are fasting and engaging in extra worship during this special month.
Prophet Muhammad said:
Whoever provides a fasting person food to break the fast will earn a reward equal to the reward of that fast, without the fasting person’s reward decreasing in the least. (At-Tirmidhi)
The observance of fasting and charity at the same time is one of the ways to attain Paradise. The Prophet said:
In Paradise, there are chambers (whose walls are so transparent) that their outsides are visible from within, and their insides are visible from without.
A Bedouin stood up and asked:
“Who will these be for, O Messenger of Allah?”
The Prophet replied:
They are for those who say kind words, provide food (to the needy and poor), observe regular fasts, and stand in prayer at night when people are asleep. (At-Tirmidhi)
The combination of fasting and charity is a better way to expiate for sins, especially if it is accompanied by observing the late night prayer. Fasting is a shield from sin, and charity expiates for it.
The Prophet once said to Mu`adh ibn Jabal:
Should I not guide you to the means to all that is good? Fasting is a shield. Charity extinguishes sinful deeds like water extinguishes fire. Then there is prayer in the depths of the night.
Then he recited from the Quran Surah al-Sajdah: “They forsake their beds to supplicate their Lord in fear and hopefulness, and they spend from what We have provided them. And no soul knows what delights of the eye are kept hidden [in reserve] for them as a reward for what they used to do.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Prophet Muhammad emphasized the importance of feeding the poor to expiate for sins by saying:
Protect yourself from the fire, even if you can only do so by providing someone with the flesh of half a date. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Compensates for Shortcomings
Another way charity is extra blessed in Ramadan is in how it can compensate for shortcomings in our fasts.
Ibn Umar would only break his fast in the company of the poor. If his family prevented him from doing so, he would not have dinner on that night. He used to give date sugar in charity and declare:
“I heard Allah say: ‘You will not attain righteousness until you spend of that which you love, and whatever you spend, Allah is well aware of it.’ (3: 92) And Allah knows how I love sugar.”
“I prefer for a man to be extra generous in Ramadan in emulation of the example Allah’s Messenger, and also in consideration of the people’s needs, since they are preoccupied by fasting and prayer from their livelihoods.”
Ibn Athir said:
“The greatest of deeds is to bring happiness to your fellow believers or pay off their debts or provide them with bread to eat.”
Some of the Prophet’s companions said:
“The most beloved people to Allah are those who provide the greatest benefit to others. The most beloved of deeds with Allah is to bring happiness to a Muslim, or relieve his distress, or pay off his debt, or dispel his hunger. It is dearer to me to walk with my fellow Muslim to fulfill a need than it is for me to observe a retreat in the mosque for a month.”
Prophet Muhammad said:
Those who hasten to help the widows and the poor are like those striving in Allah’s path or like those who pray all night and fast all day. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet also told us:
Once there was a dog circling around a well, almost dead of thirst. A prostitute from the Children of Israel saw this. She took of her slipper and used it to draw water to give to the dog. For this deed, she attained Allah’s forgiveness. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet said:
If a woman gives in charity from the household food without bringing about any harm, then she will receive the reward for what she has given, and her husband will receive the reward for what he had spent on it. The same applies to a trustee. In no respect does the one diminish the reward of the other. (Al-Bukhari)
Jabir ibn `Abd Allah relates:
“When the Prophet died, Abu Bakr came with wealth provided by al-`Ula’ ibn al-Hadrami and said:
There are many forms our spending can take in Ramadan. We can pay our prescribed Zakah during this month as well as giving voluntary charity.
We can establish a charitable endowment during this auspicious time, where the original sum is retained and invested and the profits are used in charitable causes on an ongoing basis. Another form of charity is an interest-free loan which may help someone out of a crisis or get them on their feet.
Ramadan is a good month to establish schools, training centers, and other beneficial institutions. It is a good time to begin sponsoring an orphan. It is a good time to make a pledge to support a charitable organization.
The more enduring and long-lasting the act of charity is the better. Prophet Muhammad said:
The best deeds are those which are observed with constancy, even if they are small. (Al-Bukhari, 5861)