Date : 31-10-2017

Question :

We are launching a charitable initiative where customers of shops leave some money to help the poor buy whatever goods they need. What is the ruling of Sharia on this initiative?

The Answer :

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may his peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Islam has encouraged people to give charity (Sadaqah), make donations and take charitable initiatives since Almighty Allah said, "The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of God is that of a grain of corn: it groweth seven ears, and each ear Hath a hundred grains. God giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth: And God careth for all and He knoweth all things." {Al-Baqarah, 261}. Moreover, Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who gives in charity the value of a date which he legally earned, and Allah accepts only that which is pure, Allah accepts it with His Right Hand and fosters it for him, as one of you fosters his mare, until it becomes like a mountain." [Al- Bukhari and Muslim].

Islam has left the door open for getting rewarded when coming up with innovative ideas for charitable initiatives. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, "He who introduced some good practice in Islam which was followed after him (by people) he would be assured of reward like one who followed it, without their rewards being diminished in any respect." {Muslim}.

Accordingly, it is permissible to take such initiatives and we encourage all members of our community to come up with innovative ideas to help the poor and needy. However, it should be pointed out that these donations are considered voluntary charities and not Zakat (Obligatory charity) because the latter should be made in the possession of the poor directly or through a deputy, and without any delay. And Allah knows best.