6 Etiquette of Alms-giving and Generosity in Islam

In the previous article, we explained the importance of generosity in Islam. This article presents you with six codes of behavior that are to be observed in the acts of charities and alms-giving. The religion of Islam attaches great emphasis to the way how we offer our generous help and kindness to others. Some of the rules regarding generosity in Islam are as follows:


1. Sincerity


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“‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We desire no reward from you, nor thanks’” (76:9)


In this verse, Allah praises the family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [Ahlul-Bayt (AS)], who would give their food to the needy only for the sake of God's grace and satisfaction without asking for rewards and even waiting for thanks.


2. Piety


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“As for him who gives and is Godwary” (92:5)


The companionship of generosity in Islam with piety is to avoid stinginess in almsgiving and also to earn and spend in lawful (Halal) ways. You can choose a deceitful way to reach a laudable aim since the ends can never justify the means.


3. Moderation


generosity in Islam


“Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it all together, or you will sit blameworthy and regretful ” (17:29)


This verse stresses the importance of moderation saying we should neither quit almsgiving by being tight-fisted nor be too open-handed in our act of kindness towards others.


4. Avoiding Hurting People


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“O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by reproaches and affronts” (2:264)


Expressing or reminding your favor upon others may hurt their feelings and would definitely invalidate your charitable act. Islam strongly recommends us to treat each other with dignity and respect. Therefore, we should seriously avoid any kind of hurtful behavior or words which we think might offend the receiver of help.


5. Giving of the Good Things that You Have Earned


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“O you who have faith! Spend of the good things you have earned [through trade and the like] and of what We bring forth for you from the earth, and do not be of the mind to give the bad part of it, for you yourselves would not take it unless you ignore…” (2:267)


We are surely reluctant to receive anything worthless; so how could we give away something we do not like ourselves in the path of Allah? This is definitely disrespectful to our fellow brothers and sisters, insulting the high status of God.


6. Upholding the Dignity and Self-esteem of the Poor


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It is highly recommended in Islam to give charity in secret so that the needy does not feel embarrassed and to safeguard his/her dignity and self-esteem. We should know that we are never superior to the one we are helping no matter how great our charity is.


Shall We Help the One Whom Allah Would Help if He Wished?


This question is asked by the disbelievers when Allah tells them to give charity: “When they are told, ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you,’ the faithless say to the faithful, ‘Shall we feed [someone] whom Allah would feed if He wished? You are only in manifest error’” (36:47).



You might also wonder why Allah does not provide for the destitute Himself and orders the rich to help them! To resolve this doubt one should think about how people would develop virtues if they were all the same and had the same facilities! What would responsibility mean then? What about freedom of choice? Wouldn’t it be deterministic if God chose to help the ones He wished? “Does man suppose that he has been abandoned to futility?” (75:36)



There would be only one answer to all these questions: Each of us is responsible for everything that happens to us and also for our fellow human beings. The teachings of generosity in Islam are recommended in many verses of the holy Quran and stories from our infallible Imams to help us all lead a better life.



Not only that, psychologists and researchers of modern sciences have proven the positive impacts generosity has on our lives, as well. That is why people around the world nowadays are getting more and more engaged in many charitable acts like voluntary works, donations, etc., which would help the cycle of “good” going and make us all live in a happier world.