Islam has given a huge importance to charity and Hazrat Ali quotes about charity can offer us a great help to understand it and to adopt it in our lives. But first of all we do need to understand that what charity is. Hazrat Ali (R.A) has explained it in his following saying taken from Nahjul Balagha:
Generosity is to help a deserving person without his request, and if you help him after his request, then it is either out of self-respect or to avoid rebuke.
It is a beautiful and comprehensive explanation of charity that it is not when someone asks you but you should help them before they even ask. There are many deserving people who do not ask for charity because of various reasons but most commonly out of self-respect which is why Hazrat Ali (R.A) has said that we should help them before they even have to ask. He further said that if we offer our help after someone has asked us then it maybe to protect our own self-respect or to save ourselves from any inconvenient situation but not purely for the purpose of charity.
Sometimes we think that we have a very little amount that is not suitable for charity. But Hazrat Ali (R.A) has also guided us in such situations through his following quote:
Do not feel ashamed if the amount of charity is small because to refuse the needy is an act of greater shame.
Through this saying, he has explained us that we should not refuse anyone only because we have a little to give. In such situation we may refuse to help the needy because of shame that we have so little to offer but he has told us that refusing because of the reason is even greater shame.
Offering help or charity is not important or helpful only to the needy people but it is also extremely helpful for the one who is doing charity. It can be clearly understood in the following saying of Hazrat Ali (R.A):
If you want to pray to Allah for better means of subsistence, then first give something in charity.
He has clearly stated in his saying that why it is important to do charity even to the one who is doing it. If you are having a difficult time in any manner or you are looking for better means to survive or to spend a better life, before praying to Allah for help first you should do charity. Helping Allah’s creation makes HIM happy that can even get you near to HIM and HE can grant you happiness and what you desire.
These are just few of Hazrat Ali’s quotes about charity from the great treasure of his wisdom and knowledge but these should be enough for us to understand the importance of charity in Islam and we should start acting according to the guidance and start helping people whether we have a lot to offer or even if we have very little. A small act of kindness can