After reading the article on trading with Allah SWT, we know there’s an immense reward for investing with Allah SWT in the Aakhirah (remember our example of reward units?), let’s not forget the multifold positivity that charity adds to your life and society at large!
What are these? Let’s take a brief microscopic look at them, so we are even more motivated than before to effectively do our business with Allah SWT.
Charity and You
Charity positively adds to a person’s life satisfaction. It has research-proven mental and physical health benefits for humans.
Why so? Well, there is a long-lasting intrinsic feeling of satisfaction we get when we help someone in need through our hard-earned money. It is incomparable in its effects on all the pleasurable activities we do to satisfy our own whims and desires.
Let’s understand this through hormones.
We have essentially three happy hormones, hormones that are produced when we feel good or satiated.
One of them is dopamine. When we experience something pleasurable, such as having good food or receiving good news, dopamine is released. It is our excited hormone.
However, when we experience something that gives us happiness along with deep contentment, our body releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is thus released during intimate romantic moments, breastfeeding, etc.
And it should come as no surprise that it is oxytocin that is related to our charitable acts too!
You can understand dopamine as what we’d experience if we were to receive a gift and oxytocin as what we’d experience if we were to give a gift. It is a common experience that giving gives more contentment and happiness than receiving.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The upper (giving) hand is better than the lower (receiving) one.” (Bukhari)
Furthermore, charity is also known to reduce depressive symptoms and stress levels. It aids in reducing blood pressure and boosting self-esteem. On the whole, your chances of living a happier life are greater the more your life is infused with charity.
Is there anything more to say about how positively charity can affect you?
Charity and the Economy
We might have never thought about how charity contributes to the stability of an economy, but the truth is that it works a great deal.
The economy of any society stays afloat through the flow of wealth which helps keep the economy balanced. Problems occur when wealth and resources become concentrated in a few hands, while others remain empty.
Charity helps restore that balance. It pushes some money out of the hands of the wealthy and into the hands of the poor. What happens as a result? The balance of the economy is restored.
Let’s understand this bit through economics as well.
There is the concept of Marginal Propensity to Save (MPS) and Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) in Economics.
MPS is essentially the portion of each unit of money from additional income that is likely to be saved by a certain household. That means, if for every extra dollar I earn beyond my regular income, I save 0.5$, then my Marginal Propensity to Save is 50%. This implies I am likely to save 50% and spend the rest.
MPC on the other hand is the complement of MPS. It tells what portion of my additional income am I likely to consume. So, if I save 40 cents of every extra dollar I receive (through any means, whether earning, gifts, etc), it means I spend 60 cents, making my Marginal Propensity to Consume 60%.
Now, the fact of the matter is that for every extra dollar the rich receive, they are more likely to save it than consume it. That’s because they already have sufficient wealth to fulfil all their needs and wants. Thus, their MPS is greater than their MPC.
On the other hand, the poor barely scrape by the basic necessities. Every extra dollar they receive is more likely to be spent to fulfil their unfulfilled needs and desires. Although even the poor tend to save, that only comes on later – once they move beyond the hand-to-mouth stage. Thus, for the lower economic class, their MPC is greater than their MPS.
The interesting thing here is that it is consumption that helps keep the economy afloat, rather than savings. When goods are bought and sold, the flow of wealth keeps moving in society.
Thus, a dollar in the hands of the poor helps the society more than a dollar in the hands of the rich. Because the rich will most probably add it to their safe and secure bank accounts, whereas the poor will immediately look for the next need to fulfil using the extra dollar.
Recall this the next time you donate. Remember that you are not only facilitating a person or a family, but rather the stability of the entire economy of your city. How rewarding is that!
Can You Become Richer by Giving?
By logic, the more you give, the less you have. Plain and simple, right? Equivalent to how four minus two leaves two.
But, by Islam, the more you give, the more you get. Although this defies logic and even mathematics, the truth is that not a single person in this world ever became poor by giving.
Take a look at Hazrat Uthman (RA). He was one of the richest companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), from the time he accepted Islam till his death. Did he remain rich by saving his wealth and keeping it to himself greedily? Absolutely not.
In fact, he is the one companion who received the title ‘Al-Ghani’ (the one who selflessly spends on others), because of his habit of spending millions on Muslims and in the path of Allah.
Were we to follow the law of logic, he should’ve died poor. But history has it recorded that he died wealthy, probably even more wealthy than he was at the time of acceptance of Islam. May Allah be pleased with him.
How Does Giving Help You Become Richer?
Well, all the wealth of the heavens and the skies are in the hands of Allah SWT. And, it is the way of Allah SWT to bless His creations abundantly, irrespective of whether they deserve it or not. When we follow the way of Allah, He becomes pleased with us and, in turn, blesses us more!
This is the Unseen we believe in. It may sound metaphysical in the world of science, but isn’t it only logical that the Most Rich and Most Giving bless even more the one who follows His ways of giving and makes Him happy? It makes absolute sense.
Even we humans like to spend on those who make us happy. We like to shower them with gifts and love to make them happy, simply because they made us happy. If we humans can do this so naturally, then what about our ever Merciful Lord?
Moreover, the Du’a (prayer) that the recipients give as we give them charity works wonders! They are the ones living in difficulty, so whatever Du’a they give is most likely to reach the highest skies in our favour!
Thus, collecting the duas of the poor as we help them is enough to keep us afloat with wealth and contentment. Trust me on this.
Moreover, when you give charity, you feel internally good and at peace. Your motivation to do even more good deeds increases. As a result of this, you do more good! And so, Allah SWT rewards you even more.
It is a chain, you see. Good deeds fuel more good deeds. And each of them adds more and more blessings and value into your life.
However, perhaps the most powerful underlying principle at play here is the law of gratitude.
When we give to others, we naturally feel more grateful for whatever we have left. And, if we have close interactions with the poor people during our acts of giving, then we feel even more grateful for all our blessings. And, doesn’t Allah SWT say:
“If you are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you..” (Surah Ibrahim, 7)
So, it is because of our gratitude that naturally comes with giving that increases our wealth many a fold.
A grateful man is not just rich in terms of his wealth, but also rich by heart. And, the richness of the heart is indeed the true richness one can have.
Recall all of these the next time you hesitate while giving. Take up this mantra and make it your life’s motto: No one has ever become poor by giving, only rich. So, the more I give, the more I get.