I was just having a conversation with my 6-year-old earlier today about generosity and the act of giving to others. He knows basically what giving sadaqah (charity) means, but I thought that since it’s Ramadan, and giving sadaqah is one of the greatest ‘ibaadah (act of worship) that we’re encouraged to do in this blessed month, it was a perfect time to discuss more about it with him.
Sadaqah is probably one of the simplest ‘ibaadah that we can explain and demonstrate to our children. They would usually understand when we tell them that we help the poor because they are in need of money, food, clothing etc.
But really, sadaqah would mean so much more to our children if they know that not only would they help others and make them happy, but Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has promised bountiful rewards to those who give to others.
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to who He pleases. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.”
(Al- Baqarah: 261)
Read the above verse and its translation with your children and do a little math together :).
1 x 7 x 100 = 700!
Yes! That’s a 700 times reward for whatever you spend in the way of Allah. Allahu Akbar!
How do we give sadaqah?
“O you who believe, you shall give to charity from the good things you earn, and from what we have produced for you from the earth. Do not pick out the bad therein to give away, when you yourselves do not accept it unless your eyes are closed.You should know that Allah is Rich, Praiseworthy.”
The above verse contains a very important lesson for children.
We shouldn’t give others things are already bad, worn out, broken, or have any defects that we wouldn’t want to have for ourselves. Our children need to be taught this as well. So if they have toys to give away, for instance, ask them to choose the ones that are still good. If they want to give away some of their books, ask them to make sure the pages aren’t dirty, smudgy or torn. The same goes with clothes, blankets and others.
Remind them that the more beloved something is to them, the better it is when they can make other people happy by giving it away.
“Who give to charity during ease and hardship, and who restrain anger and pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.”
This is what I tried to emphasize to my son – that we don’t only give to others when we “have a lot of money” (because one time he said something like, “So when we have lots and lots of money we can help people!”). What and how much we give to others is based on what we can afford. Contrary to what many people think, we don’t have to be rich and wealthy to help others. Even when we ourselves are in a hard condition, there always has to be a way to give charity, no matter what it is and how small the amount.
Also, don’t forget to highlight the fact that Allah loves people who do good, as clearly mentioned in the above verse of Surah Ali-Imran.
Okay, how do we start? Here are a few suggestions:
- Sadaqah Jar/Box: Make a sadaqah jar or box at home and decorate it to make it look extra special. You can either make one for the entire family or let your child have their own sadaqah jar or box for them to put some cash or loose change inside. For Ramadan, maybe you can ask them to put in money each day and make it a goal to give as much sadaqa as they can. Check out this post to learn how to make an easy DIY Sadaqa Jar.
- Choose one day to be a “Sadaqah Day”. You can do this weekly, bi-weekly, or as regular as you want, but let them consider that particular day a special day. On this day, you can take your children out to give donations to poor and homeless people, orphanages or even travelers if you meet them. These are the people to whom we are encouraged to give charity to. You can distribute water, dates, food, desserts – the list is endless!
- “A Smile is Sadaqah” poster – When we talk about Sadaqah, our children would normally think about giving money and other material things to help people. We shouldn’t forget to teach them that Rasulullaah salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam told us that smiling is considered sadaqah too! So you can ask your children to make a poster that they can put up on the wall to remind them that smiling is sadaqah. Let them use their own creativity.
- Read this hadith together:
Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Your smile to your brother is a sadaqah (charitable act) for you. Your commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is a sadaqah. Your guiding a man in the land of misguidance is a sadaqah for you. Your seeing (showing the way) for a man with bad eyesight is a sadaqah for you. Your removing a stone or thorn or bone from the road is a sadaqah for you. Your emptying your bucket of water into your brother’s (empty) bucket is a sadaqah for you.”
This hadith helps to make it clear to our children that sadaqah is not just limited to giving money to help people, but can also be done in other ways.
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Don’t forget to make lots and lots of du’a that our children will be among those who love to help people, and inshaAllah, they will realize that a small act of kindness goes a long way. May Allah accept their sadaqah as well as ours, ameen!