International Day of Charity
How did it start?
The International Day of Charity is celebrated annually every 5th September. It was declared officially by the UN General Assembly in 2012. The day itself was founded through a Hungarian civil society initiative with the support of the Hungarian Parliament and Government in 2011.
5th September is the selected date as it commemorates the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa who worked tirelessly to overcome poverty, distress and suffering of the poorest in the world.
What is it?
International Day of Charity serves to enhance and increase social responsibility amongst us all, solidarity and to increase the public’s support for charitable causes. This day is a great opportunity to raise awareness and provide a platform for charity events to take place on a global scale.
On this International Day of Charity, the United Nations invites all Member States and all international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
How is it celebrated?
The United Nations on this day invites all of the member states, various organisations and businesses and all of us citizens to celebrate the day by contributing to charity efforts in any way we can.
The UN encourages charity donations, driving education and awareness-raising activities in order to push the importance of charity.
Charity from the Islamic Perspective
Charity, preached by every religion of the world, is a way of bringing justice to society. And justice is the essence of religion, Islam has therefore made charity that is Zakah, obligatory and binding upon all those who embrace the faith; it has been made into an institution in order to give in permanence and regularity. Allah emphasized on the importance of charity and Zakah by pairing the said action alongside performing five daily prayers.
And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: And whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you, ye shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that ye do.
(Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:110)
A society can flourish only when its members do not spend all their wealth to fulfil their own desires but reserve a portion of it for parents, relatives, neighbours, the poor and the debilitated. As the saying goes: Charity begins at home. A true believer is thus always prepared, after meeting the needs of his family, to assist other people in need of his help.
According to the teachings of Islam, the giving of Sadaqah serves a number of functions. First and foremost act of Sadaqah is an expiation for sins. The believers are asked to give Sadaqah immediately following any transgression. Voluntary almsgiving can also compensate for any shortcoming in the past payment of Zakah and wards off affliction in this world, and punishment on Judgment Day. It is therefore recommended to give Sadaqah by night and by the day, in secret and in public to seek God’s pleasure.
Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
(Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:274)
The constant giving of a little is said to please God more than the occasional giving of much.
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