The Way to Closeness of Allah
INTRODUCTION TO GENEROSITY:
The Urdu word for generosity, sakhawat has been derived from the Arabic word ‘sakha’ which means to spend freely. Generosity is the willingness to give without feeling any difficulty in spending. Giving with such vigour and trait is known as generosity. Generosity meaning spending or giving freely with an open-heartedness includes everything such as wealth, knowledge, time, health, etc. Surprisingly, generosity is only valued and given attention to in terms of wealth. However, giving of your knowledge, labour, health and abilities also come under the umbrella of generosity.
Generosity is the opposite of stinginess whereby a person is unwilling to spend and finds it hard to spend. Stinginess is generosity antonym and it is a spiritual disease which develops within a person due to certain negative perspectives. A stingy person considers himself to have the only right upon the wealth, knowledge or any blessing bestowed to him by Allah. Therefore he restricts all blessings to himself and hesitates to spend upon his family and loved ones.
On the contrary, a generous person fully realises that whatever he gets is Allah’s mercy upon him. Keeping the will of Allah in mind, he often spends on himself, family, loved ones, other people and even for the religion of Allah. A generous person understands the commandments of his religion. Hence, he keeps spending and giving to seek the pleasure of Allah.
A person does not think twice when spending on the people he loves. He neither counts nor is he hesitant. A prominent example is that of parents who spend on their children. Parents consider that all their efforts and wealth is for their children. They are hesitant in spending in the way of Allah. Their love for Allah has been overpowered by other loves. Another excuse they have is that only that person can spend consistently in the way of Allah whose intention to spend is pure. Intention is the name of an inward resolution. However, when it comes to spending upon children, such parents do not keep things simple. They try to get the best and most qualitative brand. Such children turn out to be relatively conscious and show-off. They also fail to learn where and how much time and money they should spend. This is because they neither have the money and patience to spend in the way of Allah.
GENEROSITY VS LOVE FOR WEALTH:
Love for wealth is the biggest obstacle in being generous as the Quran says:
“And you love wealth and riches inordinately.” (al-Fajr 20/89:20)
On top of love for wealth, the tragic part is that the media of present age has exposed the luxurious life of extremely rich and affluent people upon everyone. This is what people want for themselves and their children along with a bright future for their children. They keep generosity and invocation of Allah as secondary. Moreover, they keep themselves engrossed in collecting wealth through legal and illegal ways. When finally they have gathered enough wealth, then they resist even paying their obligatory dues of zakat. Hence, spending willingly in the way of Allah is a remote thought for them. As a result, Allah takes the inward peace away from such people. Today, there are many people in the world who are extremely rich but are restless from their inward. Sultan Bahoo says:
جیندے گھر وچ بوہتی دنیا، اوکھے گھوکر سووَن ھُو
Meaning: Peace has ended for me to the extent that even slumber does not embrace me.
GENEROSITY OF TRUE BELIEVERS:
In contrast, the true believer is generous. He earns and also follows his religious limits. Simultaneously, he also spends in the way of Allah. Hence, Allah keeps granting peace to his inward, as Allah says in the Quran:
“Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah, and then do not follow up their spending by reminding of their benevolence or by hurting, there is reward for them with their Lord. And (on the Day of Resurrection) they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.”(262 al-Baqarah/2:262)
Let’s now try to understand generosity through Quran, Hadith and quotes of Saints.
GENEROSITY IN SURA BAQARAH:
More than 80 times, the Quran orders to spend or give. Allah says:
“And spend in the cause of Allah; do not cast yourselves into destruction with your own hands; and adopt righteousness. Verily, Allah loves the righteous.” (al-Baqarah 195/2:195)
“Who is he that will lend to Allah a generous loan? He will, then, multiply it for him manifold. And Allah alone decreases and increases (your sustenance) and towards Him will you be returned.” (al-Baqarah 245/2:245)
“O believers! Spend (in the cause of Allah) out of whatever We have provided for you, before the Day comes when there will be no trading; and (for disbelievers) neither any friendship (will be useful) nor (any) intercession; and it is the disbelievers who are the transgressors.” (al-Baqarah 254/2:254)
“Their (acceptance) of guidance is not your responsibility. It is Allah Who awards guidance to whom He wills. And whatever wealth you give away (as charity donation) goes to your own benefit. It is not appropriate for you to spend but for Allah’s pleasure alone. And whatever you spend of your wealth, (its reward) will be paid back to you in full and you shall not be treated unjustly.”(al-Baqarah 272/2:272)
GENEROSITY IN QURAN:
Allah says in the Quran:
“But the most pious one shall be saved from this (Fire).” (al-Layl 17/92:17)
“Who gives his wealth away (in the cause of Allah) to attain to purity (of his soul and assets).” (al-Layl 18/92:18)
“And who owes no favour to anyone that he is seeing to pay back.”(al-Layl 19/92:19)
“Rather (he spends) seeing the pleasure of his Lord, Most High.” (al-Layl 20/92:20)
“And soon shall he be well-pleased (with Allah for His bestowal and Allah with him for his fidelity).” (al-Layl 21/92:21)
“You can never attain to piety unless you spend (in the cause of Allah) out of that which you like the most; and Allah surely knows well whatever you give away.” (aal-e-Imran 92/3:92)
GENEROSITY IN LIGHT OF HADITH OF PROPHET MOHAMMAD:
Abu Huraira relates that Prophet Mohammad pbuh said, “One who is generous, is close to Allah, close to paradise, close to everyone, distant from hell. On the other hand, the one who is stingy is away from Allah, away from paradise, away from people and is close to hell.” (Tirmidhi)
Abu Saeed relates that prophet mohammad (pbuh) said, “Spending one dirham during your lifetime is better than spending a hundred dirhams at the time of your death.”
Prayer (Salat), Shahadah and generosity removes sins.
O son of Adam! It is better for you to spend more than required. If you keep it, then it is bad for you. You must not regret if you do not save. (Muslim)
Abu Saeed relates that Prophet Mohammad pbuh said, “There are two traits which a true believer (Momin) cannot contain i.e. stinginess and bad behaviour.” (Tirmidhi)
A stingy person is an enemy of Allah even if he is an ascetic.
ALI IBN ABI TALIB QUOTES ON GENEROSITY:
Undoubtedly, Allah considers them His friends who are generous and are staunch in following the requirements of religion. Without a doubt, Allah is unhappy with those who are shameless and commit sins without guilt.
The one who spends his money and wealth on people for the sake of Allah or keeps it away from people for the pleasure of Allah and also loves or hates people for the will of Allah, then such a person perfects his faith.
QUOTES OF SHAIKH ABDUL QADIR JILANI ON GENEROSITY:
Ghawth ul Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says, “The engrossment of Saints is generosity and giving relief to the creation. They are the ones who bestow and grant limitlessly. Whatever they get by the grace and mercy of Allah, they bestow it upon the Fakirs and Masakeen (Fakirs who stay with Allah permanently). They give gifts and return debts of those who are unable to pay their debts. They are the real kings unlike the worldly kings who plunder and do not give to the public. (Section 34 al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
Do not get stingy with regard to wealth as you will get away from it soon. The true believer (Momin) who believes (yaqeen) to be rewarded in this life and hereafter due to his spending in the way of Allah, does not become stingy. (Section 29 al-Fath ar-Rabbani)
QUOTES OF SAINTS ON GENEROSITY:
Ali Hajvery writes in Kashf al-Mahjub:
The wealth of the generous keeps on being spent. This is because he is not selfish nor does he fight anyone over money. Nothing stays in their possession.
Moin ud Din Chishti Ajmer’s spiritual guide Khawaja Uthman Harooni says, “Allah takes him for a friend who possesses these qualities: generosity as an ocean, kindness as the Sun and humility as the earth.
Abu al-Qasim says, “Such a person cannot be termed as generous who looks back or mentions that which he has given. Generous is the one finds it embarrassing to mention his generosity. He forgets it by thinking that it was too less.”
SULTAN BAHOO QUOTES ON GENEROSITY:
The true believer (Momin) has 3 assets: body (physical abilities), wealth and religion. When he feels that he is losing his religion, he sacrifices his physical abilities and wealth to save his religion at all costs. On the other hand, the hypocrite sacrifices his life and religion for the sake of wealth and dies with a lost religion. Then other people take advantage of his wealth and he falls to the lowest pit of hell. (Mehak al-Faqr Kalan)
The possessor of inciting innerself behaves like Pharaoh when he is sated, becomes a crazy dog when hungry, a wild beast when dominated by lust and Qarun when showing off his generosity. (Kaleed al-Tauheed Kalan)
When a person gets hold of worldly wealth and fosters its love, Satan says, “Now he has become my slave because worldly wealth is my property.” (Ain al-Faqr)
You must know that when a coin is stamped (i.e. a piece of metal is stamped to make it a coin), Satan holds it, touches it with his forehead and says, “Whoever likes you is my slave.” (Ain al-Faqr)
The quotes above negate love for wealth which forces one to be stingy and not to spend generously for the will of Allah.
SULTAN UL ASHIQEEN QUOTES ON GENEROSITY:
There are different levels of intimacy with God. The highest form of Divine intimacy is to practice in giving as Allah has also given us. The perfect spiritual guide Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman says:
Faqr is not the way of the stinginess but of generosity.
When Allah makes someone His’, He grants them with 3 qualities: Divine love, generosity and extreme humility.
That money which is not in one’s destiny has to go sooner or later. It is better to spend it in the way of Allah.
The inward which is embraced with the love for Allah, becomes the source of generosity.
GENEROSITY OF PROPHET MOHAMMAD:
According to Abdullah ibn Abbas, Prophet Mohammad pbuh was the greatest in generosity among all men. His generosity was similar to a cyclone. This is because he would immediately spend and give away all the treasury, gifts, charity, alms etc.
Abu Huraira relates the tradition that once 80,000 dirhams were brought in Mohammadan Assembly. Prophet Mohammad pbuh spread all these on a sheet and did not get up until he had distributed them. Ali ibn Abi Talib reveals that at that time, Prophet Mohammad pbuh had a stone tied to his stomach so as to avoid hunger.
GENEROSITY OF RIGHTLY GUIDED CALIPHS:
These were the sacred entities trained under the company of Prophet Mohammad pbuh. They spent their lives in a simple and content manner. They were generous just like the Holy Prophet pbuh.
When Abu Bakr Siddiq accepted Islam, he had 40,000 gold coins which he spent in the way of Allah.
During the battle of Tabuk, Prophet Mohammad pbuh advised his companions to spend for the battle. At this time, Abu Bakr Siddiq reflected his sincerity and loyalty. He sacrificed everything in his household to Prophet Mohammad pbuh. He inquired that what has he left behind for home. Abu Bakr Siddiq replied, “Allah and His Prophet” i.e. the will of Allah.
GENEROSITY OF UMAR IBN KHATTAB:
Umar ibn Khattab presented half of his household items to Prophet Mohammad pbuh. The Roman emperor Heraclius gifted a lot of expensive and unique pearls to Umar ibn Khattab. He figured out that they were expensive but only a jeweler could tell their exact price. Hence, the most accomplished jewelers of Madina revealed that they were extremely expensive. No matter what rate one gives, it would still be less than the value of the pearls. Regardless of this, Umar ibn Khattab did not keep a single pearl for himself. He ordered all pearls to be sold and their return be added to the treasury. (Seerat al-Saliheen)
GENEROSITY OF UTHMAN IBN AFFAN:
Uthman ibn Affan gave 100 loaded camels. Later, he gave another 700 camels and 1000 gold coins.
When Uthman ibn Affan accepted Islam, he was quite a wealthy man. However, he gave all his wealth for the sake of Islam. He always presented his wealth to Prophet Mohammad pbuh in times of need such as battles, drought of Madina, buying of land for al-Masjid an-Nabwi buying sweet water wells for Madina and Hajj expenses of the wives of Prophet Mohammad pbuh. At his martyrdom, his only possession was a single camel which he had kept for Hajj.
GENEROSITY OF ALI IBN ABI TALIB:
After Ali ibn Abi Talibs generosity quotes, let’s discuss his generosity itself. Ali ibn Abi Talib was known for his kindness. He believed in giving at his own expense. Once he was in a state of fasting. It was iftar time i.e. the time to break the fast. Someone knocked the door. A hungry person was asking for food. Ali ibn Abi Talib gave him all the food and drink he had prepared for his iftar. He broke his own fast with simple water and thanked Allah. Ali ibn Abi Talib says, “Zakat of wealth has never been obligatory upon me. How can Zakat be compulsory for the generous?”
GENEROSITY OF IMAM HASAN:
Traditions witness the fact that no one returned empty-handed from the court of Syedna Imam Hasan who was always generous. Ali Hajvery (Data Ganj Bakhsh) writes in Kashf al-Mahjub that once an Arab came to Imam Hasan’s court. He started cursing. Imam Hasan listened to him with patience as he was the manifestation of wisdom. He said, “O Arab! Are you hungry or thirsty or facing a problem? Tell me so that I may help you.” He ordered his slave to give a pouch of dirhams to the Arab. Also, he apologised to the Arab that if he had more, he would have given that as well. Hearing this, the Arab helplessly exclaimed, “I bear witness that you are the beloved son of Prophet Mohammad pbuh. I came to experience your wisdom and clemency.”
FAQR AND GENEROSITY:
Sultan ul Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:
Faqr is Divine love and demands sacrifice. The seeker does not gain success on this path unless he sacrifices everything in the way of Allah.
– Mujtaba Akhir Zamani (The Spiritual Guides of Sarwari Qadri Order)
Hence, Divine love is not the name of shallow claims. His spiritual confidant and present Imam of Sarwari Qadri Order Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman explains this in his book ‘Haqeeqat e Zakat’.
“Every Momin (believer) claims that he loves Allah more than anyone or anything else and he genuinely feels that he is true to his claim. However, one must be asked to provide evidence (even for self-evaluation) to prove one’s love for Allah. This, so that no one becomes arrogant upon one’s false claim. The riches of this world are very alluring and one of the most loved things by man. Hence, it becomes a trial for him. Allah challenges, ‘If you are truthful in your claim of love then for the sake of your relationship with Allah, sacrifice only this one beloved of yours’.” –Haqeeqat e Zakat (The Spiritual Reality of Zakat)
The seekers who suffer in love, cannot possibly be driven towards wealth. Hence, they are free from the voracity of hoarding wealth. When the time comes to spend, they give all their wealth and everything to their Beloved.
OBSTACLES IN GENEROSITY:
The way everyone is different from one another, likewise, all seekers are not similar. In reality, at the beginning of their journey of Faqr, there is love for worldly relations, assets and wealth. Through the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the spiritual company of the perfect spiritual guide, their inward is changed. If during this time, if they are asked for wealth or physical effort for their spiritual guide’s system of Khanqah, then they should stand forth in offering it.
At such occasions, Satan tries his best to stop them and whispers various problems. If they do not listen to him, he tries with other evil whispers such as, “what’s the point in spending too much or let it be for now and spend more at another occasion.” If the seeker stops, then Satan makes him spend on other things before he can give in the way of Allah. If the seeker gives, then Satan would use his relatives to stop him from spending more.
As Sultan Bahoo says:
“When a generous person spends in the way of Allah, three persons deprecate him. First his servants, second his wife becomes angry with him, third are his sons who spy upon his wealth.” (Ganj al-Asrar)
HOW TO GET RID OF OBSTACLES IN GENEROSITY:
Such seekers should keep their trust upon Allah (tawakkul) pure and intact. They must keep their thinking positive and keep consistency in their generosity. The perfect spiritual guide is well aware of all these matters. He takes the seeker towards his destination according to his ability. With sincerity and kindesss, if the seeker begins from a very less amount and keeps doing so constantly, then love for Allah would dominate his love for wealth and other things. Moreover, he would be blessed with further inclination and ability of being generous. After sometime, such seekers practice such generosity that they excel in the way of Divine love. There are countless examples of it.
UNFORTUNATE STINGY DISCIPLES:
Some disciples still do not stand forward to practice generosity for the sake of Allah despite testifying that their spiritual guide is struggling for years to spread the gnosis of Allah to the world. They are unable to go against their inciting innerself (nafs). Hence, the love of Allah does not enter their inwards. In this regard, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman says, “How can the love of Allah enter the inward of a person who fosters love for wealth.” –Nafs k Nasoor (Purification of Innerself in Sufism)
Such disciples should curse themselves at every occasion of gathering that “one must sacrifice everything in the way of Allah and I am unable to give even a small amount of my wealth.”
One should also be mindful of the ways of the Sacred Companions and other Mystics of Islam that how they got close to their spiritual guide. The present Imam of Sarwari Qadri Order, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman’s life is an inspiration for us and few examples of his generosity are now being presented.
GENEROSITY OF SULTAN UL ASHIQEEN:
In December 1998, when Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali came to Lahore to buy horse, then he fell short of 1lac rupees. Sultan ul Ashiqeen happily paid it.
In 1999, Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali had a car that had no air conditioner in it. Even the seats were quite uncomfortable. This caused swelling in his feet and backache. Hence, Sultan ul Ashiqeen bought a brand new imported High Lux (4×4 double cabin) under his spiritual guide’s name and gifted it to him.
In 1999, the brothers of Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali were about to sell 6.5 acres of land from the darbar of Sultan Mohammad Abdul Aziz. Had they sold this land, the land for darbar would have fallen short. Even the path would not have remained. Sultan ul Ashiqeen presented all his wealth for this purpose. He bought that land under the name of Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali.
In 2000, when Sultan ul Ashiqeen saw his spiritual guide in perspiration, he immediately bought and installed air conditioner for his room. Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali was pleased. He gave the responsibility of installing another air conditioner in his room in Auchali Sharif.
INSPIRATION FOR ALL – GENEROSITY OF SULTAN UL ASHIQEEN:
Apart from this, he used to buy clothes for all seasons for his spiritual guide. He was always there to offer financial support. He gave up everything for his spiritual guide. In 2001, his spiritual guide ordered to perform Hajj. Also, he revealed that this journey is important for both him and his spiritual guide. At this time, Sultan ul Ashiqeen had no wealth. His only asset was a car that he used for the conveyance of his family. However, Sultan ul Ashiqeen sold his car for the expenses of Hajj of his spiritual guide and other disciples. He did countless other services for his spiritual guide and his organisation which are too lengthy to mention.
PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY:
For the seekers of Allah, the life of their spiritual guide is the most important inspiration. They should learn from their spiritual guide that how he prioritised the will of his spiritual guide with consistency. Also how he sacrificed his own desires ultimately excelling in the arena of Divine love.
Likewise, the seekers of Allah should stand forth at every wish of their spiritual guide. They should not wait for someone else to fulfill them. Remember! The perfect spiritual guide of Sarwari Qadri order is well aware of the inward states. He knows that which disciple can contribute at each moment. This is the time to show loyalty. Hence, to get rid of the spiritual disease of love for wealth, make it a practice to give in the way of Allah. Thereby you will become worthy of the will of Allah in both worlds. I pray that Allah gives us the ability to give as much as possible in the way of Allah for His love beyond all others. Ameen.
- Al-Fath ar-Rabbani by Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
- Kashf al-Mahjub by Ali ibn Utjman Hajvery aka Data Ganj Bakhsh
- Kaleed al-Tauheed Kalan by Sultan Bahoo
- Mehak al-Faqr Kalan by Sultan Bahoo
- Ain al-Faqr by Sultan Bahoo
- Ganj al-Asrar by Sultan Bahoo
- Mujtaba Akhir Zamani (The Spiritual Guides of Sarwari Qadri Order) by Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Haqeeqat e Zakat (The Spiritual Reality of Zakat) by Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Nafs K Nasoor (Purification of Innerself in Sufism) by Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Encyclopedia of Quotes of Ali ibn Abi Talib by Yusuf Misali
SULTAN MOHAMMAD NAJIB UR REHMAN:
Sultan ul Ashiqeen is the present Shaikh of Sarwari Qadri order. He is the perfect spiritual guide of this era who is on the footsteps of Prophet Mohammad. He grants the highest stage of invocation and Ism e Allah Zaat as well as Ism e Mohammad. Faqr is the Mohammadan heritage and the only way for the vision of Allah. Everyone is welcome to be a part of this way and to pledge allegiance to him.
This article was originally published in the March 2021 issue of Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (the monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) as Sakhawat Qurb e Elahi ka Zariya written by Waseem Asif Sarwari Qadri from Lahore.
Neyn Tara Sarwari Qadri, Lahore, Pakistan, has translated this article in English including all the poetry present in this article. Some parts may seem additional as they have been written to enhance the meaning and to maintain the essence of the subject. Hope you enjoy reading this article. If you wish to read the original article, please visit:
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How would you describe generosity?
Generosity is the trait of being willing to give.
What does it mean to be generous? What does generosity mean?
To be generous means a person gives with his free will. Generosity is the quality of giving time, money or physical or mental contribution.
What’s another word for generosity?
Benevolence and munificence are both synonyms for generosity.
What are examples of generosity?
Contributing for the sake of Allah such as for the building of a mosque is one example of generosity.