As winter sets in, Islamic teachings illuminate a path of warmth, kindness, and compassion. Below are some Quranic verses which emphasize the significance of charity and empathy. Charity is especially important during the winter season when the harsh conditions mirror the struggles faced by countless people worldwide.
Sustain the Flame of Compassion: In Surah Al-Baqarah (2:267), we are reminded that charity is not just our responsibility, but an act of maintaining compassion. "O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned.” The winter season, with its biting winds, serves as a reminder to help the underprivileged -- those struggling to stay warm and nourished.
Promote Social Justice: Surah Al-Baqarah 2:267-273 states "feed the hungry, visit the sick, and free the captives." Islam emphasizes the importance of compassion and standing up against injustice. Kindness and justice are integral to a believer’s faith.
Feed and Clothe the Needy: Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:89) relays the importance of charity and being there for one another. "Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So, its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people with the average of that with which you feed your [own] families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave."
This Quranic verse serves as a guidance on the consequences of breaking deliberate oaths in Islam, however it indirectly relays the importance of providing sustenance and clothing to those in need. What better way than to feed the vulnerable in these cold winter months.
Practice Selflessness and Promote Inclusivity: Surah Al-Hashr (59:10) emphasizes the importance of selflessness and inclusivity. "And [there is a share for] those who came after them, saying, 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed, You are Kind and Merciful.' The verse embodies fundamental Islamic values of forgiveness, love, and solidarity as it encourages believers to not only seek forgiveness for themselves, but also for those who preceded them in faith.
Maintain a Sense of Unity: Surah Al-Tawbah (9:18) states, "The mosques of Allah are only to be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and establish prayer and give zakat and do not fear except Allah, for it is expected that those will be of the [rightly] guided." Mosques serve as places of worship, education, and building the community, providing refuge for all Muslims regardless of their social status. The verse could be interpreted as urging believers to maintain mosques, thereby giving all Muslims a place to unite and worship, enhancing the spirit of brotherhood. In this season of reflection, let’s implement the wisdom of Islamic teachings and embody the spirit of charity, compassion, and empathy. May our hearts be kind to those in need, and may our communities stand strong to help the most affected around the world.