Be Quick in Doing Good

Cont'd from previous issue
A Will is valid only up to one-third of the property left.
It should be noted that some people desire to make a Will to finance some charitable work for permanent reward, so that the investor may continue to receive its reward even after his death. If a person makes a Will in his lifetime, while he is hale and hearty, that so much amount should be given to this or that needy person or invested in such and such charitable work after his death, this Will shall be valid only up to one-third of his legacy and not more than that. That is why the Holy Prophet (S) has kindly advised that a Muslim should give money in charity as soon as the urge for charity arises in his heart.

Set aside a portion of your income for charity.
I have already mentioned a tried method of doing this. If it is followed, a person is enabled to practise charity, or else we have become used to postponing charitable work. Decide to set aside a convenient portion of your periodical income to be spent on charity in the name of Allah. When the income accrues to you, deduct and keep aside that portion in a separate envelope from period to period. That envelope will remind you to spend in charity the amount thus saved. Spend the amount on some right cause. This attracts blessings for this work otherwise man is always hesitating whether to spend it or not on charity. The presence of the envelope with the savings in it will be a reminder and man will not fall victim to hesitation and neglect.

Almighty Allah does not mind the number (or the quantity)
Remember that Allah attaches importance to the emotion and sincerity of a good deed and does not mind the number or the quantity of the thing spent on charity. A man with an income of one hundred rupees spends one rupee and another man with an income of one lakh spends one thousand rupees on charity in the way of Allah. Both are equal and maybe the giver of Re. 1/= may surpass the giver of Rs. 1000/= because of his sincerity. So, do not mind the number or the quantity, but only mind the intention for earning excellence in the sight of Allah and His pleasure. So you must spend some portion of your income in the way of Allah.

My respected late father's routine practice
My respected late father, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Sahib used to set aside in a separate envelope for charitable purposes 20 p.c. of the income which he earned by his work and 10 p.c. of the income which accrued to as gifts and grants, etc. He followed this practice throughout his lifetime meticulously and with extreme care and regularity, even though some times this caused him inconvenience in obtaining small change, etc. I never saw the envelope empty during the whole of my life. The envelope itself used to remind the owner to spend the savings in the way of Allah. As a result of such schemes. Almighty Allah promotes charity.

Everyone should give alms according to his capacity
Once a gentleman complained that he had nothing to spend in charity. I asked him if he had one rupee he could easily set aside from it, one paisa. The ratio between this one paisa and one rupee is the same as the ratio between one thousand paisa and one lakh rupees. So do not look at the amount, but work to fulfil the urge for charity as soon as it arises. This is an infallible prescription for self-reform. Just save yourself from the tactics of deferring action indefinitely. If you act upon this advice, Almighty shall open before you, through its blessings, wide roads for spending money on charitable works. May Allah help us all to follow valuable advice.

What are you waiting for?
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال بادروا بالأعمال سبعا هل تنظرون إلا فقراء منسيا أو غنى مطغيا أو مرضا مفسدا أو غرما مفندا أو موتا مجهزا أو ألد جال فشر غائب ينتظر أو الساعة فالساعة أدهى وأمر أو كما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم
This has been narrated from Hazrat Abu Hurairah. It deals with the subject of hastening towards doing good, He has narrated that the Holy Prophet said:
بادروا بالأعمال سبعا
Make haste to do good deeds before the arrival of seven things, as after their arrival the opportunity to do good will not be available. Thereafter he mentioned these things one by one.

Are you waiting for poverty?
هل تنظرون إلا فقراء منسيا
Are you waiting for doing good such poverty as will make you forget things?
Presently you are well-to-do, have money and are not short in the means of sustenance and are leading a comfortable and easy life yet in such favourable circumstances you are deferring the doing of good deeds. Are you waiting for a time when the time of your wealth, prosperity and contentment changes into that of adversity as a result of which you will forget other matters.? Do you hope to do good in the period of your hardship? If you are under the wrong impression that presently you should enjoy life and you will do good deeds at some later time, then mind carefully the Prophet's admonition. He has said that during the period of financial difficulties the possibility of doing good becomes remote. That is a time when man forgets doing even very important acts. You should try to do good during the period of your prosperity, before you are face to face with financial difficulty and poverty. He further said:

Are you waiting for affluence?
أو غنى مطغيا
Are you waiting for such affluence as makes man rebellious?
In other words, if you are under the misconception that presently your resources are not up to the mark and you should, therefore, wait till they increase, when you can do good deeds to your satisfaction. But remember that if you become richer and richer and are surrounded by wealth on all sides, it is likely that this abundance of prosperity may make you rebellious and disobedient because a carefree and luxurious life generally makes man oblivious of Allah and His commands. So if you want to do anything good do it just now.

Are you waiting for illness?
أو مرضا مفسدا
Are you waiting for some illness to befall you that may damage your health.
Presently you are enjoying good health with strength and vitality and it is easy for you to do good dteds if you so desire. Are you then deferring the doing of good deeds till your health is lost - God forbid and various ailments assail you. When you are not able to do good deeds in good health, how can you do this during helplessness and disability? so do what you feel inclined to do before ailment falls on you.

Are you waiting for old age?
Are you waiting for disabling old age under the proud impression that presently you are in the prime of your youth, rather too young and inexperienced to think of serious work. You feel that you should pass these early days of your life, in comfort and enjoyment, and defer doing serious work to some later stage of life. The Holy Prophet (S) asks: Are you waiting for old age? In this age sometime man becomes mentally and physically decrepit and even if he desires to do some good turn he is unable to do that. In this age man has neither teeth, nor intestine in his stomach. If he shuns sins that is no credit when he has no capacity to commit sins. So one should try to do good before reaching this abject old age. It is a prophetic quality in a man to shun sin and take to righteousness when he is I young and energetic and has the natural urge to commit sins. The persian saint poet Shaikh S'adi has said in a couplet:
A ferocious and cruel wolf becomes pious and harmless.
The turning away from sin in youth I is a Prophetic way.
The cruel wolf has not become pious because of some moral urge in him or fear of God, he has become too weak and helpless to harm anyone. As pointed out above to keep away from sins during youth is the way and character of the Prophets.
Take the example of Hazrat Yousuf He is in the prime of youth, in full health and strength and enjoying all means and resources of life. He is being invited to sin but he utters these words:
مَعَاذَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ
I seek refuge with Allah, He is my Lord, He has treated me honourably. ( 12 23)
This indeed, is the way of the Prophets that man should turn away from sins and do good deeds during his youth. Man becomes helpless in his old age and can do nothing and can commit no sins. That is why the Holy Prophet (S) asks : Do you think that you will do good and start praying and remembering Allah during your old age? When the Hajj falls due people defer it till the advanced age, but they do not know how long they shall live, what is the interval of respite and whether they are going to reach the old age at all, and whether the conditions at that time are favourable or not. Please whatever you want to do, do it at once.

Are you waiting for death?
أو موتا مجهزا
Are you waiting for that death which will overtake you all of a sudden?
At the moment you are deferring good deeds in the hope that you can do them in the future. Do you not know that sometilnes death gives ultimatum and warning about its arrival and often it arrives without any ultimatum or fore-warning. Specially nowadays fatal accidents have become very common and frequent. No one knows what is going to happen the next moment. However. Allah generally gives advance notice.

A dialogue with the Angel of death
There is a story, real or fictitious but full of moral, current among the people that once a man met the Angel of Death, Hazrat 'Izrael and addressed him thus: You follow a strange way that you call on persons suddenly and without any prior notice. The procedure followed in the world is that before punishing a criminal, first a notice is served on him that such and such action will be taken against him at such and such time. So he should be prepared for that. The Angel replied: I do issue notices in as large numbers as none else can issue in the world but none cares about these notices. What can I do? Do you not know that attacks ,on men with fever, headaches their affliction with old age white hair and birth of grand sons and daughters are all forms of notices from my side. I have thus been issuing notices continuously but the people do not notice them. All these ailments are notices and warnings from Almighty Allah calling attention that the time of death is coming soon. Allah says in the Qur'an:
أَوَلَمْ نُعَمِّرْكُم مَّا يَتَذَكَّرُ فِيهِ مَن تَذَكَّرَ وَجَاءَكُمُ النَّذِيرُ
This means:
I shall ask you in the Hereafter: Did I not grant you a lifetime long enough in which a man could take advice if he wanted to do so? And the warner also had come to you.
Who was this warner? Some interpreters have said that the warner is the Holy Prophet (S) because it is he who warned that after death people will have to appear before Almighty Allah. Some interpreters have said that a warner means the white hair of the head or the beard to remind men of approaching death. Still some others said that it is the grand son who reminds the grand-father of imminent death. An Arab poet has expressed the same idea in a couplets:

When the sons of men bear their sons and their bodies become old because of old age and diseases afflict them one after another, it should be understood that these are crops the time of whose harvesting has arrived. Anyway, these are notices issued from time to time from Almighty Allah. It is Allah's practice to send these notices, yet sometimes death overtakes men all of a sudden without prior notice. That is why the Holy Prophet &4 has asked: Are you waiting for death that may overtake suddenly without any notice. None knows how many moments are left in one's life. Why are they waiting for the I last moment? Then He said:

Are you waiting for the Dajjal (Antichrist)?

Are you waiting for the Dajjal and are you thinking that the time is not yet ripe for doing good deeds? Will the Dajjal's time be ripe for good deeds? Will you be able to do good during those tumultuous days? God knows what will happen at that time; what urges and motives for misconduct and straying may crop up at that time. Are you waiting for such a time (Daj~al is the worst of all hidden objects to be awaited). Do whatever good you can do before his appearance. He said last of all:

Are you waiting for the Doomsday ?
If you are waiting for the Doomsday, then the Doomsday will be so calamitous that man will have no escape from that calamity. Then do good before it arrives. The gist of the entire Hadith is that you should not defer any act for the morrow. Instead. When you feel an urge for and an interest in doing a good turn do it immediately without any hesitations.
May Almighty Allah help us all to follow this advice.