Charity (Zakat) is one of the five pillars of Islam. During the holy month of Ramadan, many Muslims especially desire to give charity willingly.
Narrated Ibn Abbas: “The Prophet was the most generous of the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him. Gabriel would meet with him every night of Ramadan until the end of the month. The Prophet would recite the Holy Qur’an to Gabriel. When Gabriel met him, he would be more generous than a swift wind (bringing rain).” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 126)
So Muslims being extra generous during Ramadan is, of course, a good thing. But charitable giving should not end after Ramadan. And charitable giving need not only entail the giving of money or goods. Charity, for which the expression used in the Holy Quran is “spending out of what God has given you“. Giving charity does not have to be only money. Charity can also be given by using your energy, talent, resources, money, possessions, or whatever else, to help and do good to those in need.
In Islam, charity is very often mentioned alongside prayer because just as the latter is man’s relation with God, or man’s duty towards God, the former (charity) represents his relation with his fellow-beings, and indeed with all the creation of God.
Prayer expresses love for God, submission to Him, and a desire to bring out the Divine qualities that lie hidden in every person. Charity is an expression of sympathy and benevolence towards God’s creation, putting into actual practice the lessons you learn in prayer.
“Of their goods take alms, that so thou might purify and sanctify them; and pray on their behalf, verily thy prayers are a source of security for them.” (Quran, 9:103)
“Have you seen the one who denies the Religion? Such is he who repulses the orphan, and who does not urge others to feed the poor. Woe to worshippers, who are absent-minded to their prayer, those who make a show (of piety), and refuse to render small acts of kindness (towards others).” (Quran, 107: 1-7)
The Prophet said: “Charity is a necessity for every Muslim”.
He was asked: ‘What if a person has nothing?’ The Prophet replied: ‘He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.’ The Companions asked: ‘What if he is not able to work?’ The Prophet said: ‘He should help poor and needy persons.’ The Companions further asked ‘What if he cannot do even that?’ The Prophet said ‘He should urge others to do good.’ The Companions said ‘What if he lacks that also?’ The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity”.