He who utters aloud Qur’anic recitation is just like he who discloses charity acts. He who conceals Qur’anic recitation is just like he who conceals charity acts.Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
One of the many-many verses from the chapter al-Baqarah in the Holy Qur’an that made me love this religion and the Book of Allaah Subhanahu Ta’aala intensely was the verse about the open and secret charity.
If you disclose your Sadaqat (almsgiving), it is well; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, that is better for you. (Allaah) will expiate you some of your sins. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.[AL-QUR’AN; 2:271]
I had always heard about concealing charity and good acts. So much so that I started growing in doubts more and more as I saw people doing charities, acts of worship and other good deeds open while growing up. With the advent of social media, it became even more troublesome.
In the culture of influencers, fundraisers, social media pages, hashtag challenges; seeing every second person openly discussing their deeds annoyed me to the extent of exasperation. I felt all at sea. The waves of doubt washed over me. As a result, some sort of bitterness grew in my heart for many people around me. And, of course, it affected nobody else but my own personality to some extent.
Then one beautiful day I read about this verse.
I learnt that open charity and disclosing your good deeds is not only ‘allowed’ but preferable in many instances. (WAIT! WHAT? YES!)
The Holy Qur’an taught me that concealing charity is better than disclosing it, because it protects one from showing off and boasting. However, if there is an apparent wisdom behind disclosing the charity, such as the people imitating this righteous act, then disclosing it becomes better than concealing it.
The Messenger of Allah said,
He who utters aloud Qur’anic recitation is just like he who discloses charity acts. He who conceals Qur’anic recitation is just like he who conceals charity acts.
Explaining this, At-Teebi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
There are reports that speak of the virtue of the one who reads Qur’an out loud, and other reports that speak of the virtue of doing so quietly. In order to reconcile between them, we may note that reading it quietly is better for the one who fears showing off, and reading it out loud is better for the one who is not afraid of showing off, on condition that he does not disturb other people, whether they are praying, sleeping and so on. That is because the benefit of reading out loud may reach others, such as those who listen, learn or contemplate the meaning, or because it may be like a symbol of Islam, and because it helps the reciter to focus and reflect upon the meaning, and it dispels sleepiness and motivates others to worship. If anyone has such purposes in mind, then reading out loud is better. [End quote from Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi (8/191)]
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I never knew this before.
My perspective changed. I stopped doubting every other person doing good openly. Not that I had to take the bitter with the sweet; but it made my life taste sweeter than ever before.
Definitely, not everybody doing good openly is shouting at us to say, “Look what I can do!” They might be saying, “Look dear, you can do it too.” (And, only Allaah knows best the intentions.) *
* (Umar ibn al-Khattab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, deeds are only with intentions and every person will have only what they intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah and His Messenger, his emigration is for Allah and His Messenger. Whoever emigrated to get something in the world or to marry a woman, his emigration is for that to which he emigrated.” )
That’s how al-Qur’an changes the perspectives and mends the hearts.
The Might of Pen