Friday Focus | Charity: Known & Unknown

Should charity be a matter of public knowledge or not stands answered in the holy Quranic verse [2:271] the verse relates:

‘’If ye disclose (acts of) charity, even so it is well, but if ye conceal them, and make them reach (really) in need, that is best for you: it will remove from some of your (stains of) evil. And Allah is acquainted with what ye do’’

The cardinal rule stands that in charity, left hand may not know, what the right hand provides. An exception is however made for situations, where public knowledge of charity might be for overall societal benefit. Such situations arise, if charity is for public purpose. The purpose could be investment for generating employment and productivity. Or, raising institutions of social welfare, such as an educational institution, or a health care unit. It is made out that in such situations, an obscure show of concealment may itself be a fault. Public knowledge of such a charitable enterprise might stimulate others with means to join the welfare and productive activity. In such a public enterprise, motives need to be pure and stay short of ostentation. In any case motive cannot be concealed, as made out in the holy verse—Allah (SwT) is acquainted with what you do.

In a charitable undertaking, where the cause is not public, it may not be made a matter of public knowledge. Those in need should be quietly and judiciously sought. Quietly for the purpose of protecting the honour of one in need. And, judiciously as charity needs to pass into the hand really deserving. Such an act of quiet and judicious seeking of one really in need is bound to wade off evil from your being, the divine promise holds in the given situations.