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Saturday, October 4, 2008

10 Tips from Islam that any Family can do to Serve the Poor - Part I

Today begins a two-part post containing valuable tips from Islam about how families, and for the matter individuals - how they can better make serving the poor a way of life. Here are tips 1-5...

1. Make sure to pay Zakat
What is Zakat? It is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is the obligation we have to benefit the poor and the needy. Your family assets such as jewelry and a family business are "Zakatable". [Sounds like a "tax" or type of tithing]

2. Start a family Sadaqa (charity) box
Wouldn't it be great to give charity as a family? You can do this in a systematic way by setting up a family Sadaqa box in a particular spot of the house. Then, each person puts a portion of their allowance or salary in this box. Once a month, hold a family meeting to decide exactly where and to whom the money will go.

3. Have a "secret Sadaqa box"
Ideally, your left hand should not know what your right hand has given in charity. To encourage secret charity, put a secret Sadaqa box in the home. Tell the kids where it is hidden and why it is there. Monthly, decide as a family where the money should be given.

4. Be in regular social contact with community members
Do you think the only people who are really living in poverty are those who ask?  There are a number of people who, due to their sense of nobility and self-respect, cannot and will not ask from others, even if they are in need.

5. Use food wisely at parties
Where do you see so much good food wasted? Usually it is at weddings and dinner parties and social occasions. Once a party is over, drop off leftovers at a shelter for the homeless, a soup kitchen, or a family you personally know who is in need. To be continued next week…


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