الْعَفَافُ زِينَةُ الْفَقْرِ، والشُّكْرُ زِينَةُ الغِنَى۔

Charity is the adornment of destitution while gratefulness (to Allah) is the adornment of riches.



Charity is the adornment of destitution while gratefulness (to Allah) is...

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #68)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Charity is the adornment of destitution while gratefulness (to Allah) is the adornment of riches.

This beautiful Hadith highlights the virtues of two important qualities: charity and gratitude. Let us delve deeper into the meanings of these words and explore their significance in light of the Quran.

The word (afaaf) "عَفَافُ" refers to destitution or poverty. It signifies a state of lacking material wealth or resources. On the other hand, the word (zeenah) "زِينَةُ" means adornment or decoration. It implies that charity serves as a beautiful embellishment for those who are in need. By giving to the less fortunate, one not only fulfills their obligation of helping others but also adorns their own character with the virtue of generosity.

The Quran emphasizes the importance of charity in numerous verses. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:177),

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves.

This verse highlights that true righteousness lies in giving charity to those in need, regardless of one's own attachment to wealth.

Similarly, in Surah Al-Insan (76:8-9), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the virtues of the righteous, saying,

And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [saying], 'We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.'

This verse emphasizes the selflessness of those who give charity, as they do so solely for the sake of Allah and without expecting any reward or gratitude from the recipients.

Moving on to the second part of the Hadith, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states that gratefulness to Allah is the adornment of riches. The word (shukr) "شُّكْرُ" refers to gratitude or thankfulness. It is a quality that beautifies the character of a person who possesses wealth or abundance. Gratitude is not limited to expressing thanks for material possessions but extends to acknowledging and appreciating the blessings bestowed upon us by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of gratitude. In Surah Ibrahim (14:7), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'

This verse highlights the connection between gratitude and the abundance of blessings. When we express gratitude to Allah for His favors, He promises to increase us in His blessings.

Furthermore, in Surah An-Naml (27:40), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states,

Said one who had knowledge from the Scripture, 'I will bring it to you before your glance returns to you.' And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he said, 'This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful - his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever denies [His favor] - then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.'

This verse highlights the importance of gratitude by showcasing the example of Prophet Solomon (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). He recognized that gratitude is not only beneficial for oneself but also a means of acknowledging Allah's blessings.

In light of this Hadith, we can understand that charity and gratitude are not only virtuous acts but also qualities that beautify our character. By giving to those in need, we not only fulfill our duty towards our fellow human beings but also adorn our own souls with the virtue of generosity. Similarly, by expressing gratitude to Allah for His blessings, we not only acknowledge His favors but also beautify our own hearts with the quality of thankfulness.

As Muslims, we should strive to embody these qualities in our lives. Let us be charitable towards those in need, recognizing that our wealth is a trust from Allah and a means to help others. Simultaneously, let us be grateful to Allah for His countless blessings, recognizing that gratitude is a means of increasing His favors upon us. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to practice charity and gratitude, and may He adorn our lives with these beautiful qualities.

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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