God has given us an amazing gift in the form of life, what are we doing to give back?
Our prime purpose in this life is to give, to benefit humanity in some way. The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of spending in “the way of God” to help those who are not as fortunate as we are. Nothing, I repeat, nothing is stressed more than this! When we distribute our resources with others, we perform the real act of Shukr (giving thanks!) and acknowledge the fact that everything we temporarily own, and the means through which we earned it, ultimately comes from God!
My concern, however, is that we have become too focused on ourselves, even when we are giving away. As per popular opinion, spending in the month of Ramadan supposedly earns more rewards as it is deemed to be a “blessed” month, for example. But to donate money in hopes of accumulating rewards is very paradoxical indeed!
The purpose of giving is just that: giving! No more, no less. We should do good to our fellow humans simply because it is the right thing to do. It is what the soul yearns for! Expecting “rewards” for our service makes the whole process unnatural. It’s no more about benefiting others anymore, it becomes self centered. The ego comes in: “What can I get from this?”
I realized this truth some time ago, and I believe it is crucial for all of us to understand this to evolve as spiritual beings. An example would suffice: A mother is selfless. She loves her child because she feels that way, not because she wants someone to take care of her in old age. Although a good upbringing will bring comfort to her when she does get old, her intention of loving the child is not based on that. Furthermore, observe nature. It is selfless, too! A tree gives, but does not ask anything in return. Nature is self-less, and so should we!
So, in conclusion, don’t fret over accumulating rewards or recognition for yourself. Help someone just because they need your help, because they deserve it! In the famous words of Rumi: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy!”
“The example of those who spend their wealth in the cause of God is like sowing a seed that brings numerous shoots, each shoot with a hundred grains. This is how God’s Law of Recompense rewards men and women. God is Inﬁnite, Knower.” Quran 2:261
“You will never attain exponential growth of the ‘self’ unless you open up for others the possessions you cherish. And whatever you spend, God is well Aware of it. [God, the Knower of your own ‘self’, reminds that Paradise is for those who attain self-actualization by giving. 92:18]” Quran 3:61