SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)-
There are several traditions that highlight the importance of charity and alms. We are restricting to quoting a few traditions here.
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) says that a Jew greeted the prophet (S) by saying assamalaik (that would mean, ‘may death come to you’). The Prophet (S) replied, “Alaik assaam (meaning, ‘May death come to you too
” The Companions protested to the Prophet (S), “The Jew has wished for your death!” The prophet (S) replied to them, “Similarly, I have wished for his death too! By this evening he will be a dead person! A snake will bite his head!” The Jew was a woodcutter. He went to the forest and returned around sunset with a stack of wood on his shoulder.
When the companions saw the Jew they informed the Prophet (S) that the Jew was still alive. The prophet (S) asked them to call him. The Jew came to the presence of the Prophet (S), who asked him to throw the stack of wood down. When the stack was put down a snake emerged from it and ran away. The Prophet (S) asked the Jew, “What good deed you had done today?” The Jew said that he had two pieces of bread, of which he gave one to a beggar. The prophet (S) said, the alm (sadaqa) has saved you. That snake had brought the message of death for you. It had a sliver of wood stuck in it’s mouth that prevented it from biting you. The prophet (S) then said that sadaqa can ward away death. If a person wants to be safe against unforeseen difficulties, he should start the day by giving a sadaqa.
The Reward For Charity and Alms
One who wishes to ward away the evil influences of the night, he should give alms in the evening. The alms (Sadaqa) quench the fire of the anger of Allah.
One day Prophet ‘Isa (as) went to the bank of the river. At one spot he took out bread from his basket and put in the river. His disciples asked him, “Why did you put the only bread you had in the river?” He said, “The animals of the river will eat the bread and I shall get great rewards for the act!”
Someone asked the Prophet of Islam (S), “O prophet (S)! What is a good Sadaqa?” The Prophet (S) said, “That which you give to your nearest enemy!” The Prophet (S) added, “The rewards for Sadaqa are ten-fold, the rewards for giving loans to the needy are eighteen times the amount, helping a Mu’min is twenty times and the reward for assisting ones relations is twenty fold.”
Imam Zain-ul-’Abidin (as) used to go out of his house in the nights with a bundle of breads on his shoulder to distribute to the poor. He used to hide his face during these trips that the people don’t recognize who their benefactor was. Almost a hundred households depended on this nightly charity of the Imam (as). During Ramadan the Imam (as) used to get the soup of goat’s meat cooked in a big cauldron. He just used to smell it and then get the entire contents distributed to the poor. He himself used to break his fast with dry bread and dates.
By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi