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Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The English word donation is borrowed from the Latin, donaire means present. It is an action or faculty of giving or presenting. It includes presentation, grant, bestowal or gift. The tradition of donation goes back to the Islamic period. The Koranic message specifies to participate in the cause of God by giving money. The word infaq means to spending benevolently, occurring seven times in the Koran (2:195, 261, 262, 8:60, 9:34, 47:38, 57:10), such as: "The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of God is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears with a hundred grains in every ear; and God multiplies it for whom He pleases" (2:261), and "And the parable of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of God and for the certainty of their souls is as the parable of a garden on an elevated ground" (2:265).

Qurtubi (d. 671/1272) writes in al-Ta'rif fil Ansab (Cairo, 1987, p. 252) that a Syrian merchant, called Tamim al-Dhari (d. 40/660) brought a lamp (kandil) with oil and wick from his native Syria to Medina and donated for the mosque. His lighting of a lamp in the mosque was an important social event, which was not only approved but also recommended by the Prophet who, gave him a nickname of Siraj (lamp). Waqidi (p. 410) writes that Abu Lubaba was one of the most influential men in Medina, who was wealthy enough to donate a balcony to the Masjid al-Dirar. Zainab did some manual labour and tanned hide and skin and this hard-earned money she spent in the way of God (al-Isabah, 4:314). Another report indicates that Zainab would spin yarns and gave them to the people participating in jihad with the Prophet to use it for sewing their torn clothes (Sa'id al-Haithmi, 8:289). Ala'a bin Hadrami once sent a sum of eighty thousand dhirams to the Prophet, which was never given such a large amount before or after that (al-Hakim, 3:329). Al-Haythmi (9:384) writes that Hakim bin Hazm sold his house to Muawiya for sixty thousand dhirams. The people said, "By God! Muawiya had usurped property." He replied, "I have taken the house in exchange for one water-skinful during the days of ignorance, and now I donate it in the way of God for freeing the slaves and helping the paupers, and now tell me who has suffered the loss."

The Prophet once appealed the Muslims to make their inclination towards the jihad and pay their donation. Ibn Abbas and Talha bin Ubaidah brought sufficient wealth to the Prophet. Abdur Rahman bin Awf gave two hundred oqiyahs silver (one oqiyah was equal to the weight of 40 dhirams, and one dhiram was equal to about 3.07 grams). Asim bin Adi donated 90 wasqs of dates (90 wasqs weighed more than 4 quintals). Umm Sinan relates that she saw a cloth spread on which was collected the bangles of ivory and horns, foot-wears, ornaments, rings etc., which were donated by the women (Ibn Asakir, 1:110).

According to al-Targhib (1:53), Jarir narrates, "One day, we had been at the service of the Prophet. In the meantime, some people from Mudir tribe appeared in bare-bodies and bare-footed, putting on state-like cross belt of the stripped sheet or a cloak. The face of the Prophet changed to see them starving. He entered his house and came out and asked Bilal to call azan. The Prophet led the prayer, then delivered a speech before recitation of the Koranic verse: "O ye who believe! Fear God and let every soul look to what (provision) he has sent for the morrow. You fear God, for God is well-acquainted with all that you do." The Prophet also said, "Man should offer dinar, dhiram, clothes, wheat and dates, no matter it be a piece of date" (59:18). Having heard this one person turned up with a heavy pursed followed by others carrying various articles one after another and also raised two separate heaps of grains and clothes. Having observed the spirit of the donors, the face of the Prophet got brightened. Then, he said, "Anyone who innovates something good in Islam, will get its reward for his desirable innovation added by the reward equal to those who would be practising his fine innovation, without bringing about any curtailment in the reward of those following his way." Ibn Abbas relates that once the Prophet after offering the Eid prayer and delivering the sermon, went to the women and imparted them. He asked to donate for the poor. Ibn Abbas also relates that he saw the women reaching out their hands to their ears and necks to take off earrings and necklaces and throwing them towards Bilal.

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