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As The Curtain Draws To A Close: Ramadan Winding Down To Its Conclusion

02 July 2016

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

The holy month of Ramadan is winding down to its conclusion. With less than a week to go, many worshippers will be seeking God's mercy in earnest before the rising crescent signals the end. It is also a time of seeing beyond one's self and focusing not on one's own deeds but on actions to others.

It remains a special time of year a time when Muslims around the world take a step back from their daily routines and focus on community, charity, fasting and prayer. It is recounted that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people, and even more so during the holy month of Ramadan. It is a month to show your compassion to people who endure all levels of suffering and isolation.

This generosity is not confined to money or gifts. It can come in the form of many variants, such as being generous with your time to a family in your neighborhood that you haven't seen in a while or to someone in a strange new city. It could be helping out a new Muslim who is fasting for the first time or assisting an elderly couple who cannot get to the mosque. Even the smallest gesture of kindness and charity can make a huge difference in someone's life.

It is in this month that high profile charitable causes are undertaken in the form of monetary gifts or contributions to social causes. Some choose to free prisoners locked up for blood money or loans to creditors. Others pledge a considerable portion of their fortune to global charitable causes over the coming years. Such generosity serves as a philanthropic pledge that will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world.

Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal is one such individual who is committed to what matters most helping to build a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world for generations to come. Last year, he committed the bulk of his fortune to charity. The focus of his charitable activities will be toward causes, such as disease eradication, intercultural understanding, women's empowerment, disaster relief and the provision of electricity to remote and isolated areas.

In recent years, his charity has invested in $3.5 billion worth of projects in more than 92 countries and has contributed to research studies at a number of leading world universities. Within the country, Al-Waleed's projects include providing 10,000 housing units to Saudi citizens as part of his development housing initiative, in addition to granting Saudis 10,000 cars, bringing the total number of beneficiaries among Saudi men and women to 100,000 in 10 years.

''What I possess is a gift from Allah. I was born and brought up in this dear country, the most precious place for me to give and share with its people. In whatever I do, I am thankful to and seek the countenance of Allah,'' Al-Waleed said.

Al-Waleed is to be highly commended for his charitable deeds. But there are millions of others who also perform acts of charity albeit on a much smaller scale that often go unnoticed. The rewards for them are no less.

The Holy Qur'an says: ''Those who spend their wealth by night and day, in secret and in public, shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve'' (2:274), and ''By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give freely from that which you love. And whatever you give, Allah knows it well.'' (3:92)

Charity does indeed matter. Exercise it with generosity this month before it flees away, for there are many who are deserving of your bounty.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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