Right on the heels of my last posting of eliminating the piles in your home, I need to do this one on donating. They go hand in hand. If you have honestly assessed your needs then you have discovered you have too much. You are holding onto somethings you shouldn't.
Many of us think of donations as money. It's true that, at Ramadan time especially, we think of giving zakat, the poor tax. Giving usable items to those in need is another way of keeping your blessings flowing.
Those blessings you have might not all be yours. Think about that. You might have somebody else's stuff! God gave it to you in order that you pass it on. When you hoard, you withhold it from its rightful path.
How do you know that it's not really yours? You know when something no longer has a function in your life. It is has ended being integral and has become clutter. All of the blessings have gone out of it for you. Let it go to the person who could benefit from Allah's blessings.
When you give during Ramadan, it's better. For one thing it's easier. Shaytan is locked up so no one is coaching you to surround yourself with things. You can see clearer and feel stronger that need for freedom from dunya which pulls us down. There is also a weak hadith which states good deeds at this time bring extra reward. It that true? Don't know! Won't hurt to try.
My advice on donating is as follows:
- Don't wonder if you have something to donate because YOU DO. Start the process with collecting a bag's worth as the goal in mind.
- Get someone else in on the process. It amazed me to find out which T-shirts by
boylittle man didn't actually like. Why keep what family members don't like? That's dumb! Sort through with some input. It makes it easier to admit that something doesn't work for you or never worked for you.
- If you're having a hard time giving it away because you treasure it as a memento, then give yourself a day or a week to adjust mentally to the idea of letting it go. The trick is to not stash that bag away in the closet. You have to keep it in your living space being obtrusive. It has to remain in your eyesight and in your way until you get sick of it. Make the idea of giving it away more attractive than keeping it.
- Let go of the notion that someone else has to love and care for your donations exactly as you have. Yes, they might ruin or destroy what you've kept close to you. They might and you will have to remember that it doesn't mean they are bad people. They are simply people. You've probably not been careful with a few things that have been given to you.
- Of course, it's best to think considerately of who needs your donation the most. It's easiest to give to large, impersonal organizations in some kind of drop-off box. It's harder to look someone in the eyes and ask if they want what you used to own. Whoever ends up with your stuff is freeing you; you aren't doing them a favor because they are doing YOU a favor. Don't expect them to be undyingly grateful. Be thankful that you were able to unload your baggage that was weighing you down.
- Don't give garbage. As Muslims we are supposed to give the BEST of what we have, not the worst. If any of your items are in disrepair or dirty, then you have no business casting them onto someone else. Somethings really do need to get thrown out.
- When you give, it isn't all about the stuff; it's about giving with a kind heart. Find a way to really connect with a smile when you donate---even at the Salvation Army. Don't give without putting your heart into it; this isn't putting out the trash. Your goal is to let the blessings flow so do it in a gracious manner not like the lord of the castle bestowing from upon high.
- Thank God for what you had and ask God to forgive you for holding onto those things for too long. Ask to be free from the want of things and to be content with a cleaner life of less is more.
May Allah make giving this Ramadan easy on you and beneficial to those in your community.