Every part of a person’s body must perform a charity every day the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting his belongings onto it is a charity; a good word is a charity; every step you take to prayer is charity, and removing a harmful thing from the road is charity.
~(Hadeeth, Bukhari, and Muslim, taken from, ‘The 200 Hadeeth,’ selected and compiled by Abdul Alfahim).
This is a ‘hadeeth,’ which is over 1400 years old. The word hadeeth is an Arabic word, which means, ‘story’ or ‘saying’. They are based on things the Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him) said, or did.
Notice that it says: even someone in physical shape, who is well enough to ride a horse, is eligible for charity, or, to be helped. So, charity is not reserved for the poor, feeble, or needy. It is to be given to everyone.
This hadeeth also mentions that making peace between people is a form of charity. I know I feel good whenever I help people who are in a disagreement.
How do you feel when you GIVE a gift or HELP someone? You feel happy. This sounds like not only a reward but a big shot of dopamine.
To me, this is a huge revelation. First, it is a sign that our Creator is Perfection, Merciful, Loving, and Beneficent. We were created in a way that we get a surge of happiness when we are charitable? That is genius.
I was raised to be polite; to think of others. Being kind was something I learned as a child. I’m sure I’ve never thought, ‘oh, I’m going to help this person, so I will feel good.’ I think I’ve known psychologically that having a benevolent attitude feels right and is morally sound but what I’ve discovered here is something else. Being benevolent is physiologically beneficial.
I can’t think of a better gift than receiving the feeling of happiness and well-being. I’d rather have happiness than any material thing. How about you?
“Do not consider even the smallest good deed as insignificant; even meeting your brother with a cheerful face (smiling) is a good deed.” (Muslim).
As you might know, recent scientific studies have proven that smiling activates neural messaging that benefits our health and level of happiness. These ‘happy’ inducing neurotransmitters—such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin—are all released the moment you smile. This relaxes your body, and it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. (Psychology Today July 12, 2012,)
We’ve also recently discovered that smiling is contagious or mirrored back. Imagine everyone being more charitable. Imagine everyone smiling more. Wouldn’t it be a perfect world?
Charity then, has magical qualities. It is something our Creator asked from us, and it is good for us. And, guess what? Other hadeeth tells us that giving charity to OUR family members is doubly rewarded. Does this mean a double shot of feel-good hormones to the brain? I don’t know.
So, when you go home today try smiling when you walk through the door. Try helping out whoever you live with and get back to me on it okay?