Generosity of Spirit

October 4, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In my younger years, whenever I walked down a street, beggars would let a hundred people pass and unerringly come right up to me, no matter how much I scowled or tried to look uninterested. What did they see in me, these ragged men and women who could read faces so well? Perhaps I looked like a soft touch, an easy mark, a sucker, a fool who was easily parted with his money. Invariably I would give them a few coins, resenting it all the while. Did they use it to buy alcohol, drugs, food? I was deeply suspicious of the cause of their poverty, and felt robbed of both money and pride.

What a fool I truly was, and feel rightly ashamed of such a miserly spirit, which made me the greater beggar. After many years on the Path of Love, I have learned this at least; the giving of zakat for Eid, or of charity in general, is either from generosity of spirit or it is nothing. God alone is the judge of another’s heart or intention.

As the Master says in the Sufi novel, Master of the Jinn:

“The generous heart always has enough to give. It is the miserly in spirit who believe they never have enough to be generous. It is not lack of possessions that leads to spiritual poverty, nor prayer and fasting by themselves. It is in the abandonment of self-absorption, and in constant remembrance and reflection that the heart becomes detached. Then the hands gladly open their grasp on worldly things and cleave to God.”

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to God than a worshipper who is miserly.” – (Al-Tirmidhi )

May Allah bless you all with generosity of spirit, whose foundation is Love, and whose Source is the Most Loving, the Most Generous. Amin.

Ya Haqq!