Volunteerism

As-salámu ‘alaikum wa rahmatul láhi wa barakátuh!”
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem.  Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem.
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today our khutbah will be about volunteering as it is National Volunteering Week this week and it is important that we reflect upon the teachings of the Qur’an and examples set by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) concerning this humanitarian activity.

Firstly, what is meant by volunteering? Volunteering is an act of charity, giving without necessarily expecting or requesting something back in return. Whilst we all work hard to earn a living and support our families, it is an important part of being a good Muslim to help those who are in need and cannot afford to pay for any kind of services provided to them.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: “(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds.” – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524

We often forget that volunteering is an act of charity and that we should use our physical abilities to help as well as donate monetary support if able. Why has Allah (SWT) has blessed us with strong arms, legs and backs? To use them for his sake, to pray, to do good deeds and help brothers and sisters in times of need. You may not receive a wage or fee for your work, yet fear not, Allah (S.W.T ) will reward you inshallah with the best of rewards for your courteous actions.

“They ask you (O Muhammad) what they should spend in charity. Say: ‘Whatever you spend with a good heart, give it to parents, relatives, orphans, the helpless, and travellers in need. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it.'” – The Holy Quran, 2:215

As Muslims, our roles shouldn’t be limited to only completing the farz (obligatory) pillars of Islam such as praying, fasting, and paying zakat. In Islam, we are encouraged to become proactive citizens in our communities and improve the environments we live in. This can be done by helping a child learn to read, visiting the needy and elderly, helping at a charitable organisation, supporting relief agencies, feeding the hungry and visiting the sick. These voluntary actions should not be limited only to Muslim people and organisations; they should be extended to the broader non-Muslim public too. A Muslim should see himself as part of a community and should strive to implement whatever good he can to improve the quality of life in that area.

There is a persistent notion that volunteering is done by people who do not have a job and have lots of spare time. Their hard work is often overlooked and not appreciated. This is far from the truth. Many people fail to realise that it is through the perseverance and dedication of all kinds of volunteers that many community services are built and run. Some local magazines and newspapers, youth services and schools are also largely run by volunteers. It is because of these people that so many of the services we take for granted are available.

It is also important to note that volunteering should be prioritised and not seen as something secondary and therefore not that important. When this happens, efforts put into volunteering work are reduced and volunteers are demoralised. Instead, think of how much you are pleasing Allah (SWT) by all of the voluntary work you are doing. Intention is absolutely key and if you intend to do something for HIS sake you will see the fruits of your labour both in this lifetime and in the hereafter, inshallah.

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