You know that zakat, or charity, is the Third Pillar of Islam, a major teaching. Being charitable and providing for the needy are important features of the Muslim character. Why is charity so important?
The existence of countless starving, poor, hungry and destitute Muslims and non-Muslims in the world points to the need for this essential teaching to be put into practice. Affluent Muslims may not realize how their wealth could strengthen whole communities. Giving charity correctly is crucial to both the well-being of the needy as well as the ultimate happiness of the wealthy. The Prophet emphasized this principle repeatedly.
Several different categories of charity are defined in Islam, the two most important being zakat (obligatory charity) and sadaqa (voluntary charity). Zakat is a specific, standardized percentage of one’s extra wealth (over and above the necessities of life) that must be given to the poor and those in need. Sadaqa can be given to anyone in many forms including a smile, wise advice, or helping to build a Home or Masjid.
Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity. —- (Bukhari)
Another Hadith illustrates the importance of every part of a person’s body performing a charity:
A charity is due for every joint in each person on 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 up his belongings onto it, is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity. — (Al-Bukhari, Muslim)
INSPITE of all the contributions made to social causes, there is a huge gap between the demand of money from the needy and the amount donated by philanthropists. This probably, is the reason why the Government has given tax benefits on donations. The amount donated towards charity attracts deduction under section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Section 80G has been in the law book since financial year 1967-68.