The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.
FOR his every Sunday 'kuliah subuh' (early morning lesson) at a 'masjid' near my house, the ‘ustaz’ was discussing on the subject of ‘waqaf' (the Malay spelling is 'wakaf').
'Waqaf' means an endowment made by a Muslim to a religious, educational (one great example is the Al-Azhar University), or charitable cause. The Oxford-Fajar Dictionary defines ‘waqaf’ as something given (as a donation) for common use.
The 'ustaz' said there are many 'hikmah' (benefits) of 'waqaf'; among others it could bring one closer to Allah SWT, fulfills one wishes, give maximum opportunity to a Muslim to gain as much as possible rewards in the Hereafter and the 'pahala' (rewards) would 'flow forever', enable Muslims to embark projects beneficial for mankind and fulfills the needs of the poor.
To many Malays, the word ‘waqaf’ points to ‘tanah' or 'harta wakaf’ which means lands and buildings donated for religious use. For lands, they could be benefited such as for burial grounds and building of ‘masjids’ while buildings could be used as business identities of which monies derived from rents could be used to finance masjid's actitivities.
Giving up ones land for 'waqaf' needs 'a lot of sacrifice' for the love of the religion. This practice was common during our forefathers but nowadays when 'land is like gold-mine' (too expensive) it is hard to have 'tanah wakaf' or the public giving up their lands.
Well, giving away lands for religious purposes will be a good idea if the land can be utilized for the benefit of the society.
This is as according to the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, s.a.w.), narrated by Abu-Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him): ‘Allah’s Messenger s.a.w. said: “When the son of Adam dies no further reward is recorded for his actions, with three exceptions: charity whose benefit is continuous, knowledge from which benefit continues to be reaped, or the supplication of a righteous son (for him).” - Hadith Muslim
Well, 'waqaf' is one of the alternatives to which we could choose to donate our properties. There are several types of 'waqaf' with different management styles. Many Muslims want to do 'waqaf' but have no high valued properties such as land and building, but do not be despaired because we could do it in a very small scale.
Recently a representative of 'Rumah Bakti Al-Kausar, Bangi' (home for orphans) came over to my house, pleading me to book their 'waqaf' (land) which could be bought at RM30 per square foot. Yes with a few ringgits in hand, we could do the 'wakaf'.
Recently my mother handed to me RM400 in cash and asked if there were Islamic bodies nearby that could accept the money as 'waqaf'. I was not sure but anyway I took the money to the office of the 'majlis agama Islam negeri' (state Islamic religious council).
Yes, the state Islamic religious council was given the authority to collect cash 'waqaf'. Not only officials there accepted the RM400 cash for 'waqaf' but they told me the public can make small contributions for example RM10, RM50 or RM100 for 'waqaf'. This means that nowadays everybody can wakaf!
If we could not 'waqaf' valuable properties such as land and buildings, why not do it in a small scale even if they do not fall under the category of 'waqaf'. Readers of my column would notice that from time to time I had written suggestions that 'insha-Allah' (if Allah Wills) hopefully could open up our minds to do simple things that we hope to please Allah SWT and as our 'little and small contributions' to others.
In one article entitled 'Freeing ourselves from the burden of carrying coins', I encouraged readers to calculate a habit of putting away all our loose coins into donation boxes every time we do our shopping. The money is for 'simpanan selepas anda mati' (savings for your life in the Hereafter, or in crude language - savings for your life in your grave).
For example if you 'dump' a total of RM2 in the form of shillings in a day, in a month it would be RM60, in a year in would be RM720 and in 10 years it would be RM7,200 and in 20 years (before you die) it would be RM14,400 -- perhaps enough for you to buy a simple home just like the PPRT (Projek Rumah Rakyat Termiskin) house.
'Insha-Allah' your 'rumah PPRT' would be converted into a grand palace 'or to a larger scale' in Paradise (which is eternal) for Allah SWT says: "Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah shall be paid to you in full and you shall not be treated unjustly." (Qur'an 8:60)
Another 'project' readers could think to embark is by acting as though we have one more school going son or daughter whom we have to give he/she pocket money - but for this purpose you put that 'pocket money' say RM3 every 'subuh' (early morning) to the 'Tabung Masjid' (masjid donation box) each time we go the masjid for our 'subuh' prayers.
It is great to begin your day with a 'sadaqah' (giving donation) as there is a hadith on it: Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased on him) reported: The Prophet s.a.w. said: “Two angels descend every morning, and one says: ‘O Allah, give him who spends something, in place of what he spends.’ The other one says: ‘O Allah, give destruction to him who withholds”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
If you do that 'istiqamah' (consistently), in a month your 'acting son or daughter' ('tabung akhirat' - hereafter fund) would have RM90; in a year it would be RM1,080, in ten years it would be RM10,800 and in 20 years it would be RM21,600. Well, that amount in the eyes of some rich people may be small but if you are sincere it is big in the Eyes of Allah SWT if you do it sincerely.
Dear brothers and sisters, if you choose to donate nothing every morning (not even 10 sen); then I am afraid when you update your 'bank account of Tabung Akhirat' it would be nil (0) or 'had a negative figures' (for example you have borrowed money from someone but not repaid it), you would be 'panicked' as you have 'no money' to spend for 'your life in the Hereafter'!
In this world you would feel bad when you have no RM, American dollars, pound sterling and whatsoever then what would be like when 'you have nothing' in the Hereafter.
In this world you could borrowed money from relatives and friends or worst still beg in the streets but it the Hereafter, there is no help; if you want help from Allah SWT, do it in this world because the Hereafter is a place to reap harvest of our good deeds sowed on earth and not a place to say our repent to Allah SWT or obey His orders.
Remember that once we were 'thrown' inside our graves, there is no way we could return back - it was a one way ticket journey - we would face all consequences ourselves - so dear readers be equipped with all requirements before embarking on that 'no returning journey'.
If for a journey say to the United States for a month stay we readied the requirement such as passports and clothes months before, than whats are preparation for our 'never ending journey' of the Hereafter?
Well, why not prepared ourselves for 'that day' and one way to do it is by giving up our small amount of money, say RM10, RM30 or RM100 for 'waqaf' (for example in buying a square foot of land)...yes nowadays everybody can 'waqaf'.
But if you still do not have 'that money' (nothing to give) or 'too tight' (to hold on) to your money, think of other ways to please Allah SWT and his creatures such as smiling to our brothers, saying 'Assalamualaikum' for it is also a 'sadaqah'! And with 'your body' you still could 'sadaqah' for example you could give your hands in helping others!