Give and you shall receive
Apr 21, 2017- When you ask somebody what his or her religion is, you get answers like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian and so on. Religion is a grouping of people living in a community having certain common elements. People of different religions follow different sacred books, norms, values and customs, and their activities are shaped accordingly. But despite the great diversity in customs and cultures, charity is something that unites all religions. Charity is all about helping people in need. Charity and good deeds are major pillars of all religions. Charity creates ‘unity in diversity’ and it is the only thing in common among the various religions in the world.
People today are materialistic; they are forgetting their religious values and running after money. They just want to earn more and more money even though they may be causing pain and misery to the poor in the form of labour exploitation. Due to the selfish behaviour of people, the gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. Religion teaches that this is wrong. Everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy the wealth that God’s world has to offer.
Sikh teachings say that wealth is only acceptable if it is used for other people such as giving them work or food. It is the responsibility of the rich to look after the poor. The Quran emphasises feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and helping those in need. The more one helps others, the more God helps the person; the more one gives to others, the more God gives to the person. ‘Zakat’ is a form of charity among Muslims in which an annual contribution of 2.5 percent of an individual’s wealth in the form of gold, silver, money, livestock, agricultural produce or business commodities are distributed among those in need. Zakat is considered to purify one’s heart of greed. ‘Langar’ is a form of charity among Sikhs in which food is prepared by equal contribution and effort and served in the Gurudwara. ‘Sadhsangat’ is a practice where people not only contribute financially but also give their time and energy to help the needy in the community.
Likewise,’Dana’ is a form of charity in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. ‘Tzedakah’ is a form of contribution in Judaism in which 10 percent of the income is allocated to righteous deeds. It can be summed up that acts of charity and contributions to the welfare of the needy are uniting all religions into one. Such activities show that instead of being from different religions, we are all human beings. If someone asks you what your religion is, the only answer should be ‘helping those in need’.
- SURESH MISHRA
Published: 21-04-2017 07:44