بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ كَذَلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, “In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they should spend. Say, “The excess [beyond needs].” Thus Allah makes clear to you the verses [of revelation] that you might give thought.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):219]
What do I have extra or surplus? Do I hoard it or do I spend it freely?
When I was thinking about this question, two things (other than the obvious ‘wealth’) came to mind: time and skills.Rather than spending one’s time on oneself or doing what one wanted to do, if one could spend that time helping others out so that others could get the free time to do good deeds, it would have much more beneficial results. This weekend, I did not really help my mother as much as I should have, and I realized that had I helped her in her work, perhaps she could have gotten the time to spend on listening to a lecture, or reading the Qur’an, or in strengthening the bonds of kinship, or even in recovering her health. One should definitely spend their time and their skills in helping others out and giving them time, such as helping the community by educating those around you of Islam, by making donations to a hospital, by visiting family members and helping them in their problems etc. but one interesting aspect that I had not considered beforehand is that if you help someone fulfill their obligations, it gives that someone more time to do ibaadah (worship) or to do other acts of goodness as well, thus enabling the spread of khair (good).