Published in February 2017, Being Big-Hearted is our newest addition to the Noor Kids books for Muslim children that are 4-to-8 year old. We’re on a mission to create the highest quality resources for Islamic education in the world. I believe that this title on generosity is just that. Credit is due to our extraordinary team of creative, educational, and scholarly experts based in North America.
“Be generous as Allah (SWT) is generous to you.” — Qur’an 28:77
Also called “openhandedness” or “big-heartedness,” generosity is one of the highest virtues in Islam. Giving generously from one’s own blessings is so beloved to Allah (SWT) that it’s often mentioned with prayer. But to be generous doesn’t mean giving simply because it is required by law as in zakat. Nor does it mean giving something that is no longer desired or useful. Rather, generosity lies in giving freely from the things we love and need. As Allah (SWT) says, “You will not attain goodness until you give from that which you love; and whatever thing you spend, God knows of it” (3:92).
Giving Out of What We Love
In this book, we highlight two important lessons connected to this virtue. Firstly, generosity is a tangible manifestation of sacrifice, since this giving nature reflects selfless service and detachment from dunya. Someone who is jawaad, or generous, commiserates with those in need, saves them from the embarrassment of asking for help, and eagerly strives to alleviate their suffering. Through sharing our blessings, we can distance ourselves from worldliness and develop closeness to Allah (SWT), while perfecting our character. In the first story, Giving in Goodness, Amin exhibits this level of generosity when he discovers that Amira is unable to afford certain things.
Giving for the Sake of God
Second, when we give, our intention must be “qurbatan ila Allah,” for God’s sake. If we don’t give with that sincere intention, our good act turns into the opposite vice, riya’, or displaying our deeds for praise and recognition. Riya’ is one of the most spiritually dangerous diseases because it makes us focus on earning appreciation from people rather than seeking God’s favor. We must remember that reward from Allah (SWT) is much greater than reward from people. In Show-off Shireen, our second story, Shireen learns this crucial lesson when she becomes boastful after doing a good deed, realizing that she must guard her intentions even when committing the most generous of acts.
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