English: Happiness in Giving

Halimatus Saadiah / April 15, 2018, 22:04:28 pm

Nowadays, we are surrounded by people who are willing to give their time and sacrifice things that they own to contribute in making lives of the less fortunate people better. If not all, there are a lot of them that strive to do so.


People in higher authorities are putting their efforts to make the nations a better place to live by the masses. The volunteers are giving their time and money to help people who suffered from poverty. Through the acts of giving that these people did, it has spread kindness and also the inspiration for us to do the same thing.


Giving is a noble action that can be done by anyone. We can give various things such as money, time and even our knowledge. Also, giving has always been associated with the intention to make other people happy. But without realizing it, it provides happiness for the giver as well.


Giving does not decrease


We might feel scared thinking that if we give, we will be left with plenty in hand.  We may feel reluctant to donate or spend our money to help unfortunate people because we might end up with very little to no amount in feeding our needs. We may think twice before giving our time helping people who seek our help because we thought we might not be able to use it for our personal means.


But in fact, the more we give, the more we will receive. It is because anything that is value in life only multiplies when it is given. If through the act of giving makes us feel you have lost something, then we might not have truly given it.


Because giving will give us glimpses of love, joy and other positive feelings that we desire to get in our lives. Without realizing it, each of us has been trying to give because we know giving allows us to get the kind of happiness that no one can ever steal from us. We might assume that permanent joy can result from giving away last bits of money that we have. However, quality overweighs quality because permanent happiness results when you give without expecting returns.


Quality over quantity


I remembered a friend of mine shared her Macroeconomics perspective towards why humans weigh too much on the quantitative side while making judgments in act of giving. Theoretically, the Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) describes how much proportion of your income you are willing to spend on your goods or services. To relate this to our context, MPC would determine how much proportion of your income you are willing to spend as a mean of performing good deeds.


Putting this into an example, in a fund collection for improvising a mosque’s facilities, a person with high income donated RM1,000 out of his salary of RM10,000 which brought out an MPC of 0.1. On the other hand, a low-income person with a salary of RM500 has spent RM100 for the donation. This resulted in an MPC of 0.5. From the results, it was obvious that the latter has higher MPC which implies higher proportion of money spent on that salary that he earned.


The wealthy person might become well-known amongst other people due to his huge donation. But however, the person with lower income has spent the higher proportion of his income for the donation. He could have struggled a lot more to donate such amount due to the financial constraint that he had faced.


Of course, we never know which one would be more blessed and accepted by Allah. The richer person could have felt more difficult to give away such amount because of his personal struggle to do charity. Although between RM1,000 and RM100 makes a huge difference, we cannot simply judge based on the quantity only. It is the quality that brings greater satisfaction for the giver.


We can perform our act of giving so many things such as giving our money or time, but giving our knowledge is one of the easiest action that we can do. Although the term ‘give’ is used, it actually brings a definition of sharing our knowledge. And thus, it does not lessen the amount of knowledge that we have at all.


Intention of giving


The thing that is going to be evaluated first when we give is the intention behind the giving itself. It primarily determines whether it is blessed and acceptable by Allah. The Prophet Muhammad S.A.W even narrated about the importance of the intent behind every action;


“(The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it. A person will be rewarded only for what he intended…” (Sahih Muslim)


With right intentions for every action that we commit, it can help transform those actions into a form of ‘ibadah’ for us. Currently, we live in the world that demands a lot of our time on studying, working and contributing to others’ lives. Therefore, it is important for us to make our actions, not just a means of obtaining ‘rizq’, but a part of our ‘ibadah’ as well. With this, we can portray our values of Islam that do not separate worldly matters from our daily actions as what the secular world proposes.


People have different struggles to give especially giving away something that they love, something they wish to keep it forever with themselves.


But indeed, through the act of giving, we are also showing our gratitude towards everything Allah has provided us with. Because of His permission, we could gain so much from our competencies, our capabilities that are given by Him. And He has promised that,


“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ “(Ibrahim:7)


Allah made His pledge to suffice our needs if we always feel grateful for His blessings. How to show that we are grateful? It is by giving what we have been blessed with to people around us. By sharing things that we own, it might help the receiver to find their happiness from it.

There is a quote from an old Chinese proverb that says; “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” And truly, nothing is more meaningful than giving to make other people’s lives full of laughter and happiness.