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Between Fulfillment of Vows and Charity Donations

Between Fulfillment of Vows and Charity Donations

Published in April 30, 2018

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy



 We have received this question via email; we quote part of the message containing the question followed by our reply.

 (... When I suffered a certain crisis in my life, I made a vow to God that if He delivers me, I'll donate a large sum of money as charity donations to the poor for His sake ... Indeed, I was delivered and I gave such a sum to impecunious relatives of mine because I love them and I know the deserve financial help; yet, my father tells me I'm in the wrong, because charity donations to relatives differ from vows and I should give money to those poor ones whom I never know ... Shall I fulfill my vow by giving money to the poor whom I do not know? What do you think?  I and my father enjoy reading your Quranism website archive and learn Islam from it ... Please provide me with your view without mentioning my name ... Thank you ...).




Firstly: a brief response:

1- Of course, paying charity donations differs from making vows to the Lord God, as per this Quranic verse: "Whatever charity you give, or a vow you fulfill, God knows it. The unjust ones have no helpers." (2:270).

2- Paying charity donations is divided into two types as follows.

2/1: Striving with money is a type of jihad for God's sake and serving His cause within the two fields of self-defense fighting and the call to (or preaching) Islam, as per these Quranic verses: "Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you." (47:38); "Believe in God and His Messenger, and spend from what He made you inherit. Those among you who believe and give will have a great reward. What is the matter with you that you do not believe in God, when the Messenger calls you to believe in your Lord, and He has received a pledge from you, if you are believers?" (57:7-8); "And why is it that you do not spend in the cause of God, when to God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who contributed before the conquest, and fought. Those are higher in rank than those who contributed afterwards, and fought. But God promises both a good reward. God is Well Experienced in what you do. Who is he who will lend God a loan of goodness, that He may double it for him, and will have a generous reward?" (57:10-11); "And spend in the cause of God, and do not throw yourselves with your own hands into ruin, and be charitable. God loves the charitable ones." (2:195).

2/2: Paying charity donations to the poor and the needy; this type is also subdivided into two types as follows.

2/2/1: Individual alms/Zakat paid by a person to those needy ones whom he/she knows as per this Quranic verse: "They ask you what they should give. Say, "Whatever charity you give is for the parents, and the relatives, and the orphans, and the poor, and the wayfarer. Whatever good you do, God is aware of it." (2:215).

2/2/2: Zakat/alms money collected officially by any given Quran-based country of State and those collectors of it have a rightful share of this money and other categories have their own shares: "Charities are for the poor, and the destitute, and those who administer them, and for reconciling hearts, and for freeing slaves, and for those in debt, and in the path of God, and for the traveler in need - an obligation from God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise." (9:60).  

3- The pious ones must pay zakat charity every time when any income or sum of money is earned: "Those who believe in the unseen, and perform the prayers, and give from what We have provided for them." (2:3); "...and give its due on the day of its harvest..." (6:141).

4- As for making vows to God, the vows are not confined to giving money or gifts to the poor; one may vow to perform extra prayers, days of fasting, or pilgrimage  or vow to participate in charity works and specify time and efforts within certain charitable activities.   

5- Of course, vows are personal responsibility and a type of obligation made voluntarily by someone towards Almighty God. Hence, when one makes a vow to God, one must fulfill it, or else, one is sinner. 

6- Since you vowed to dedicate a sum of money for God's sake when your problem is solved, you seeking to satisfy and gratify God should be without personal whims or desires. Your poor relatives have the right of individual alms/donations, but money of vows must reach the most impecunious and neediest persons, especially the chronically ill and the diseased, whether they are your relatives or not. There are thousands of the neediest people around you; e.g., those who eat leftovers from garbage bins and sleep in the streets because they are homeless and those impecunious with chronic ailments and find no mercy (and no room) inside public hospitals. Do not forget that God the Omniscient Lord knows what you do; not fulfilling thee vows is a grave sin committed by the unjust ones: "Whatever charity you give, or a vow you fulfill, God knows it. The unjust ones have no helpers." (2:270).     


Secondly: making vows to God in the eras before the descent/revelation of the Quran:

1- Both sons of Adam made vows to offer oblation to God; the one whose offering was rejected (because of his impiety) envied the one whose offering was accepted (because of his piety) and killed him; the first murder in human history occurred because of vows of offerings: "And relate to them the true story of Adam's two sons: when they offered an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but it was not accepted from the other. He Said, "I will kill you." He Said, "God accepts only from the pious ones."" (5:27).

2- The pregnant wife of Imran vowed to dedicate her child (i.e., Mary) to God and implored Him to accept her vow: "The wife of Imran said, "My Lord, I have vowed to You what is in my womb, dedicated, so accept from me; You are the Hearer and Knower." And when she delivered her, she said, "My Lord, I have delivered a female," and God was well aware of what she has delivered, "and the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and have commended her and her descendants to Your protection, from Satan the outcast."" (3:35-36).

3- As per God's Will, Mary miraculously gave birth to Jesus Christ without having a husband; she was told to observe a vow of silence and fasting for God's sake: ""So eat, and drink, and be consoled. And if you see any human, say, 'I have vowed a fast to the Dominant Lord, so I will not speak to any human today.'"" (19:26).


Thirdly: Quranic sharia laws about making vows:

1- Vows are made on one's own free will and it is obligatory to fulfill it out of respect and devotion to God, whether the vow is linked to deliverance out of crises or not (i.e., to vow to donate something for God's sake at a specific time with no crises involved).

2- Fulfilling vows, as well as paying charity donations, is part of the traits of the pious ones: "But the righteous will drink from a cup whose mixture is aroma. A spring from which the servants of God will drink, making it gush abundantly. They fulfill their vows, and dread a Day whose ill is widespread. And they feed, for the love of Him, the poor, and the orphan, and the captive. "We only feed you for the sake of God. We want from you neither compensation, nor gratitude. We dread from our Lord a frowning grim Day."" (76:5-10).

3- Disregarding vows by never fulfilling them is a grave sin, because in this case, one breaks a promise made to the Lord God; hence, if one makes a vow to donate a large sum if God grants his/her wish and then one disregards fulfilling the vow, one is a hypocrite who will enter into Hell in case of non-repentance before one's death; this occurred to some of the so-called companions during Muhammad's lifetime and they died as unrepentant hypocrites; God mentions this about them to warn all believers in all eras: "Among them are those who promised God: "If He gives us of His bounty, we will donate and be among the upright." But when He has given them of His bounty, they became stingy with it, and turned away in aversion. So He penalized them with hypocrisy in their hearts, until the Day they face Him - because they broke their promise to God, and because they used to lie. Do they not know that God knows their secrets and their conspiracies? And that God is the Knower of the unseen?" (9:75-78).

4- It is a prohibited thing to make a vow involving committing sins or violating prohibitions mentioned in the Quran; vows are originally oblations/offerings made by the pious believers to please and gratify the Lord.

4/1: Vows must involve obeying the Lord God and not about making evil deeds, committing sins, or harming anyone.

4/2: Vows must be entirely dedicated to the Lord God; i.e., one must never make a religious vow offered to entombed 'saints' in mausoleums because this is sheer polytheism; besides, one must never fabricate legislations about vows as per one's whims and never to ascribe them to God's Religion.

Vows made within earthly religion:

 Disbelief in terms of faith notions/tenets is divided into two types: knowledge disbelief (i.e., to fabricate legislations, books, and hadiths/narratives to ascribe them falsely to religious knowledge) and practical disbelief (i.e., polytheistic customs, rites, and acts of worship that apply the knowledge disbelief). Therefore, the Sunnite/Sunnite books of hadiths and fiqh and the Sufi books of myths about 'saints' are part of the knowledge disbelief, whereas performing pilgrimage to 'holy' mausoleums sanctified by the Muhammadans and slaughtering animals as offerings there are part of the practical disbelief. Before the emergence of the Muhammadans, the earthly religions of human beings witnessed both types of disbelief regarding the topic of vows. We provide examples from the Quran in the points below.

1- These points are about vows made within knowledge disbelief by fabricating lies and legislations and ascribing them to God's Religion.

1/1: Some disbelievers among the People of the Book ascribed lies to God by saying that God has imposed on them a covenant/vow never to accept any message of any prophets/messengers unless these prophets/messengers would make offerings consumed at once by fire coming from the sky. God refutes their fabrications here: "Those who said, "God has made a covenant with us, that we shall not believe in any messenger unless he brings us an offering to be consumed by fire." Say, "Messengers have come to you before me with proofs, and with what you asked for; so why did you assassinate them, if you are truthful?"" (3:183).

1/2: These points are about legislations fabricated by Arabs in Arabia before the descent/revelation of the Quran.

1/2/1: They murdered their children as sacrifices offered to their allies/gods within Satanist/devilish sharia laws: "Likewise, their idols entice many idolaters to kill their children, in order to lead them to their ruin, and confuse them in their religion. Had God willed, they would not have done it; so leave them to their fraud." (6:137).

1/2/2: They prohibited and permitted items about vows of sacrificed animals and ascribed their fabrications (and names of animal offerings) falsely to God's Religion: "Inform the hypocrites that they will have a painful torment. Those who ally themselves with the disbelievers instead of the believers. Do they seek glory in them? All glory belongs to God." (4:138-139); "God did not institute the superstitions of Bahirah, Saibah, Wasilah, or of Hami; but those who disbelieve fabricate lies about God-most of them do not understand." (5:103).

2- These points are about vows made within practical disbelief by presenting offerings to mausoleums of saints/gods/allies.

2/1: Those polytheists will feel disgrace and sorrow on the Last Day as their saints/allies/gods (to whom offerings were presented and vows were made) will let them down: "Why then did the deities, whom they worshiped within offerings as means of nearness to God, not help them? In fact, they abandoned them. It was their lie, a fabrication of their own making." (46:28). This includes all those who followed the earthly religions and their clergymen who consume ill-gotten money and prohibited food items offered at (and animals slaughtered at) the mausoleums, temples, and other similar abominations. 

2/2: Among them were Arab disbelievers during Muhammad's lifetime after the descent/revelation of the Quran; they used to make vows to God and to deities/saints/allies which they worshiped alongside with Him; they offered sacrifices and oblations (as fulfillment of vows) to the mausoleums as fulfillment of vows, as if this polytheism will get them nearer to God: "Is not to God that devoted religion is due? As for those who take allies besides Him, "We only worship them that they may bring us nearer to God." God will judge between them regarding their differences. God does not guide the disbelieving liars." (39:3); "And they set aside for God a share of the crops and the livestock He created, and they say, "This is for God," according to their claim, "and this is for our allies." But the share of their allies does not reach God, yet the share of God reaches their allies. Evil is their judgment." (6:136).

2/3: The Muhammadans are polytheists who repeat the same sins; i.e., Sufis and Shiites make vows to present offerings to 'holy' mausoleums from the earnings/provisions given to them by God; they never realize that they worship dust (of a human corpse) or even empty tombs; they disregard the poor and the needy who deserve help, food, and alms/Zakat. The Sunnites pay donations to build mosques and never ask about those who collect such money and if he mosques are built or not; they never know where this money is going; they pay it blindly under Salafist/Wahabi mottoes; such money may be used to buy weapons to commit terrorist crimes that massacre the innocent ones. The following verse applies to such Sufi, Shiite, and Sunnite Muhammadans: "And they allocate, to something they do not know, a share of what We have provided for them. By God, you will be questioned about what you have been inventing." (16:56).     

2/4: Furthermore, the Muhammadans slaughter sacrificed animals in festivals/feasts (within many days annually) while worshiping at the abominations known as sanctified mausoleums, where they perform pilgrimage and they consume such prohibited food: "Prohibited for you are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and animals dedicated to other than God...and animals sacrificed at mausoleums...for it is sinful..." (5:3). They make such sins as part of their religion and they make bloodbaths as part of it as well; yet, they prohibit food items made by the People of the Book, though the Quran allows them: "Today all good things are made lawful for you. And the food of the  People of the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them..." (5:5).   

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