It is said there are Five Pillars of Islam: Shahada, the profession of belief in the One God (Allah) and His Messenger (Muhammad); Salah, prayer; Zakat, charity; Fasting during Ramadan; and Hajj, the Pilgrimage to Mecca.
When I accepted the Teaching of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, we had a wonderful Secretary at Muhammad Mosque No. 26 in San Francisco.
Brother Harold 2X would always teach us on Charity. “Charity is second only to Prayer,” Brother Harold would say again and again. Charity is second only to Prayer.
That means that Charity is a very important part of being a true Muslim and that the only thing more important than charity to a Muslim believer, is prayer.
Years later, I met a very special woman in Islam, first in Chicago at Saviour’s Day, and then I got to visit her with a mutual friend in her home in Boston, and finally I got to know how wonderful and wise she was in the home of her son in Chicago.
She was Mother Maryam Farrakhan, the beloved Mother of the Nation of Islam leader, and deservedly, a “Mother of The Faithful” in the Nation of Islam.
Mother Farrakhan taught me that we all can always find something to give in charity no matter how modest may be our means. She said she had once been on welfare. After her youngest son (the Minister) graduated from high school, she said she went down to the Welfare Office and told them to take her name off the roll. “I can take it from here,” she said.
But while she was on welfare, she said, she took in laundry—washing and ironing. With her meager earnings from doing the laundry of others, she paid for music lessons—piano for Alvan and violin for Louis—for her sons, saved a few pennies, and managed to give something to the church offering.
“No matter how little you get,” she would say, “you can always put a little something aside.”
Be a cheerful giver.
Charity in Islam is second only to Prayer.