My father’s ‘charity cover’ as he called it, was opened generously to anyone in need, irrespective of religion, caste or community,
One of the positive things that I remember about my late parents was their habit of budgeting their money in a book, with a record of ‘charity money’ too. I remember my father writing, on the first of every month, two columns, of income and expenses. It was the usual water bill, electricity bill, groceries etc., but there was also money kept as charity money (sadaqah). While I do not remember the amount he allocated each month for charity, this practice of his continued till the end of his life. At 86, when my father passed away, he had taken out some money from the ‘charity cover’, as he called it, as a contribution to a young girl from a village whom I knew and had given it to me when I mentioned to him about her needs.
My father’s ‘charity cover’ was opened generously to anyone in need, irrespective of religion, caste or community, be it a poor vegetable-seller or a patient for their medical expenses.
Observing my father maintaining his ‘charity cover’ over the years, I found the practice very spiritually enriching. It taught me that while we spend on ourselves for various things like food, clothes and what not, we also need to think of those in need and allocate a certain sum out of our earnings for them. I thank my father who used to tell me that every time I received my salary, I should take out a certain sum from it as charity. ‘There will be barkat (blessings)’ in that, he would say.
There were times when I would fall sick and my father would say to me, ‘Take out some money even it is 20 rupees as sadaqah from your earnings and give it away.’ He would also take out sadaqah in my name for God’s pleasure. His belief was that charity cleanses a person spiritually, and their earnings too.
Despite their humble earnings, my parents made it a point to take out ‘charity money’ and keep it apart for people whom they encountered who needed it. When I began following this practice, there were times when, to be honest, I would worry that the small amount I had taken out could have fetched me a new pair of earrings! But over the years, as I kept up with the practice, it brought me immense peace. Today, when I take out a small amount for the ‘charity cover’, I do this in the name of my late parents, from whom I learnt this beautiful practice. May God bless them with peace!