Believe it or not, we learn to be generous and giving when we have less, rather than more. The notion of “having more means that we have more to lose” still loiters among some people. Hence why we have a tendency to resolutely cling to our worldly possessions because we’re afraid of losing them. Ever so often, when we’re given sustenance and provision, we tell ourselves that we earn it and that we need to reap the rewards of our hard work, sweat and day-to-day efforts in managing our own finances. To a great extent, that is true. Treating ourselves is not always frivolous, sometimes we need it.

However, there are also times when we indulge overly and excessively, more than we can afford to. This kind of attitude can somehow hold us back from practising generosity. But this is where finding and achieving a balanced lifestyle becomes essential. Not earning a steady income or not having ample money in your bank account does not necessarily mean you can’t do good. While we carry ourselves every day in this beautifully frenzied world, here are some ways you can give to others without spending so much money:

  1. Teach the Al-Quran. If you are able to fluently recite the Quran, share that knowledge to those who have difficulty in reading the holy book. Enlighten and guide them: from learning the basic alphabets to reading with the right pronunciations. Devote your time and knowledge by performing such righteous deeds out of sincerity. This is just one of the numerous ways we can do to chase the benefits, virtues and rewards in this life and the Hereafter.
  2. Teach someone how to swim without expecting them to pay. Swimming is one of the life skills that we should all strive to master. In the words of Umar ibn al-Khattab: “Teach your children swimming, archery, and the riding of horses.” I’m sure there are many out there who wish to learn how to swim. I am one of them. It is a fundamental flair we all need to pick up for several reasons. Not only is it an excellent workout, it’s an essential life-saving skill in case a certain kind of disaster strikes.
  3. Take care of stray animals. My utmost love and respect go to the compassionate people who treat stray animals with warmth and affection. Often times, when I roam around our local shops, I would find hungry cats and dogs, scavenging for discarded food, looking for shelter especially when the weather is bad. Truthfully, it’s heart-rending to watch. So help protect the strays ― feed them with food and water or, better yet, rescue and adopt a stray animal that’s in need of a home. There’s no truer friend than a family pet!
  4. Volunteer and join charity drives. Volunteering is a painless and honourable way to give back to the society. In fact, there are plenty of reasons as to why people volunteer. Doing this allows you to open up your heart and mind, and a lot of times, also unlocks the key to the door of opportunity, both personally and professionally. Here’s your chance to take a step forward, give back and make a difference!
  5. Listen. From time to time, it’s inevitable for us to feel so low in life. All we need to do is vent, talk it out and let it off our chest. It’s not a matter of how strong or vulnerable we are. Sometimes just talking about our problems and having someone there to listen is heart-warming. We’re not weak, we’re just… humans. No matter how cheery someone may seem on the outside, they may be fighting their own silent battles. So do our part by lending an ear to those in need, because that’s what they need the most.
  6. Waqaf. This refers to a sadaqah, a voluntary charitable endowment, from one’s personal belongings or wealth in the form of cash or item for shariah compliant causes only. Some examples of waqaf include donating wheelchairs to hospitals, giving telkung (women’s prayer robe), Al-Quran or sajada (prayer mat), providing portable fans or air-conditioners to mosques or any institutions, just to name a few. It is promised that the rewards for waqaf shall carry on for as long as the waqaf is still being used by the community. So before we decide to give waqaf, be sure to purify and refresh our intentions.

As we open our hearts to the possibility of giving, other doors open for us to give in ways we can never think of. When we give more and we’re kind to others, we lose absolutely nothing because good will always find its way back to you. Here’s to practising one small act of kindness at a time.