In the Name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate
The Ring of Charity
Commander of Believers’ Donation to His Ring in Alms While Performing His Prayer
On the twenty fourth Zul Hija is the anniversary of Commander of Believers’ donation to his ring in alms while performing his prayers when the verse of Wilaya (guardianship) was revealed and inspired, “Your guardian is (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity while bowing down humbly (in worship). As to those who sustain to the Command of Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.”
Discourse in this verse restrict guardianship in three entities: “Allah, the Messenger of Allah and those who believe…” Allah has honored the one who performed alms and charity and spoke about him in the plural form and also honored those who would take him a guardian after Allah and His Messenger and called them Hezbollah (the fellowship of believers) and described them to be ‘victorious’.
The Story of the Verse
Many anecdotes are reported about the last two verses and they were inspired in Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb (PBUH) when he gave away his ring as an alms. Companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) reported this incident. On top of those who reported this incident was Abi Zar Al Ghaffari who insisted on publishing this holy story since he believed that it was one of the greatest values and virtues which Allah wanted to be as immortal as the Holy Qur’an. Abi Zar Al Ghaffari says, “Once, I was praying the second prayers with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and a poor man was begging for charity but no one gave him anything. So the pauper raised his hands up to the sky and said, ‘O Lord! Be my witness that I have asked for charity in the Mosque of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and no one gave me anything.’ Ali was bowing in his prayers (performing Ruku’a), so he indicated to his right ring finger and pauper came and took the ring. All that occurred while the the Messenger of Allah was watching what was going on, and when he finished his prayers, he raised his head up to heaven and said, [‘O Lord! Moussa (Moses) has asked you: “O my Lord! expand me my breast; Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, So they may understand what I say: And give me a Minister from my family, Aaron, my brother; Add to my strength through him, And make him share my task:…” and you Lord answered his calls and said: We shall support you with your brother and shall give you strength so that they would not reach you…’ O Lord! And I am Mohamad your Messenger and Selected One. O Lord! Expand me my breast; Ease my task for me; And give me a Minister from my family, Ali, my brother; Add to my strength through him, And make him share my task:…]
Abi Zar added that as soon as the Messenger of Allah finished these words, Jibraiel (Gabriel) came down and said, “O Mohamad! Read! [Your guardian is (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity while bowing down humbly (in worship). As to those who sustain to the Command of Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers,- it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.]”
Importance of Alms
The revelation of the guardian verse in the incident of performing alms of the Commander of Believers surely indicates the greatest importance and value of alms in Islam in which many hadith are reported. Such hadith indicated the significance of the same. The Messenger of Allah says, “Alms falls into the Hands of Allah before it falls in the hand of the taker,” and “Alms extinguishes the Rage of the Lord,” and “It is the best remedy for ailments and calamities.” And as He (PBUH) assured, it is the reason for bringing down bread and living, curing the sick and mercy for the dead. It also has great traces and effects as Imam Al Sadek (PBUH) said, “Alms defies terrible death and seventy kinds of ordeals,” and “The land of the Day of Judgment is hell, except the shadow of a believer; his alms shadow him.”
Alms between Value and Loyalty
The revelation of the verse after the Commander of the Believers’ donation of his ring underlines the significance of giving alms. However, the real significance and importance is not for the same action itself. It is for the spiritual background that made Imam Ali (PBUH) give away his ring in as an alms. This is what has never been understood by some of people who were living then. They were surprised by the revelation of the verse after the Imam’s donation. Some even said, “I gave my ring while I am praying for forty times so that a verse is revealed in my favor as the same happened to the Commander of Believers, but none of the same happened.” Those people never realized that Allah Almighty does not look at the deed itself or its quantity but to the loyalty and sincerity this deed has come from which is for the sake of Allah.
Eventually, Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds.