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Giving secret charity is better unless superior benefit achieved by giving in public


Is it better to give money to someone secretly by hiding it in their purse or wallet or giving it to them personally so you can increase the love between you. Such as an elderly relative who greatly appreciates it.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

In principle, giving charity secretly is better than giving it publicly because concealing it is closer to sincerity; Allaah says (what means): {If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you.} [Quran 2:271] The scholars differed in opinion about whether this refers specifically to non-obligatory charity or to all charity (including Zakah). Ash-Shawkaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Fat'h Al-Qadeer: "The majority of the scholars are of the view that this verse refers to voluntary charity and not to the obligatory one because there is no virtue in hiding it; rather, it was said: giving the obligatory charity in public is better, but a group of scholars said: concealing is better in both obligatory and voluntary charity." [End of quote]

An authentic Hadeeth reads: "Charity given in secret extinguishes the wrath of the Lord." [At-Tabaraani - Al-Albaani graded it Saheeh (sound)]

Besides, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Allaah shades seven people on the day when there is no shade but His." He mentioned among them: a man who gives in charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] The scholars cited this as evidence for the superiority of charity given in secret to charity given in public, and they stated that concealing it is closer to sincerity and more removed from ostentation, and that it is less embarrassing to the poor.

However, some scholars said that this superiority to be general, but in some cases, public charity is better than the one given in secret. Ibn Al-‘Arabi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in Ahkaam Al-Quran: "As for the optional charity, the Quran has explicitly stated that it is better than the one given in public; however, our scholars said: this is in general and it differs depending on the circumstances of the giver and the receiver, as well as the people and the witnesses to it. If it is given in public, the giver has the benefit of demonstrating the Sunnah and the reward of setting a good example, and its disadvantages are ostentation and reminding people of favors that one does for them. As regards the receiver, charity given to him in secret is better for him so that the people will not disdain him or say that he has taken it without a need for it, and that he did not abstain from taking it. As regards the people, hiding it from them is better because they may condemn the giver of ostentation and condemn the receiver for taking without need for it; while its advantage to them is that it may encourage them to give in charity, but this is rare nowadays." [End of quote]

Imaam Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer: "The verse is evidence that giving charity in secret is better than in public because ostentation is avoided, unless giving it in public leads to a superior benefit, like if people will follow his example: in this case it is better, and the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: 'The one who recites the Quran aloud is like the one who gives charity in public, and the one who recites the Quran silently is like the one who gives charity in secret.' In principle, giving charity in secret is better based on the above verse." [End of quote]

Based on what Ibn Al-‘Arabi and Ibn Katheer said, it should be clear to you that since you have good intentions in giving your charity in public, then giving it in public may be better than concealing it. This is if you intend to cause your relatives to keep good family relations because of the love that occurs from it, and you do not intend that they praise you for giving charity to them. But you should be keen on blocking the doors to the devil and avoiding ostentation and conceit, as this nullifies the reward or decreases it.

Allaah Knows best.

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