Sometimes the benefaction which is applied in the financial field is interpreted as generosity. This characteristic is attributed to the man who donates his wealth and property by sacrificing them.
The most important challenge that a man can do toward the countless blessings of the Universe is to donate eagerly; he should make use of the opportunities in order to help others by allocating any time for serving them.
Only in such a case, there will be established a meaningful difference in human life.
The generous universe will show its response only through the emergence of generosity character in humans.
By releasing the limiting thoughts, one can gain a lot and by establishing purposeful changes in his life, he can receive plenty of blessings. In this universe, there is no sign of restriction or exclusion.
The universe with mountains and oceans promises abundant blessings to mankind. It does so just when humans ask their demands logically and reasonably. We should be ensured that the Universe receives our demands and by permission of the Lord and on the basis of benefits of the whole existence will respond to us appropriately.
مَّثَلُ الَّذِینَ یُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فىِ سَبِیلِ اللهِ کَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فىِ کُلِّ سُنبُلَةٍ مِّاْئَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَ اللهُ یُضَاعِفُ لِمَن یَشَاءُ وَ اللهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیم ؛
The parable of those who spend their substance in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it growth seven ears and each ear hath a hundred grains. Allah giveth manifold increase to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all and He knowth all things. (Holy Quran: 1:261)
The Universe is limitless. One can't imagine an end to the Universe. Human being is also boundless and endless. Abundance is a natural state for the Universe and human being. Nature is so generous and open-handed that no poverty or deficiency can penetrate into it. Man is a part of the vast Universe. Whenever man finds his life full of abundance, he will experience the principle of how to live with the blessing. The Universe is rich and generous; therefore, the man should not have a poor and deprived mind. All over the Universe, there is full of abundance and through thanksgiving and beneficence it can be achieved. It is stated in Jesus Christ’s advice as follows:
“As sinking a ship does not harm the Ocean or decrease it, if anyone commits sin, no failure will harm the Lord; but the human being will harm himself like that ship. As using sunlight does not diminish the power of Sun, benefiting from the Lord’s blessings also does not reduce them. People are alive with the sustenance provided by Lord and they breathe with His livelihood. The more thanksgiving for the Lord's blessing is done, the more blessings will be obtained. The Lord does not decrease the blessings, but human errors are the cause of shortages and deficiencies.”
Benefaction and financial donation are not merely giving money to the poor, but they also include other cases. Lending money and granting a respite to a debtor are among them:
1) Lending money
One of the most applied examples of financial donation is lending money. There are various explanations about the value and position of debt in comparison to charity. In some traditions, they are narrated as follows:
“Lending one Dirham is equivalent to a two-Dirham charity”
A second narration says that charity has a ten-time reward; whereas, lending money has eighteen times reward.
الصَّدَقَةُ عَشَرَةُ أَضْعَافٍ وَ الْقَرْضُ ثَمَانِیَةَ عَشَرَ ضِعْفاً؛
“Charity has ten times reward and lending eighteen times.”
It should be noted that such narrations do not mean the value of lending money is eighteen times more than charity, but it states that the reward of charity is ten times and the reward of lending money has a eighteen times value.
In the third expression, the value of lending money is considered equal to charity reward. Imam Sadeq (A.S.) says:
“A Muslim is not a true one if he does not sincerely lend to another Muslim, unless a reward is considered for him equal to charity.”
Therefore, the value of lending money is equal to charity or two times as much as charity or less than that, which is meant eight units more than charity.
The important point about lending money is considered an advantage and it has a specific position.
Two things are notable: first, what is the philosophy of lending valuable for? Traditions have responded to this question. Lending money is the substitution of usury. The Lord forbids usury and instead legitimates lending money so that a man does not gain undue wealth without any challenge. Imam Reza (A.S) states:
“The Lord has forbidden usury because it swerves the man to goodness and wastes the property and encourages the people to gain undue wealth, but instead, it gets man to lend money as a right deed.”
The second point to mention in lending money and its double reward in comparison to charity is its monetary aspect. If someone loans a man in need and after returning the money lends it to another poor man and he repeats it many times, he has helped several people in need; in contrast, donating charity is done only once for one poor man. So the reward of lending money is more than charity.
If this supposition is true, it means that the lender abandons the loaned property and does not have any intension of returning it for his personal use; in other words, if the lender retrieves his property, it does not mean that it is used for his personal use, but it is also used for re-lending. Consequently, when lending money has a double reward, there is no intention for returning the property for personal use; like a person who blocks the property somewhere else in order to loan the poor and needy people on the basis of some criteria; he even deprives himself of having it or returning the investment.
2) Granting a respite to a debtor
If a fixed-term loan is lent to a needy man and the poor man was unable to pay back the debt within the fixed period, it is better that the lender extends the deadline of the debt. Traditionally, granting a respite to a debtor is considered as charity and each day has its own independent reward.
Imam Baqr (A.S.) says:
“In the resurrection, some people are raised in Paradise whose faces and garments are shiny and they sit down in a full shiny position. Other people who observe them ask:" Are they Lord's messengers? " At this point an invisible speaker from the Paradise will call: " they are not prophets". So people ask again: "Are they martyrs?" Then the invisible speaker replies again that they are not martyrs, but they are a group of people who took easy on believers and granted a respite to distressed debtors until their financial situation were improved.”
It is obvious that the debtor should not abuse this advantage because every Muslim should adhere to his commitment and act studiously. Otherwise, bad effects will be waiting for covenant -breakers. The Almighty Lord says about poor debtors in His last divine book and orders the people to grant the debtors a respite.
وَ إِن کاَنَ ذُو عُسْرَةٍ فَنَظِرَةٌ إِلىَ مَیْسَرَةٍ؛
If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him some time till it is easy for him to repay. (Holy Quran: 1:280)
Someone asked Imam Reza (A.S) about the meaning of a verse in Quran: what does the Lord mean in the Holy Quran about waiting for and granting a respite to debtor? How long a deadline should be given to a poor man? If someone takes another's property and spends it for his family while he has no grain to be harvested or no payment of a debt with a certain expire date to be received or no property in a passenger's hand awaiting his arrival, how long should a man wait?
Imam says: “Yes, It should be waited until its news is heard by Imam and his debt is paid from the debtor's contribution (treasury) provided that the debtor had not spent the property in the path of sin.”
The Lord recommends a better advice following the former verse and it is to neglect the debt or payment of a debt to the person who is not able to repay his debts.
وَ أَن تَصَدَّقُواْ خَیْرٌ لَّکُمْ إِن کُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُون؛
But if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.
(Holy Quran: 1:280)