Joining In Charity With Non-Muslims
Islam is a religion that cares for the welfare of all humans and calls for participating in volunteer activities and services for people without awaiting any reward from them but only from Allah.
In this sense, volunteering is deep-rooted in Islamic teachings and practices. In Islam, doing voluntary acts is not restricted to a certain race or religion but it encompasses all human beings and even all creatures.
Every voluntary act by a Muslim to bring about a material benefit or happiness for a human being is regarded as an act of worship. Several Ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) designated several forms of social services as kinds of charity: removing a harmful thing from the road or street, enjoining what is good, forbidding what is evil, reconciling two people, receiving a Muslim brother with a smile, a good word, and so on.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) made helping others a human and social duty upon every Muslim, saying, “There is a (compulsory) sadaqah (charity) to be given for every joint of the human body (as a sign of gratitude to Allah) every day the sun rises. To judge justly between two persons is regarded as sadaqah; and to help a man concerning his riding animal, by helping him to mount it or by lifting his luggage on to it, is also regarded as sadaqah; and (saying) a good word is also sadaqah; and every step taken on one’s way to offer the compulsory prayer (in the mosque) is also sadaqah, and to remove a harmful thing from the way is also sadaqah.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim with a sound chain of transmission).
Volunteering refers to doing an activity of one’s own will without being paid for it or without expecting any material reward for it.
As for Muslims, they are strongly recommended to do many volunteer acts and they should do so for the sake of Allah and with the hope of getting His rewards in Hereafter.
In fact, there is no harm for Muslims living in the West to undertake volunteer activities with non-Muslims. Furthermore, they are strongly recommended to do so in order for them to introduce Islam to non-Muslims during these activities in a very kind and peaceful manner. Muslims have to mix with non-Muslims as much as they can in order for them to call them to Islam and introduce to them the beauty and greatness of the wonderful religion, Islam.
The Prophet (peace be upon him), said, “The believer who mixes with the people and has patience and tolerance with them is better than the believer who doesn’t mix with the people.”
Da’wah (calling others to Islam) should not be limited and focused on Muslims only, it has to move around and look for opportunities and seize the chances. Indeed, there are many verses in the Qur’an which call upon Muslims to interact with non-Muslims. Almighty Allah says: “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” (60: 8)
He also says: “And if anyone of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur’an) and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.” (9: 6)
There are also other verses which urged the Prophet (peace be upon him) him to call the People of the Book to Islam and its teachings. Furthermore, the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is full of occasions that he benefited from and used for the interest of da’wah. It was reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) visited a young Jewish boy who fell sick. At the end of his visit, the Prophet called him to Islam and the father of the boy advised him to obey the Prophet (peace be upon him). The boy converted to Islam.
There are many practical examples that urge Muslims to seize various opportunities to serve the cause of Islam. All in all, Islam recommends participation in volunteer activities with Muslims as well as with non-Muslims.