Central Asia Institute, one of Infuse Gallery's nonprofit partners, celebrates diversity and building a peaceful world through education. In an article reflecting on charitable giving they have reminded us of the varying traditions of charitable giving across different religions. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is called "Giving Tuesday" in the United States and celebrates the generosity and sharing of all the that we are grateful for by giving to those more in need.
Charitable Giving in Jewish Culture:
In the Jewish faith Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for acts of charity or giving such as offering relief, donating money to the poor, or other forms of providing assistance. Tzedakah is not so much a gift of generosity or benevolence, but an act of justice and righteousness. Giving to those less fortunate is seen as a obligation of faith, a non-negotiable responsibility. Learn More
Charitable Giving in Islam
Charitable giving is a foundation in the laws and governance of Islam. Zakat, or giving to the poor, is the third pillar of Islam. Followers are obligated to give a certain proportion of their wealth to charity, usually 2.5 percent of their earnings.
Zakat is believed to purify the remaining portion of a person’s savings and to help establish the economic balance and social justice in society. Muslims believe zakat has many benefits aside from helping the poor. Learn more
Charitable Giving in Christian Culture
Giving in Christianity is seen as an act of love or benevolence. An article in New Statesman explains, “Christians believe that God’s love and generosity towards humanity moves and inspires us to love and be generous in response.”
Giving is not a command or a requirement. Christians are encouraged to give to their ‘neighbors’ both close and in other communities and countries. Traditionally, this giving is called “alms” or “almsgiving.” Alms are often given at church to support not only the church but also the poor. It can also be given during lent to those most in need.