Philosophy Magazine

On Zakat, Or Spartan Charity

By Stfallen @stfallen

You will not find me volunteering for charity driven “causes” and the like. I am not for vainglorious philanthropy. I do not make donations to third parties. I do not believe in middle men. I need to see where my money is going. More importantly, I need to see where my help is going. I need to make eye contact. I need to feel that connection. Does that make me selfish? Does that make me a bad person? I do not believe so.

Today, I gave 7.5% of my salary to a neighbor. He was once my pot dealer. He used to be a trishaw driver. He has been thrown in jail a couple of times in the past seven years that I have known him. The last time, it was his wife who called the police. He is a heroin junkie.  I know he is a good person at heart, though he is conflicted and has many flaws. He might not have the integrity of a third party charity organization, but I feel more comfortable giving him a portion of my hard earned money than to some middle man.

I believe in a community spirit. I do not feel that sense of community in a corporate structure, especially when it is painted as “non-profit”. Maybe, I am conflicted. I probably am. Still, I will keep giving in the way that I feel most comfortable. At least, I do.

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