To volunteer is to go beyond the call of duty. There are limited numbers of things that are mandatory in Islam. But the vast majority of righteous acts are voluntary. In the Hadeeth of the prophet SAAW, he says: “Even when you put a piece of bread in your wife’s mouth, you get the reward of a charity”. In expanding the role of a “charitable act”, he says: “Feeding any animal is a charity, removing harmful things from pathways is a charity.” Allah SWT says: “You (Muslims) have been the best nation sent out to people (in that) you enjoin the good and denounce and forbid the evil.” In the prophet’s traditions, a man who gave water to a thirsty dog was forgiven for this act of kindness to a dog.
Signing up to volunteer in any public/community service project is a reflection of how your faith has turned you to a level of righteous care for other. In Islam, there are two types of duties: Individual responsibilities, and communal responsibilities. Attending to the needs of yourself and your family is regarded as individual responsibility. Attending to the public good is considered a communal responsibility. When you volunteer to attend to any communal need, you are highly rewarded for relieving other from having to worry about this need.
Every Muslim should choose a project/cause or more that they feel strongly about to serve others. Whether it is helping the homeless, reading to a child, visiting the sick, offering service to an elderly person, etc. You may volunteer with an organization, a school, a social club, a local mosque, just volunteer in anything. You could never tell which act will be your ticket to paradise.
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