Is there a hadith in the sense of ‘if you knew the virtue of giving water to people, you would compete in order to give water to thirsty people’?

The Details of the Question

- What is the advice of our religion about water charity?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

We have not found any information like the one in the question.

However, the following narration exists regarding the issue:

Sa’d b. Ubada’s mother died. He went to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! My mother died. Can I give sadaqah on behalf of her?” the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Yes.”

Sa’d asked, “What sadaqah (charity) is good and valuable? The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “To meet the water need of people and animals.” (see Nasai, Wasaya, 9; Ibn Majah, Adab, 8)

Thereupon, Sa’d had a public water tap built in Madinah and it served people for a long time. (see Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 5/284; 6/7)

"If any Muslim clothes a Muslim when he is needy, Allah will clothe him with some green garments of Paradise. If any Muslim feeds a Muslim when he is hungry, Allah will feed him with some of the fruits of Paradise. If any Muslim gives a Muslim drink when he is thirsty, Allah will give him some of the pure Paradise drink with nice scent." (Abu Dawud, Zakah, 32; Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 18)

"When a man gives water to his wife, he gains thawab." (Suyuti, Jamiul-Ahadith, Hadith No:1457)

In a narration in which the deeds that make a believer keep gaining thawabs after he dies, “bringing water by building a canal” is also mentioned. (Ibn Majah, Muqaddima 20)

Allah describes water as "His mercy" (al-A'raf, 7/57; al-Furqan, 25/48; an-Naml, 27/63; ar-Rum, 30/46) and "mentions His providing sweet water for people among His bounties to them". (al-Mursalat, 77/27)

According to a verse, having fertile land in which streams flow thanks to abundant rain are among important blessings for people. (al-Anam, 6/6)

In many verses in the Quran, “rivers flowing” are mentioned among the beauties of Paradise. For example, the following is stated in a verse:

“But give glad tidings to those who believe and work righteousness, that their portion is Gardens, beneath which rivers flow.” (al-Baqara, 2/25)

In some of his supplications, the Prophet (pbuh) attracted attention to the cleaning property of water and asked from Allah "to be fully clean after his sins are washed away by water, snow and ice". (Bukhari, Daawat 39, 44, 46)

With that metaphorical expression, he expressed "his wish to be purified of mistakes like a snow-white garment cleaned by water after being washed".

Water and its derivatives like snow and ice are the symbols of purity and cleanliness in different cultures.

In Turkish, when somebody, especially a young person gives water to an elderly, he says, “Be valuable like water”, which is a supplication expressing the value of water and showing how water is valued in the Turkish culture.  

In addition, the Ottoman State left a rich heritage related to water. There are still buildings related to water that function actively in Turkey remaining from the Ottoman State like aqueducts, cisterns, reservoirs, water towers, which enable water to be carried, stored and distributed, and public taps, water dispensers and fountains, which provide water for people. They are very important works that makes the Turkish-Islamic civilization a “water civilization”.

The emphasis by the Quran and the Sunnah that water is the basis of life lays some duties and responsibilities on Muslims. The most important ones are to preserve the current water resources in the best way, to prevent all kinds of deeds that can pollute those resources and that can harm the cleanliness and quality of water.

On the other hand, we must not waste water and act irresponsibly. We must try to use water and other natural resources rationally and efficiently.

We must preserve the “water civilization” formed and given to us by our religion and culture as a heritage, improve it and transfer it to the generations to come.

Questions on Islam

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