Charity is a very important part of Sikh teachings because equality and compassion are essential for a spiritual life. All religions and all nations must be helped to live a good and peaceful life. Charity begins with caring for the family – Sikhs have followed this teaching in their social policies, building hospitals, care homes, special schools and hospices. Many Sikhs also take part in charity work all over the world. Sewa or service to the community (Sadhsangat) is essential to the life of a Sikh. They should be prepared to give up some of their time and energy to help others.
Below are Shabads from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib that give the Sikh guidance on this issue:
In the following Shabads, Guru Sahib informs of the importance of giving in charity and put this virtue together with “truth”, “Truth and charity are my white clothes”. Further, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib highlights five qualities, “truthfulness”, “honest living”, “goodwill to all”, “praise of the Lord” and finally “charity in the name of God”.
My mind is imbued with the Lord’s Love; it is dyed a deep crimson. Truth and charity are my white clothes. The blackness of sin is erased by my wearing of blue clothes, and meditation on the Lord’s Lotus Feet is my robe of honor. [SGGS, 16]
By Guru’s Grace, your face shall be radiant. Chanting the Naam, you shall receive the benefits of giving charity and taking cleansing baths.Sexual desire, anger and greed are eliminated, and all egotistical pride is abandoned. ॥2॥ [SGGS, 46]
There are five prayers and five times of day for prayer; the five have five names.
Let the first be truthfulness, the second honest living, and the third charity in the Name of God.
Let the fourth be good will to all, and the fifth the praise of the Lord. [SGGS, 141]