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Section 35

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 262

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ ثُمَّ لاَ يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنفَقُواُ مَنًّا وَلاَ أَذًى لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

262. "Those who spend their property in the way of Allah, (and) thereafter, do not follow up what they have spent by reproach and with injury, for them shall be their reward with their Lord, and no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve."

A Worthy Charity!

In the previous verse, the importance of charity in the way of Allah was pointed out in general. Here, in this verse, some of its qualities are stated, too. It says:

"Those who spend their property in the way of Allah, (and) thereafter, do not follow up what they have spent by reproach and with injury, for them shall be their reward with their Lord..."

Besides the above mentioned privilege, this quality is in them again, that:

"... and no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve."

Therefore, those who spend some of their property in the way of Allah, but after that benevolent action, they reproach or do something that cause injury, they destroy their reward, indeed, with this reprobated action.

It can also be said that such persons, in many cases, not only are not good doers, but also are some transgressors, because the honour of a man and his psychological social capitals are often surely more valuable than property and wealth.

The Qur'anic holy phrase:

"...for them shall be their reward with their Lord;"

makes the givers of charity sure that their reward is reserved with their Lord in order that they go forth with a good amount of certainty along this path.

More than that, the application of the Qur'anic term /rabbihim/ (their Lord) in the verse, is a hint to this meaning that their Lord trains them and will multiply it.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 263

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى وَاللّهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٌ

263. "A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charity that is followed by injury, and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing."

This verse, in fact, completes the idea in the previous verse. It says that those who have a good manner and good statement, facing with the people in need, and forgive them even when their insistence is with rudeness, their action is better than the donation of those who cause injury and irritation thereafter.

"A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charity that is followed by injury, and Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing."

This verse makes clear the logic of Islam due to the social values concerning the honour of people. Islam considers the value of the action of those who speak helpfully and leadingly with the needy people in order to protect them and keep their secrets hidden.

This is more valuable than the charity of some selfish short-sighted individuals, who have sorts of approach and injury on such honourable persons for a small donation they give.

As was mentioned before the loss of these stingy people is more than their profit. When such persons give something, they ruin something else, too. Thus, the above statement made it clear that the Qur'anic phrase /qaulun ma'ruf / 'a kind word' has a vast meaning so that it envelops any word of kindness, consolation, affability and guidance.

The word /maqfirat / (forgiveness), mentioned in the verse, is used in contrast with the rudeness of the needy people.

In Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, the , 1it is narrated from the (holy Prophet of Islam (S) who said:

"When a needy person asks you, do not interrupt his statement until he completes it. Then, respond him calmly and politely, or give him what you are able to spend, or return him agreeably, because the one may be an angel who is commissioned to try you in order to see how you behave with the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon you. "

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 264-265

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُبْطِلُواْ صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالأذَى كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاء النَّاسِ وَلاَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا لاَّ يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمُ ابْتِغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللّهِ وَتَثْبِيتًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةٍ بِرَبْوَةٍ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ فَآتَتْ أُكُلَهَا ضِعْفَيْنِ فَإِن لَّمْ يُصِبْهَا وَابِلٌ فَطَلٌّ وَاللّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

264. "O' you who have Faith! do not nullify your charities by reproach and injury, like the one who spends his property to be seen by people, and does not believe in Allah and the last Day; so his likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is (a little) soil, ( then a heavy rain falls upon it and leaves it just a bare stone. They shall not be able to gain anything of what they have earned; and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people."

265. "But the likeness of those who spend their property to seek the pleasure of Allah, and to strengthen their own souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a high ground, upon which a heavy rain falls and it yields its fruit two-fold; but if a heavy rain does not fall upon it, then a light rain (is sufficient); and Allah sees what you do."

In the previous couple of verses, at first, this fact was pointed out that the believers should not make their charities in the way of Allah invalid because of reproach and injury.

Then, two interesting similitude are expressed upon those charities which are followed by reproach and injury and also for hypocritical acts and ostentation, and those charities which are originated from loyalty and human sympathy.

Consider a piece of rock covered with a little amount of dust., When it be sown with good seeds and exposed to fresh air and sunshine, and then, a harsh rain falls upon it, the rain will surely washes out the thin dust from the rock and scatters the containing seed with the dust.

Consequently, the hard impenetrable rock, on which no plant can grow, appears with its rough feature. This is not for that the fresh air; sunshine and falling rain have had a bad effect. It is because the place where the seed was sown has been an inappropriate place for the aim.

Its appearance was adorned while its inner side was an impenetrable rough rock with a mere thin amount of dust over its surface. It is in a state that plants and trees, besides having suitable conditions above the ground, need a good preparation under the ground for the roots in order to spread and feed.

"O' you who have Faith! do not nullify your charities by reproach and injury, like the one who spends his property to be seen by people and does not believe in Allah and the last Day..."

The Qur'an has likened the hypocritical deeds and charities followed with reproach and injury, that which originate from the callous, hearts, to a rock covered with a little dust from which no profit can be gained. So, the efforts of the farmer and the sower will be wasted, too.

"...so his likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is (a little) soil, then a heavy rain falls upon it and leaves it just a bare stone. They shall not be able to gain anything of what they have earned; and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people."

Another Interesting Similitude

Consider a green grass garden which is located on a high productive land and benefited from fresh free air and sufficient sunshine. Useful downpour falls water it, but when the rainfall is not enough, drizzles and drops of dew preserve the pleasantness and freshness of the garden.

As a result, such a garden usually yields its fruits two-fold more than the other ordinary gardens. This sort of gardens, besides having productive land, enjoy of dew and drizzles added to enough rainfalls. They have such a beautiful view that attracts the attention of any visitor from the distance. They are also safe from the threat of floods.

Those who give their wealth in charity for the sake of Allah's pleasure and for strengthening Faith and certainty in their hearts and souls, are like this garden which have a bountiful valuable product.

"But the likeness of those who spend their property to seek the pleasure of Allah, and to strengthen their own souls, is as the likeness of a garden on a high ground, upon which a heavy rain falls and it yields its fruit two-fold; but if a heavy rain does not fall upon it, then a light rain (is sufficient); and Allah sees what you do."

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 266

أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَاء فَأَصَابَهَا إِعْصَارٌ فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

266. "Would any of you like that there should be for him a garden of date palms and vines beneath which rivers flow with all kinds of fruit for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and he has feeble offspring, then a whirlwind with fire in it strikes and it gets burnt up? Thus Allah makes the signs clear to you, so that you may ponder."

Another Similitude

In this verse, the Qur'an expresses another interesting similitude to make manifest that how seriously man is in need of righteous deeds on the Judgement Day, and how hypocrisy, reproach and injury ruin the charities and good deeds of man.

This similitude illustrates the view of an old man who possesses a green, fresh and delightful garden with various trees such as date-palms, vines, etc. which are watered continuously and do not need to be irrigated.

There are some lazy, careless and weak children around him whose means of earning life is the very garden. If this garden vanishes neither the old father nor the feeble children are able to re-establish it.

It happens that suddenly a fiery hurricane blows upon it and burns it totally dry. How does this old man feel when he has lost the strength of his youth, and who cannot earn his living from any other ways, while his children are feeble, too? And, what a deadly regret and grief may rush over him?

"Would any of you like that there should be for him a garden of date palms and vines beneath which rivers flow with all kinds of fruit for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and he has feeble offspring, then a whirlwind with fire in it strikes and it gets burnt up? ..."

The condition of a person who does a righteous work and then ruins it by hypocrisy, reproach, and injury is similar to such an old man who has tolerated many tasks, but when he is in dire need of the fruit of his efforts, all of them as a whole vanishes and leaves him alone with his grieves and regrets.

In view of the fact that the source of all misfortunes, especially the foolish act of reproach, whose benefit is a little but the loss of it is soon and great, originates from the application of no wisdom, then, at the end of the verse, Allah invites people to contemplation and pondering. It says:

"...Thus Allah makes the signs clear to you, so that you may ponder."

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 267

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الأَرْضِ وَلاَ تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِآخِذِيهِ إِلاَّ أَن تُغْمِضُواْ فِيهِ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

267. "O' you who have Faith! spend (in charity) of the good things that you have earned, and of what We produce for you from the earth, and do not aim at what is bad to spend thereof (in charity) while you yourselves would not accept it except that you connive at it, and know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy."

The Occasion of Revelation

It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) that this verse was revealed about a group of people who had earned some wealth from usury at the Age of Ignorance. They usually spent out from it in charity in the way of Allah. Allah prohibited them from that action and commanded them to spend out in charity from the good property they had earned.

In Majma'-ul-Bayan Fi Tafsir-il-Qur'an, next to narrating this tradition, it quotes from Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) who said:

"This verse has been revealed about those who used to mix the dry and bony dates with good dates when they wanted to spend in charity." 2

They were, therefore, commanded not to do that action.

These two occasions of revelation are never contradictory with each other. The verse may have been revealed upon both groups, when one of which is due to spiritual goodness and the other concerns to the appearance and material goodness.

What Kind of Property Can Be Given in Charity?

In the previous verses, the effects of charity, the qualities of givers of charity, and the deeds that may corrupt this godly action and ruin its reward were pointed out. In this verse, the quality of the property, which is to be spent in charity, is explained. In the first phrase of the verse, Allah commands believing people to spend from good of their wealth.

"O' you who have Faith! Spend (in charity) of the good things that you have earned, and of what We produce for you from the earth..."

The term /tayyib/, the plural of which is /tayyibat/, in philology means: good, pleasant and agreeable'. This meaning refers to both spiritual and material purity; i.e. to be clean inwardly and outwardly.

That is, that part of wealth might be given in charity that is good, useful, and valuable. It must be free from any dubiosity and pollution, either. The above mentioned occasions of revelation attest to the generality of this meaning, too.

The phrase:

"...while you yourselves would not accept it except that you connive at it..."

cannot be taken as an evidence that the objective meaning here is exclusively outward of cleanliness, because the believing persons also might not accept the things which are apparently polluted, or worthless, as well as the doubtful and disapproved materials, but with conniving at it and dislike.

The Qur'anic phrase: /ma kasabtum/ 'that you have earned' refers to the commercial incomes, while the phrase: /mimma axrajna / 'what We produce' refers to the incomes earned from farming, mines and subterranean sources.

Thus, it envelops all the kinds of income, because the source of all incomes of man is often from the earth and its different issues. Even, the origin of industries, trades, and the like of them all is the ground. However, this sentence indicates that all these merits are given you by Allah. Therefore, you ought not spare spending a part of it in charity in the way of Allah.

"...and do not aim at what is bad to spend thereof (in charity) while you yourselves would not accept it except that you connive at it..."

Some of people have the habit of spending out in charity mostly from the worthless and worn out things that they do not use any longer themselves. This kind of charities are neither effective in growing spiritual training of the essence of humanity in the giver of charity, nor is so useful to the needy. It can be counted sort of disgrace and scorn unto them, too.

This sentence explicitly prohibits Muslims from doing that. It says how they spend in charity from those things which they themselves do not like to accept, but hatefully. Must their Muslim brothers, and beyond that, the Lord, in Whose way they spend out in charity, be considered, in their view, lower than themselves?

Indeed, the verse points to a precise fact. It is that the charities given in the way of Allah have two ends. On one end there are the needy ones, and on the other end there is Allah, for Whose sake the charity is spent.

In this case, if the charity is taken from the low and worthless things, from one hand, it is counted an aspersion to the high rank of the Lord that the giver of charity has not regarded Him eligible for a 'good' thing.

On the other hand, it is a disgrace to the needy ones who, in spite of their poverty, mostly have a high level of faith and human hood, whose soul may be injured because of such a disagreeable charity.

By the way, it should be noted that the term /la tayammamu / 'do not aim' may be a hint to this fact that can be something of undemanded quality which inattentively is given among the material spent in charity. This aspect is hot involved in the contents of this statement. The statement is about those who intentionally accomplish it.

"...and know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy."

This sentence intends to say that you must be aware that the Lord in Whose way you spend in charity is the One Who never needs your charity, and Who is worthy of all praise. It is He Who has bestowed the whole bounties upon you.

The term /'hamid/, 'praiseworthy, may be used in the sense of 'adorer'; i.e., while He is Self-Sufficient, He adores the charities you spend. Therefore, do try to spend out from good things in charity.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 268

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَاء وَاللّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغْفِرَةً مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلاً وَاللّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

268. Satan threatens you with poverty and enjoins you to indecency; but Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and abundance; and Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing.

At first, the verse admonishes that when you decide to spend in charity or to pay your alms, Satan threatens you of poverty, particularly if you want to give from your worthy and considerable things mentioned in the previous verse.

Many a time it happens that this Satanic temptation hinders the act of giving charity and donation. It may affect even on the payment of Alms, Khums (one fifth levy), and other obligatory expending.

"Satan threatens you with poverty ..."

Allah awares man thereby that refraining from giving charity in awe of poverty is a wrong imagination. It is one of the temptations of Satan. Avoiding from thinking that this Satanic temptation looks like a logical scare, it immediately says:

"and enjoins you to indecency; ... "

Therefore, having awe of poverty and indigence in any condition is wrong, because Satan invites not save to falsehood and aberration.

Basically, any thought which is disappointing, impedimental and short-sighted originates from deviation from natural disposition and following the temptations of Satan. But, any thought which is positive, instructive, and broad-sighted comes from the source of godly inspirations and the pure divine innate disposition.

Keeping in mind that the Satanic temptations are against the law of creation and Allah's commandments and ordinances are paralleled and adapted to creation and disposition, results to a notable livelihood, peacefulness and prosperity.

"...but Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and abundance..."

In Majma'-ul-Bayan a tradition is narrated about charity from Imam Sadiq (as) who said:

"Two things are from Allah and two things are from Satan. Those two from Allah are forgiveness of sins and abundance in sustenance. And those two from Satan are promise to poverty and enjoinment to indecency."

Therefore, as Ibn-Abbas has quoted, the purpose of forgiveness is the forgiveness of sins and the objective meaning of "abundance" is increase of wealth under the cause of giving charity. 3It is interesting that Imam Amir-ul-Mu'mineen Ali (as) is narrated who has said:

"When you are confronted with poverty, bargain with Allah through charity, (spend out in charity until you get free from poverty)," 4

The phrase: "Allah is All-Embracing" means that the Power of Allah is vast, and He is All-Knowing unto all affairs and details.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 269

يُؤتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَاء وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيراً وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الأَلْبَابِ

269. "He grants wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been granted wisdom, indeed has been given abundant good; yet no one will mind but the possessors of intellects."

The Qur'anic term /hikmat/, here, has been rendered, into the sense of' knowledge, the cognition of secrets, awareness of facts, and reaching to reality'. Allah bestows it upon some persons for the sake of their piety, purity and their strive.

They recognize the difference between the Satanic temptations and godly inspirations, false and true. None can benefit from this privilege, which is abundant good, save those who possess proper intelligence.

"He grants wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been granted wisdom, indeed has been given abundant good; yet no one will mind but, the possessors of intellects."

The Arabic term /albab/ is the plural form of /lubb/ in the sense of 'heart, love, intellect, and understanding'. Every man of wisdom is not counted among /ulul 'albab/, because this title is termed for only those men of understanding who utilize their intellect definitely to find out the path of real happiness in their lives.

However, Imam Sadiq (as) in a tradition has said that /hikmat/ is 'knowledge and becoming learned in religion'; while another tradition indicates that / hikmat / is obedience to Allah and knowing Imam. 5

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 270 - 271

وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن نَّفَقَةٍ أَوْ نَذَرْتُم مِّن نَّذْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ يَعْلَمُهُ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ

إِن تُبْدُواْ الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاء فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لُّكُمْ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَاللّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ

270. "And whatever you spend in charity, or (whatever) vow you vow, surely Allah knows it. While, there will be no helpers for the unjust."
271. "If you give alms openly, it is well; but if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is better for you, and it will remove from you some of your sins; and Allah is aware of what you do."

"And whatever you spend in charity..."

Spending in charity, here, means whatever you spend in the way of Allah or in the way of Satan.

"... or (whatever) vow you vow..."

Or, whatsoever you have made obligatory to yourself by the way of vow, whether it be alongside the path of obedience of Allah or for committing sins, He knows it.

"... surely Allah knows it..."

Verily, your deed is not concealed to Allah, and He will reward you according to it.

"... While, there will be no helpers for the unjust."

The objective meaning of 'unjust' here, is those who spend their wealth in the way of disobedience of Allah and committing sins. They do not give the alms of their property; or do not fulfil what they have vowed; or they vow to do that which is sin. For such people, there will be no friend who can save them from the Divine Judgment or prevent His punishment.

"If you give alms openly, it iv well; but if you hide it and give it to the poor, it is better for you, and it will remove from you some of your sins; and Allah is aware of what you do."

That is, if you give your alms hiddenly to the indigents 'it is better for you', viz., giving alms hiddenly is better for you: and its due reward is better and more. The purpose of alms that the concealment of which is better is the recommended alms, because making the obligatory alms manifest is more reasonable.

Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 272

لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاء وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلأنفُسِكُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ ابْتِغَاء وَجْهِ اللّهِ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ

272. "It is not upon you to guide them (O' Muhammad), but Allah guides aright whomsoever He' wills. And whatever of good you spend in charity shall be for your own selves; and you do not spend except seeking the pleasure of Allah; and whatever of good you spend shall be repaid to you in full and you shall not be dealt with unjustly."

In Majma'-ul-Bayan and Tafsir-ul-Kabir by Fakhr-Razi, there are cited some occasions of revelation for the above mentioned verse which, on the whole, indicate that Muslims were in doubt to give charity to the indigents of pagans and non-Muslims. When they inquired about it from the Messenger of Allah; (S), this verse was revealed. 6

Explanations

1. Do not employ the abundance of giving charity and the economical pressure for bringing infidels towards the Faith

"It is not upon you to guide them (O' Muhammad)..."

2. Serving the deprived is a human sympathy, as well as a duty, and generosity is a value. Hence, do give charity to non-Muslims, too.

3. Islam is a school of humanitarianism. It does not approve poverty and deprivation, even for non-Muslims.

4. The faith which be pretended under the pressure of economics is not worthy.

5. Guidance is a divine success which encompasses only the receptive hearts

"... but Allah guides aright whomsoever He wills."

6. The consequence of charity returns to you. It survives the spirit of generosity in you. It is through charity that the appearance of levels among groups of people and social bursts can be prevented and, instead, love and kindness may grow therein. However, in charity there can be found not deprivation while there is immunity in it.

"... And whatever of good you spend in charity, shall be for your own selves..."

7. Do not spend out but for Allah, because, soon or late, all the worldly benefits and merits will be vanished, but if giving charity be done for the sake of Allah, it will remain forever and you will enjoy of its incomes.

"... and you do not spend except seeking the pleasure of Allah..."

8. Be bountiful in spending out, since whatever you give in charity will come back to you with no decrease.

"... and whatever of good you spend shall be repaid to you in full..."

9. If you accomplish something for Allah, you will obtain your reward whether a Muslim or a pagan enjoys of it.

"... and you shall not be dealt with unjustly."
  • 1. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 1, p. 283
  • 2. Majma'-ul- Bayan, Vol. 2, p. 380
  • 3. Majma'-ul-Bayan, Vol. 2, p. 381
  • 4. Nahjul-Balagha, Saying 258
  • 5. Bihar-al-Anwar, Vol. 24, p. 86
  • 6. Majma'-ul-Bayan, Vol. 1, p. 385

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