By Ustaz Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad
O you who have attained to faith! Spend on others out of the good things which you may have acquired, and out of that which We bring forth for you from the earth; and choose not for your spending the bad things which you yourselves would not accept without averting your eyes in disdain. And know that God is self-sufficient, ever to be praised. (al-Baqarah, 267)
Is the verse revealed on Zakah? Yes, that is an opinion. Is it on supererogatory Sadaqah? Yes, that is another opinion. It covers both obligatory and supererogatory Sadaqah; yes, and this is the best of the three positions.
Spend on others out of the good things which you may have acquired,.. that are pure and lawful. It must be of the best of your acquisitions. and out of that which We bring forth for you from the earth; it is out of, not all of it. Allah is the One that brought it forth.
“Have ye seen that which ye cultivate?
Is it ye who foster it, or are We the Fosterer?”
O you who have attained to faith! Spend on others out of the good things which you may have acquired, and out of that which We bring forth for you from the earth; and choose not for your spending the bad things…
Will you give out the bad things which you yourselves would not accept without averting your eyes in disdain?
How will you give to Allah what you disapprove for yourself?
And know that God is self-sufficient, ever to be praised. He is self-sufficient of your Sadaqah or your spending in His cause. He gave you the wealth and He asked you to spend on others as a test to see how you will behave.
Allah is pure and accepts only what is pure. That is why He asked us to spend out of the good things which we acquired. And He ordered that we should not choose the bad things when we spend in His cause what we would not accept without averting our eyes in disdain.
The Messenger, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said:
The devil draws near to man, and so does the angel. The devil’s approach consists of the promise of what is evil, and denial of what is true; whereas the angel’s approach consists of the promise of what is good and confirmations of what is true. When anyone experiences the latter, let him know that it comes from God and let him praise God; but if he experiences the other, let him seek refuge in God from the accursed devil.” Then he recited:
Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and bids you to be niggardly, whereas God promises you His forgiveness and bounty; and God is infinite, all-knowing. (268)
Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty; he frightens you with the bad turn of fortune, lack of money. Therefore, the servant withholds his wealth against spending on others in the cause of Allah for fear of penury or the diminishing of his resources.
…and bids you to be niggardly,.. the word here is al-Fahshaa, an abominable sin. Every al-Fahshaa mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an refers to Zinaa except here where it means niggardliness. As if to say that niggardliness is in the same neighbourhood as Zinaa in its vileness and despicableness. So, Satan bids you to commit sin and to be niggardly.
It is also said that al-Fahshaa here means withholding Zakah or expending of wealth in sin. A man will offer a niggardly contribution to Allah’s cause, but the same person will expend millions in sin and transgression.
….whereas God promises you His forgiveness and bounty;…
Satan promises two things, and Allah promises two things: Satan threatens you with the prospect of poverty and bids you to be niggardly. God promises you His forgiveness and bounty;.. so, the choice is yours: Satan’s promise or Allah’s?
Magfirah means concealment. Your sins are concealed even from the angels that record deeds, or it means, even where they are recorded, the sins will be wiped out of the pages of your evil deeds. Magfirah also means that your sins will be screened from your joints so they will not give evidence against you; your sins will be screened from people; whoever Allah shields from the eyes of the people in the world, Allah shall shield him also from the eyes of the multitude on the day of the general assembly.
It is as if whoever spends on an indigent person has actually screened him and satisfied his needs, Allah, then, rewards him by screening him and shielding him in the world and the hereafter.
“Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Judgement. Whoever alleviates (the lot of) a needy person, Allah will alleviate (his lot) in this world and the next. Whoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother.”
“..whereas God promises you His forgiveness and bounty;..” The bounty of Allah is endless. Therefore, whatever the servant expends, seeking the Countenance of Allah, he is sure to have his sins forgiven him, his faults are screened from the eyes of people, and Allah will double for him whatever he expends and more in the world as well as the hereafter.
“And whatsoever ye spend (for good) He replaceth it. And He is the Best of Providers.”
“Sadaqah does not decrease property.”
“…and God is infinite, all-knowing,”
….granting wisdom unto whom He wills: and whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted wealth abundant. But none bears this in mind save those who are endowed with insight. (269)
He grants wisdom unto whom He wills: wisdom is confirming knowledge and perfecting deeds. Wisdom is conforming to the truth in words and deeds.
Al-Hikmah is at times referred to as the Qur’an itself or to the Sunnah or to knowledge in religion.
“When Allah wishes good for anyone, He bestows upon him the Fiqh (comprehension) of the religion.”
Al-Hikmah also means useful knowledge. It guards one who possesses it from acting like a fool. Knowledgeable people are not fools.
….and whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted wealth abundant.
See the wisdom of mentioning wisdom twice in the verse: He bestows wisdom unto whom He wills, and he unto whom wisdom is granted… He could well have said ‘he unto whom it is granted, without necessarily mentioning wisdom a second time, but to emphasise its importance, wisdom is mentioned again.
Another point to ponder over is that past generations were given knowledge of the divinely inspired books, the scriptures that their messengers brought them from Allah. When Allah mentioned this fact he said to them:
“….and of knowledge, ye have been vouchsafed but little.”
But when Allah speaks concerning the Ummah of Muhammad, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam, about whom he wishes good and bestows the Fiqh of the religion, he said:
…and whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted wealth abundant.
But none bears this in mind save those who are endowed with insight.