Shafaqna (International Shia News Agency)
Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:3, Part-3)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Characteristics of Righteous People
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ ﴿٣﴾
Translation: (Righteous people) are those who believe in the unseen and establish Salaat (the obligatory daily prayers performed five times each day) and spend out what We (Allah) have provided them.
Commentary: Giving charity in the name of Allah is the third characteristic of righteous people.
Allah has blessed man with a unique set of abilities, which will provide for a means of Halal living. During this time it is natural for mankind to yearn for items that will bring him pleasure and joy, however there is a tendency to forget that this wealth was through the benediction of Allah and without his support these tidings would be unobtainable. Upon the Day of Judgment, which is promised to all of human beings, the manner these blessings were utilized will be examined, and how mankind utilized Allah endowments will be scrutinized… hopefully they were used in the correct manner.
The meaning of charity is not exclusive to monetary means. Charity can include teaching, spending time with those who are sick, elderly or young, and donating your own worldly possessions that you hold dear to your heart.
The annals of history are littered with arrogance of mankind who did not believe in charity. Qaroun1, who lived in time of Prophet Musa, was gifted a huge treasure, so much so that carrying the keys to his wealth was a burden to the strongest of strong men. He claimed that he earned his wealth through his knowledge and refused to help his kinsmen. He disregarded the fact that Allah is the true owner2 and he was a trustee of God’s wealth on the earth.3 One day when Qaroun appeared amongst his people to show off his wealth, the earth swallowed him along with his treasure. Arrogance, greed and selfishness destroyed Qaroun eternal prosperity.
The benefits in giving charity are immense. It brings us near to Allah, cleans our soul from greed and attachment to worldly materials. Although there is an inclination to believe that giving in charity will diminish our wealth, the opposite is quite true. The Quran states that a parable of those who spend in charity is similar to a farmer who plants a single grain, which will then produce several hundreds of grains4. Giving charity in the name of Allah is similar.
Wealth is a mean which it helps us to fulfill our needs, sustain our life, and improve quality of our living standard. Naturally, we are attached to our wealth and we have tendency to hold back on spending on charity for fear that it might jeopardize our own well beings.
Quran in the Surah al-Israa5 mentioned that even if we possessed the treasure of the mercy of Allah we still would hold back from spending in charity lest it would be exhausted. And this is a false fear since mercy of Allah never gets exhausted.
Desire for wealth and looking after our interest and welfare is an essential element of life. But excessive love for wealth, attachment to worldly materials and constantly thinking about our comfort leads to greed, which it makes man to hoard up wealth – sometimes unlawfully- without benefiting from it.6
Giving in charity teaches us to detach loosely from the worldly material; help us to open our heart and share our blessing with others and control our greed. Those who control their greed will have everlasting happiness.7 In general, greedy people may think that avarice is good for them but in the Day of Judgment what they were avaricious about will manifest as a heavy sin on their shoulder.8
- The Quran [28:76-82]