Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:244-245)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Striving in the Way of Allah (SWT)
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿٢٤٤ ﴾
2:244 And fight in the cause of Allah (SWT) and know that God is All Hearing and All Knowing.
Commentary: Verse 2:244 instructs believers to participate in jihad and fight in the cause of Allah (SWT) (فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ); it warns that God hears all the words that we speak and knows our innermost motives and intentions (وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ).
The cause/way of Allah (فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ) has been mentioned numerous times in the Quran. Examples of its usage in the Quran are as follows:
- Spend in the way of Allah (أَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ), Al-Baqara, 2:195
- Fight in the cause of Allah (وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ), Al-Baqara, 2:244
- Face hardship in the cause of Allah (أَصَابَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ), Al-i-Imran 3:146
- Emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah (هَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ), At-Tawba 9:20
From these verses, one can construe that any sincere deed and action that benefits the public is called an act in Allah’s (SWT) cause/way, such as giving charity, building hospitals, schools, shouldering the burden of Jihad, etc. The other end of the spectrum is (فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ), which means “in the cause of evil” [An-Nisa 4:76]:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ الطَّاغُوتِ فَقَاتِلُوا أَوْلِيَاءَ الشَّيْطَانِ ۖ إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا ﴿٧٦ ﴾
4:76: Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah (SWT), and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghut (Shaitan, evil, devil). So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.
2:244 [وَقَاتِلُوا] And fight [فِي] in [سَبِيلِ] the way [اللَّـهِ] of Allah, [وَاعْلَمُوا] And know [أَنَّ] that [اللَّـهَ] Allah [سَمِيعٌ] is All-Hearing [عَلِيمٌ] All-knowing
A Virtuous Loan
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّـهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً ۚ وَاللَّـهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿٢٤٥ ﴾
2:245 Who is it that would loan Allah (SWT) a virtuous loan so God may multiply it for him many manifolds? And it is Allah SWT) who withholds and grants abundance, and to God, you will return.
Commentary: This verse urges believers to lend a virtuous loan (قَرْضًا حَسَنًا) to Allah (SWT) so that God multiplies it (فَيُضَاعِفَهُ) for them (لَهُ) many manifolds (أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً). A virtuous loan is a resource spent in the way of Allah (SWT) (فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ). It includes financial support to those who strive and fight in divine causes and giving charity for the public good, such as helping the poor and needy, building schools, hospitals, etc. [Tafseer–e–Namoona, Vol.2, P. 224].
One might hold back on charity for fear that it might diminish his financial security. The verse assures him that the growth and limitation of the wealth and livelihood are in the hands of Allah (SWT) (وَاللَّـهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ), and God can give far more in return for the same amount of charity that one spends. Great rewards await the righteous upon their return to God on the Day of Judgment (وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ).
… وَاللَّـهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ ﴿٢٤٥ ﴾
2:245 …And it is Allah (SWT) who withholds and grants abundance, and to God, you will return.
Allah (SWT) is the owner of the universe, and whatever we have is from God. Nevertheless, God counts our charity as a loan to God, which God will repay several times over. Imam Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (AS) in sermon 183 states:
اسْتَنْصَرَكُمْ وَلَهُ (جُنُودُ السَّماوَاتِ وَالاْرْضِ) وَ(هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحُكِيمُ)، وَاسْتَقْرَضَكُمْ وَلَهُ (خَزَائِنُ السَّماوَاتِ وَالاْرْضِ) وَ(هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ)، وَإِنَّمَا أَرَادَ أَنْ (يَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلاً).
God seeks your help, although God possesses all the armies of the heavens and the earth (48:7), and God is the All-mighty, the All-wise (14:4). God seeks a loan from you, although God owns the treasuries of the heavens and the earth (63:7). God is the All-sufficient, the All-praiseworthy (22:64). (Rather) God intends to try you as to which of you is best in conduct (11:7).
2:245 [مَّن] who [ذَا] is the one [الَّذِي] who [يُقْرِضُ] will lend [اللَّـهَ] to Allah [قَرْضًا] a loan [حَسَنًا] good, [فَيُضَاعِفَهُ] so that God multiplies it [لَهُ] for God [أَضْعَافًا] manifolds [كَثِيرَةً] many. [وَاللَّـهُ] And Allah [يَقْبِضُ] withholds [وَيَبْسُطُ] and grants abundance [وَإِلَيْهِ] and to God [تُرْجَعُونَ] you will be returned.