Date :Sunday, September 12th, 2021 | Time : 17:44 |ID: 230274 | Print

Etiquettes of Giving Alms: Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:262-263) By Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:262-263)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Etiquettes of Giving Alms

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى ۙ لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ﴿٢٦٢

2:262 Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah (SWT) and then do not follow up what they spent with reminders of their generosity or with insults, they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.

Commentary on the 1st Etiquettes: The verse asserts that Allah (SWT) will significantly reward those who give charity, and they will neither fear for their future nor grieve for their past:

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ….  لَّهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ﴿٢٦٢

2:168 Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah (SWT)…they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.

The word “Khawfun” (خَوْفٌ) means fear of the future, and “Al-Huzn” (الْحُزْنُ) means grief of the past. Hence, the phrase (وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ) implies those who give charity neither would be afraid at the time of reckoning in the Day of Judgment nor grieve over the wealth they spent on charity during their life in this world[1]. Some commentators suggest that they will also have no fear that giving charity might push them to poverty in the future[2].

However, there is a catch. Charity should not be followed by reproach and insult (ثُمَّ لَا يُتْبِعُونَ مَا أَنفَقُوا مَنًّا وَلَا أَذًى). That is, the benefactor should neither remind his generosity to the beneficiary of the charity nor verbally insult the alms’ recipient. Doing so shows that charity was not sincerely in “the way of Allah (SWT)” (فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ).

Poverty and the lack of opportunity to fulfill financial obligations are so painful that individuals are forced to forego their pride and request charity. Allah (SWT) rewards those who help their brethren in religion and humanity. However, a person who insults and humiliates his charity’s beneficiary may have done far more harm than good. Thus, it would be utterly just for such people to lose their reward. In reality, such people are indebted to the alms’ recipients because human honor is far more valuable than wealth and property.

Prophet (PBUH) said[3]:

مَنْ أَسْدى إِلى مُؤْمِن مَعْرُوفاً ثُمَّ آذاهُ بِالْکَلامِ أَوْ مَنَّ عَلَیْهِ فَقَدْ أَبْطَلَ اللّهُ صَدَقَتَهُ

Whoever does a good to a believer, then insults him verbally, or remind him of his generosity, Allah (SWT) will nullify his almsgiving.

Al-Itba” (اَلْاِتْبَاعُ) is used with both transitive and intransitive meanings[4]. It means to pursue and to follow as to attach one thing to follow the other. This word has been used in these two meanings in the Quran. In verse 26:60 (فَأَتْبَعُوهُم مُّشْرِقِينَ): “Then they (Firon) pursued them (the Children of Israel) at sunrise” and also in verse 28:42 (وَأَتْبَعْنَاهُمْ فِي هَـٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا لَعْنَةً): “We made a curse to follow them (Firon).”

“Al-Mann” (اَلْمَنُّ) means to say what may turn the charity into annoyance, such as reminding the beneficiary of the charity they received. The root meaning of this word is “to cut.” The word has been used in this meaning in verse 41:8 (لَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ): “For them surely is a reward never to be cut off.” ‘‘Al-Adha’’ (اَلْاذی) is immediate harm or a small injury.

The Second Etiquettes of Giving Alms

قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٌ ﴿٢٦٣

2:263 Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah (SWT) is Free of need and Forbearing.

Commentary on the 2nd Etiquettes:: The verse says, “Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury.” (قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى)

The verse implies that when someone asks for help, the benefactor should either compassionately fulfill the suppliant’s needs or apologize and excuse himself politely.

A suppliant may get upset by the lack of or the inadequacy of help and say unpleasant comments. In this case, the benefactor should remain silent, forgive the suppliant’s statements and empathize with him. This verse emphasizes that the worst thing a person can do is give alms to the needy out of frustration and then annoy him with his words.

The verse ends with stating “And Allah (SWT) is Free of need and Forbearing.” (وَاللَّـهُ غَنِيٌّ حَلِيمٌ) This implies that the believers should take the colors of the attributes of Allah[5] [2:138 (صِبْغَةَ اللَّـهِ)]. As Allah (SWT) is Self-Sufficient, the believer should only see himself in need of God, not on what he spends on charity. If he does, he will withhold from spending on charity. Second, as Allah (SWT) forbears with His servants, forgives their shortcomings, and covers their faults, we should also be patient with each other.

The Prophet (PBUH) said[6]:

اِذا سَئَلَ السّائِلُ فَلاتَقْطَعُوا عَلَیْهِ مَسْأَلَتَهُ حَتّى یَفْرُغَ مِنْها، ثُمَّ رُدُّوا عَلَیْهِ بِوَقار وَ لِیْن اِمّا بَذْل یَسِیْر أَوْ رَدٍّ جَمِیْل فَاِنَّهُ قَدْ یَأْتِیْکُمْ مَنْ لَیْسَ بِاِنْس وَ لا جانٍّ یَنْظُرُونَ کَیْفَ صَنِیْعُکُمْ فِیْما خَوَّلَکُمُ اللّهُ تَعالى

When a needy person asks for help, do not interrupt him until he explains all his needs. Then, respond to him with respect, courtesy, and gentleness. Either help him with what you have in your possession or apologize and excuse yourself politely. Be aware; the questioner may be an angel testing generosity in exchange for the blessings that Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon you.

The verse states “Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah (SWT) is Free of need and Forbearing.”

Qawlun MaAAroofun” (قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ) means kind word and includes kind speech, good gesture, sympathy, and guidance. “Maghfirah” (مَغْفِرَةٌ) means to cover and implies forgiveness. “Al-Ghina” (غَنِيٌّ) means self-sufficient, free of need and its antonym is “Faqra” (فَقْرَ) need and poverty. In Chapter Mohammad (47:7), the Qur’an states, “Allah (SWT) is the Free of need, while you are the needy.” (وَاللَّـهُ الْغَنِيُّ وَأَنتُمُ الْفُقَرَاءُ) “Al-Haleem” (حَلِيمٌ) means forbearance, to remain silent when confronted with disagreeable words or actions[7].

[1] Al-Mizan, Vol.2, P.596

[2] Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol.2, P.319

[3] Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol. 2, P. 319

[4] Al-Mizan

[5] [Al-Baqara 2:138 (صِبْغَةَ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ صِبْغَةً ۖ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ ﴿١٣٨﴾)]

[6] Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol. 2, P.321

[7] Al-Mizan, Vol. 2, P. 596

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