Date :Sunday, September 26th, 2021 | Time : 16:53 |ID: 232128 | Print

Etiquettes of Giving Alms: Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:264-265) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:264-265)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Etiquettes of Giving Alms

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا ۖ لَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۗ وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿٢٦٤

2:264 O’ you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders of your generosity or by hurtful words-like does one who spends his wealth (only) to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day. God’s example is like that of a (large) smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable (to keep) anything of what they have earned. And Allah (SWT) does not guide the disbelieving people.

Commentary: Verse 2: 264 states that blaming and harming the recipient of alms invalidates the Divine Value of charity:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ … ﴿٢٦٤

2:264 O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders of your generosity or by hurtful words…

Those who rebuke (اَلْمَنُّ) and insult (الْأَذَىٰ) the beneficiary are like those who give alms in public to gain fame and reputation. Of course, such people do not believe in the eternal reward of charity in the Hereafter:

… كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ … ﴿٢٦٤

2:264 …-like does one who spends his wealth (only) to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah (SWT) and the Last Day…

Those who invalidate their charity are like farmers who sow seeds in a thin layer of soil (فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ). Heavy rain pours (فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ) and washes away dirt, along with the germinated seeds and leaves behind only the bare rock (فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا). Hence, they end up with no corps from what they had initially planted (لَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا).

The verse concludes, “Allah (SWT) does not guide the disbelieving people (due to their insincerity)” (وَاللَّـهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ).

Appendix-1: The commentary of Al-Mizan, Vol. 2, P. 596 states: “Al-Mann[1]” (اَلْمَنُّ) means saying something that may turn the pleasure of receiving charity into shame and embarrassment, such as to humiliate the beneficiary by reminding him of the alms that he has 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 to harm, hurt, and insult.

“As-Safwan” (الصَفْوَانٍ) and “As-Safa” (الصَّفَا) are smooth, hard rock. “As-Salda” (الصَلْدًا) also means a smooth, hard rock from which nothing can grow. “Al-Wabil” (الوَابِلٌ) is heavy rain that descends with force.

The Etiquettes of Giving Alms

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ وَتَثْبِيتًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةٍ بِرَبْوَةٍ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ فَآتَتْ أُكُلَهَا ضِعْفَيْنِ فَإِن لَّمْ يُصِبْهَا وَابِلٌ فَطَلٌّ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ ﴿٢٦٥

2:265 And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking to please Allah and keep firm their souls (to focus on this objective) is like a garden on high ground which is hit by a downpour – so it yields its fruits in double. And (even) if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle (is sufficient to produce harvest). And Allah (SWT), of what you do, is Seeing.

Commentary: Verse 2:264 warns that two groups nullify their eternal rewards for charity: 1) those who spend to be admired by others (رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ) and 2) those who give charity for the sake of Allah (SWT) but later criticize (اَلْمَنُّ) and insult (الْأَذَىٰ) the beneficiary of their charity.

Verse 2:265 introduces the third group who spend their wealth solely to please Allah (SWT) (الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ) and then ‘‘keep firm their souls’’ lest they take any action to nullify their eternal rewards[2] (وَتَثْبِيتًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ).

Mardati Allahi” (مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ) means “the pleasure of Allah (SWT)” and implies seeking pleasure and enjoyment in life from doing what Allah (SWT) has commanded.

The analogy of people who spend for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) (مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ) is a garden in a fertile land at a high elevation that does not fail to produce crops. However, the yield may vary in quality and quantity depending on the amount of rain that falls. Heavy rainfall brings abundant fruit and other crops, and even a drizzle could produce some amount of harvest:

وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمُ ابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِ اللَّـهِ وَتَثْبِيتًا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةٍ بِرَبْوَةٍ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ فَآتَتْ أُكُلَهَا ضِعْفَيْنِ فَإِن لَّمْ يُصِبْهَا وَابِلٌ فَطَلٌّ ۗ … ﴿٢٦٥

2:265 And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking to please Allah (SWT) and keep firm their souls (to focus on this objective) is like a garden on high ground which is hit by a downpour – so it yields its fruits in double. And (even) if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle (is sufficient to produce harvest).

A charity for the sake of Allah (SWT) always yields a reward. However, the quality and quantity of the reward depend on the purity of the intention. The verse concludes by stating, ‘‘And Allah (SWT) is aware of what you do’’ (وَاللَّـهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ). God knows whether almsgiving is divinely motivated or hypocritical, whether it is accompanied by reproach and injury or love and respect.

“Al-Rabwah” (الرﱠﺑﻮْة) means a fertile land at high elevation, “Wabil” (وَابِلٌ) means heavy rain, and “At-Tall” (الطَلٌّ) refers to a drizzle.

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

[2] Al-Mizan Vol.2 P.600

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