Date :Sunday, November 21st, 2021 | Time : 15:25 |ID: 238573 | Print
The Holy Quran

Allah’s (SWT) Knowledge of Charity: Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:270-272) By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:270-272)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Allah’s (SWT) Knowledge of Charity

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن نَّفَقَةٍ أَوْ نَذَرْتُم مِّن نَّذْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُهُ ۗ وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ ‎﴿٢٧٠﴾‏

2:270 And whatever you spend of expenditures or make of vows – indeed, Allah (SWT) knows of it. And for the wrongdoers there are no helpers.

Commentary: It is our duty and obligation to spend our wealth on charity and donate from the premium part of our personal property for benevolent causes with the intent to seek Allah’s pleasure. Charity nurtures humans’ personality[1], brings them closer to Allah (SWT)[2], is an atonement of their sin[3], and contrary to perception, increases their wealth[4]. Allah (SWT) receives alms[5]. Imam Sajjad (AS) states[6]:

إنَّ الصَّدَقَة لاتَقَع فی یدِ العَبدِ حتّی تَقَعُ فی یدِ الرَّب

Alms reaches God’s hand before reaching the hands of a servant. Hence, verse 2:270 assures believers that Allah (SWT) indeed knows whatever you spend in charity or vows that you make. God knows about the quality, quantity, motives, and God will reward accordingly.

وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن نَّفَقَةٍ أَوْ نَذَرْتُم مِّن نَّذْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُهُ … ‎﴿٢٧٠﴾‏‏

2:270 And whatever you spend in charity or vows that you may vow, be sure Allah (SWT) knows it all.

In the end, the verse warns that “there are no helpers for the wrongdoers (those who abandon spending on charity).

… وَمَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ أَنصَارٍ ‎﴿٢٧٠﴾‏

The wrongdoers are well-off people who do not spend their wealth on charity. They violate the right of the needy, poor, and impoverished people and commit injustice against them. Consequently, they will not receive salvation in the Hereafter unless the indigents forgive them for the injustice that they have committed against them. This conclusion is supported by verse 74:41 (Al-Muddaththir), which states that the guilty parties will be asked about which actions had brought them to the Hellfire on the Day of Judgment. They will reply that they abandoned their prayers and feeding the poor:

قَالُوا لَمْ نَكُ مِنَ الْمُصَلِّينَ ‎﴿٤٣﴾‏ وَلَمْ نَكُ نُطْعِمُ الْمِسْكِينَ ‎﴿٤٤﴾‏

Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:271)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

How to Give Alms

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

إِن تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ ۖ وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۚ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ ‎﴿٢٧١﴾‏

2:271 If you disclose your charitable expenditures, they are good; but if you conceal them and give them to the poor, it is better for you, and God will remove from you some of your misdeeds (thereby). And Allah (SWT), with what you do, is (fully) Acquainted.

Commentary: The word “As-Sadaqat” (الصَّدَقَاتِ) is the plural of “As-Sadaqah” (الصَّدَقَه), which means expenditure in the way of Allah (SWT). It is a general word used for both obligatory and voluntary spending. The word “Alms” is the closest equivalent word to “As-Sadaqah”.

The verse approves giving alms either openly or secretly. Almsgiving openly encourages others to join in giving to a benevolent cause. The drawback is that the benefactor is recognized publicly, which can taint his pure intention. Giving charity in secret safeguards the purity of intention and is far removed from showiness and reproach. For this reason, the verse puts more weight on giving alms privately.

Some commentators have said that the verse commands the recommended alms should be given in secret, and obligatory alms such as zakat and Khums should be given openly[7]. Let’s look at the verse more closely.

The verse states, “If you disclose your charitable expenditures (إِن تُبْدُوا الصَّدَقَاتِ), they are good” (فَنِعِمَّا هِيَ), “but if you conceal them (وَإِن تُخْفُوهَا) and give them to the poor, it is better for you” (وَتُؤْتُوهَا الْفُقَرَاءَ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ) “and God will remove from you some of your sins (thereby) (وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنكُم مِّن سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ).  The phrase “some of your sins” implies that almsgiving is atonement for a portion of one’s sins, which depends on the “amount of charity” and “degree of sincerity”.

In the end, the verse states, “And Allah (SWT), with what you do, is (fully) Acquainted” (وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ). He is aware of the quality and quantity of the charity and the purity of intention of the benefactor.

Commentary on the Quran (Chapter 2:272)

By: Mohammad Sobhanie

Responsibility in Giving Charity

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ ‎﴿٢٧٢﴾‏

2:272 Not upon you, [O Muhammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allah (SWT) guides whom God wills. And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allah (SWT). And whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.

Commentary: The Prophet (PBUH) observed that some believers sincerely spend on charity. In contrast, others either indulge in reproach and injury or were reluctant to spend on charity from their premium property. This observation saddened the Prophet (PBUH). Therefore, Allah (SWT) consoled God’s Prophet that he was not responsible for their guidance[8] (لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ). That is, the Prophet (PBUH) would not be responsible if someone decided to spend their blemished properties on charity or if someone decided to donate for fame instead of for the sake of Allah (SWT).

The verse continues to say, “But Allah (SWT) guides whom God wills (according to Divine Merits)” (وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ). For those who strive to be guided, Allah (SWT) takes their hands and guides them further. For those who persistently disobey Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) will leave them to their errors.

The verse states, “And whatever good you (believers) spend (its reward) is for yourselves” (وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُمْ). Then the verse advises, “do not spend except seeking the face of Allah (SWT)” (وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ). (Rest assured) whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you” (وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ) and “and you will not be wronged” (وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ). That is, all that you spend will be returned to you in full on the day when you are most in need of it, so be utterly generous in your almsgiving.

(وَجْهِ اللَّهِ) means the face of Allah (SWT). In general, we look towards someone’s face to reach out to God. Hence, (ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ) means seeking the face of Allah (SWT) or seeking closeness to Allah (SWT). Therefore, (وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ابْتِغَاءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ) means “you do not spend except seeking the closeness to Allah (SWT)”.

Word-for-Word Translation:

2:270 [وَمَا] And whatever [أَنفَقْتُم] you spend [مِّن] out of [نَّفَقَةٍ] your expenditures [أَوْ] or [نَذَرْتُم] you vow [مِّن] of [نَّذْرٍ] vows [فَإِنَّ] then indeed [اللَّهَ] Allah [يَعْلَمُهُ] knows it. [وَمَا] And not [لِلظَّالِمِينَ] for the wrongdoers [مِنْ] any [أَنصَارٍ] helpers.

2:271 [إِن] if [تُبْدُوا] you disclose [الصَّدَقَاتِ] the charities [فَنِعِمَّا] then good [هِيَ] it is. [وَإِن] But if [تُخْفُوهَا] you keep it secret [وَتُؤْتُوهَا] and give it [الْفُقَرَاءَ] to the poor [فَهُوَ] then it [خَيْرٌ] is better [لَّكُمْ] for you. [وَيُكَفِّرُ] And He will remove [عَنكُم] from you [مِّن] of [سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ] your evil deeds. [وَاللَّهُ] And Allah [بِمَا] with what [تَعْمَلُونَ] you do [خَبِيرٌ] is All-Aware.

2:272 [لَّيْسَ] Not [عَلَيْكَ] on you [هُدَاهُمْ] is their guidance. [وَلَٰكِنَّ] And but [اللَّهَ] Allah [يَهْدِي] guides [مَن] whom [يَشَاءُ] He wills. [وَمَا] And whatever [تُنفِقُوا] you spend [مِنْ] of [خَيْرٍ] good [فَلِأَنفُسِكُمْ] then it is for yourself. [وَمَا] And not [تُنفِقُونَ] you spend [إِلَّا] except [ابْتِغَاءَ] seeking [وَجْهِ] the face [اللَّهِ] of Allah. [وَمَا] And what [تُنفِقُوا] you spend [مِنْ] of [خَيْرٍ] good [يُوَفَّ] will be repaid in full [إِلَيْكُمْ] to you [وَأَنتُمْ] and you [لَا] will not [تُظْلَمُونَ] be wronged.

Appendix:

خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِم بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ ۖ إِنَّ صَلَاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَّهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ‎﴿١٠٣﴾‏ أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَأْخُذُ الصَّدَقَاتِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ‎﴿١٠٤﴾‏

2:103 Take charity from their possessions to cleanse them and purify them thereby and bless them. Indeed, your blessing is a comfort to them, and Allah (SWT) is all-hearing, all-knowing.

2:104 Do they not know that it is Allah (SWT) who accepts the repentance of God’s servants and receives the charities, and that it is Allah who is the All-clement, the All-merciful?

 

[1] Al-Baqara, 2:261

[2] At-Tawba 9:99

[3] Al-Baqarah,2:268

[4] Al-Baqarah,2:268

[5] Al-Tawbah, 2:268

[6] Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol.8, P.122

[7] Tafseer-e-Namoona, Vol.2, P.345

[8] Al-Mizan, Vol. 2. P. 611

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *