Monday 2 December 2019

Selected Verses from Quran: Believers should Never Nullify their Acts of Charity

Charity in Islam assumes a very important part of the society for it is through this voluntary spending, the have nots of the society can also live a comfortable life. Many people confuse charity with Zakat. In Islam Zakat is an obligatory charity and one of the five pillars of Islam. It is mandatory on all adult Muslims who should give a a fixed amount of their annual income to the poor. But voluntary charity is over and above the mandatory charity (zakat). The voluntary charity, often called sadaqa, can be as little as a smile or as big as something that has no bounds.

The Prophet said: “Your smile for your brother is a charity. Your removal of stones, thorns or bones from the paths of people is a charity. Your guidance of a person who is lost is a charity.” (Bukhari) At another place the Prophet says: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi).

Now why have I chosen this verse as part of the series of posts on Selected Verses from the Qur'an? While charity is something that would elevate the giver in the eyes of Allah, it should not be so given with the intention of a show off or gaining popularity in the society for being a philanthropist. For such show off people, the following verse is a stern warning for "False Charity" may nullify one's good act to a naught.

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تُبۡطِلُوۡا صَدَقٰتِكُمۡ بِالۡمَنِّ وَالۡاَذٰىۙ كَالَّذِىۡ يُنۡفِقُ مَالَهٗ رِئَآءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤۡمِنُ بِاللّٰهِ وَالۡيَوۡمِ الۡاٰخِرِ​ؕ فَمَثَلُهٗ كَمَثَلِ صَفۡوَانٍ عَلَيۡهِ تُرَابٌ فَاَصَابَهٗ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهٗ صَلۡدًا ​ؕ لَا يَقۡدِرُوۡنَ عَلٰى شَىۡءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوۡا ​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ لَا يَهۡدِى الۡقَوۡمَ الۡـكٰفِرِيۡنَ‏ 

(2:264) Believers! Do not nullify your acts of charity by stressing your benevolence and causing hurt as does he who spends his wealth only to be seen by people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. The example of his spending is that of a rock with a thin coating of earth upon it: when a heavy rain smites it, the earth is washed away, leaving the rock bare; such people derive no gain from their acts of charity. Allah does not set the deniers of the Truth on the Right Way.
The desire to display one's good deeds itself proves that the person concerned does not truly believe in God and the Hereafter. One who does good merely in order to impress people with his righteousness clearly regards those persons as his god. Such a person neither expects reward from God nor is he concerned that his good deeds will some day be reckoned to his credit.

In this parable, 'heavy rain' signifies charity, and 'rock' the wicked intent and motive which lie behind external acts of charity. The expression, 'with a thin coating of earth upon it' signifies the external aspect of charity which conceals the wicked intent and motive of a man. These explanations make the significance and purport of the parable clear. The natural effect of rainfall should be the growth of plants and harvest. But if the earth, which is the repository of fertility, is insignificant in quantity, for example only a coating of it on some rock, the result will be that instead of yielding any beneficial result the rainfall may even prove harmful. Similarly, charity has the capacity to generate goodness and benevolence in human beings. Man's potential for goodness, however, is conditional on sincerity. Devoid of that charity leads to sheer loss and waste.

Here the term kafir is used in the sense of the ungrateful person who refuses to acknowledge benevolence. People who either make use of the bounties of God in order to seek the gratitude of God's creatures rather than God's good pleasure, or who spend on others and then hurt them by stressing their acts of benevolence and kindness, are ungrateful to God for His bounties and favours. Since such people do not seek to please God, God does not care to direct them to the way that leads to His good pleasure.

To sum up the verse, False Charity, "to be seen of men", is really no charity. It is worse, for it betokens a disbelief in God and the Hereafter. "God seeth well whatever ye do" (ii. 265). It is compared to a hard barren rock on which by chance has fallen a little soil. Good rain, which renders fertile soil more fruitful, washes away the little soil which this rock had, and exposes its nakedness. What good can hypocrites derive even from the little wealth they may have amassed?

May Allah help us understand Qur'an and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

Please refer to our other posts on Charity:
Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |
Reading the Holy Quran should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully.

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the Sūrahs of the Holy Qur'an from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Holy Quran officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the Holy Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. 
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given in each page. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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Jazak Allah khair for providing us an opportunity to read n benefit from very well researched blog on various forms of charity in the light of Quran n Sunnah.

Jazak Allah khair for writing valuable blog highlighting important quran instructions on charity.May Allah swt give us taufeeq to act upon them.Ameen.

Thanks Dr Sajjad and Jamil for support

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