Friday 23 April 2021

And spend [in the way of Allah] before death approaches you

Man is always fearful of losing a member of his family, his wealth and falling prey to a uncurbable disease. Yet he is never fearful of his death, which a stark naked reality and is bound to happen,  sooner or later. And when he is lying on his deathbed, counting his last seconds, how earnestly he wishes to have been granted more time so he could manage his affairs well or have given out some part of his wealth in charity in name of Allah so that he could be blessed. But then it is too late for life is given once and no one has a second chance.

Such people are warned by Allah in the 10th verse of Surah 63. Al Munafiqun:

وَاَنۡفِقُوۡا مِنۡ مَّا رَزَقۡنٰكُمۡ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِ اَنۡ يَّاۡتِىَ اَحَدَكُمُ الۡمَوۡتُ فَيَقُوۡلَ رَبِّ لَوۡلَاۤ اَخَّرۡتَنِىۡۤ اِلٰٓى اَجَلٍ قَرِيۡبٍۙ فَاَصَّدَّقَ وَاَكُنۡ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِيۡنَ‏ 
( 10 )   And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous."

Muhammad Asad Explanation:
" And spend on others out of what We have provided for you as sustenance, " See surah {2:3} and note:
"who believe in [the existence of] that which is beyond the reach of human perception,3 and are constant in prayer, and spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance;"
Ar-rizq ("provision of sustenance") applies to all that may be of benefit to man, whether it be concrete (like food, property, offspring, etc.) or abstract (like knowledge, piety, etc.). The "spending on others" is mentioned here in one breath with God-consciousness and prayer because it is precisely in such selfless acts that true piety comes to its full fruition. It should be borne in mind that the verb anfaqa (lit., "he spent") is always used in the Qur'an to denote spending freely on, or as a gift to, others, whatever the motive may be.

" "O my Sustainer! If only Thou wouldst grant me a delay for a short while " - Lit., "for (ila) a term close by".64_1 The above construction, pointing to man's acceptance or denial of the truth of God's creative activity, is in accord with Tabari's interpretation of this passage, as well as with that of Az-Zajjaj (quoted by Razi). According to Zamakhshari, those who deny this truth are mentioned first because they are more numerous and possess greater influence than those who consciously believe in God. A further implication appears to be this: Since all human beings are endowed with the instinctive ability to perceive the existence of the Creator (cf. 7:172), one man's denial of this truth and another's belief in it is, in the last resort, an outcome of free choice:

"AND WHENEVER thy Sustainer brings forth their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam, He [thus] calls upon them to bear witness about themselves: "Am I not your Sustainer?" - to which they answer: "Yea, indeed, we do bear witness thereto!"" (7:172)

In the original, this passage is in the past tense ("He brought forth", "He asked them", etc.) thus stressing the continuous recurrence of the above metaphorical "question" and "answer": a continuity which is more clearly brought out in translation by the use of the present tense. According to the Qur'an, the ability to perceive the existence of the Supreme Power is inborn in human nature (fitrah); and it is this instinctive cognition - which may or may not be subsequently blurred by self-indulgence or adverse environmental influences - that makes every sane human being "bear witness about himself" before God. As so often in the Qur'an, God's "speaking" and man's "answering" is a metonym for the creative act of God and of man's existential response to it.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: "Substance" or "Sustenance". Whatever good we enjoy comes from Allah, and it is our duty to use some of it in the service of others, for that is Charity and the service of Allah. Every unselfish act is Charity. And we must not postpone our good resolutions to the future. Death may come suddenly on us, and we cannot then be allowed to plead for more time. Every present moment calls urgently for its good deed.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation: There is complexity in the syntactical analysis of this sentence.

Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi has explained it He writes: In this verse, the word وَاَکُنۡ is in the form of an indefinite vowelless (muḍari sakin) verb and is apparently co-ordinated to فَاَصَّدَّقَ which itself is in the accusative. However, in my opinion, the expression وَاَکُنۡ مِّنَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ is the answer to a suppressed condition. If this suppression is revealed, then the discourse would be something to the effect: “If I had spent in charity, I would have been among the righteous.” Since the textual indication of this condition in the form of فَاَصَّدَّقَ is evident, it is suppressed. (Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i Qur’an, vol. 8, 406)

Qur'an Wiki:

With respect to charitable donations, the surah here touches their hearts in several ways: "Give, then, out of what We have provided for you." This reminds us of the source of all that we have. It is all from God in whom we believe and who instructs us to be generous and charitable. Such giving should be done "before death comes to any ofyou.. ." It should be a result of the person's own action before death overtakes him and he leaves everything behind for others to enjoy. If he does not do so then he will look around only to discover that he has put nothing forward for his own salvation. This is the worst stupidity and the greatest loss. He will then feel pangs of regret and wish he could have more time to be charitable and join with those people who are righteous.

And thus Allah warns i the very next ayah that once an appointed time comes, it can never be delayed:

وَلَنۡ يُّؤَخِّرَ اللّٰهُ نَفۡسًا اِذَا جَآءَ اَجَلُهَا​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ خَبِيۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ‏ 
( 11 )   But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

Yusuf Ali  Explanation: When our limited period of probation is over, we cannot justly ask for more time, nor will more time be given to us then. Procrastination is itself a fault, and Allah knows every hidden thought and motive in our minds.

Qur'an Wiki:
Immediately after depicting the hypocrites' characteristics and their scheming against the believers. When the believers stand firm in God's own rank, they will be protected against the hypocrites. It serves them well, then, to fulfil the duties that their faith requires of them. They must never abandon their remembrance of God, as this is the source of their ultimate safety. Thus does God use the Qur'an to educate and cultivate believers' minds and hearts.
You may like to listen to prominent Muslim scholar Nouman Ali Khan explaining the above said ayah:

Spend now in the name of Allah, before you are called back !! May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. Aameen.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
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Reading the Qur'ān 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 surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that:
  • The plain translation has been taken from the Qur'ān officially published by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [1]
  • The exegesis of the chapters of the 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. [2]  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided by [2], additional input has been interjected from following sources: 
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Al-Quran, Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
In addition the references of  other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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