Thursday 26 October 2023

What is better than charity that is followed by hurt

No two men are gifted equally when it comes to means of sustenance "Rizq - رزق". However, in Islam, a system of obligatory charity (Zakat) and voluntary charity (Sadaqat) has been instituted to narrow down the gap between the HAVEs and HAVE NOTs. We will not go into details as to what is being said on the importance of above said two categories of charity both in Qur'an and Sunnah as we have written a number of posts on these.

Please refer to our reference page on: Importance of Charity in Islam, to know more about charity, especially the post: Believers should never nullify their acts of charit which follows the verse being shared today.

But is there anything better than charity?

Today, we in this post, share a rather different view on charity as is mentioned in the 263rd verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah (The Cow). This is specially meant for those who though apparently give lot in charity but may not be accruing the expected rewards from Allah.

قَوۡلٌ مَّعۡرُوۡفٌ وَّمَغۡفِرَةٌ خَيۡرٌ مِّنۡ صَدَقَةٍ يَّتۡبَعُهَاۤ اَذًى​ؕ وَاللّٰهُ غَنِىٌّ حَلِيۡمٌ‏ 
(2:263) To speak a kind word and to forgive people’s faults is better than charity followed by hurt. Allah is All-Sufficient (Al Ghani الغنى), All-Forbearing (Al-Halim (الحليم)).
This implies two things. First, Allah does not stand in need of anybody's charity, for He is Self-Sufficient. Secondly, He likes those people who are generous and large-hearted, but does not like frivolous and narrow-minded people, for He Himself is Generous, Clement and Forbearing. How, then Allah, Who bestows on the people the necessities of life without stint, and forgives and pardons them over and over again in spite of their errors, would like those who mar the self-respect of a person by sending repeated reminders of their charity and making pointed references to it even though they might have given only a farthing.

A Tradition of the Holy Prophet says that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will neither speak a word nor even so much as look at a person who makes pointed references to the gift, he gave to someone.  

Yusuf Ali Explanation
A very high standard is set for charity. (1) It must be in the way of God. (2) It must expect no reward in this world. (3) It must not be followed by references or reminders to the act of charity. (4) Still less should any annoyance or injury be caused to the recipient; e.g. by boasting that the giver relieved the person in the hour of need. Indeed, kindness and the spirit which turns a blind eye to other people's faults or short-comings is the essence of charity: these things are better than charity if charity is spoilt by tricks that do harm. At the same time, while no reward is to be expected, there is abundant reward from God - material, moral, and spiritual - according to His own good pleasure and plan. If we spend in the way of God, it is not as if God was in need of our charity. On the contrary, our short-comings are so great that we require His utmost forbearance before any good that we can do can merit His praise or reward. Our motives are so mixed that our best may really be very poor if judged by a very strict standard.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
This verse reasserts the idea that a charitable act followed by wicked behaviour is worthless. A pleasant word or a kind-hearted gesture would be far more favourable and likely to spread trust, confidence and love and to calm the hearts and souls. Charity, after all, is not a favour from the giver to the recipient, but an obligation towards God who is: “free of all wants, clement.” He neither needs these pitiful donations nor is He anxious to exact punishment on the ungrateful. All people owe their very existence to God Almighty. He overlooks many of their shortcomings, and they ought to learn from Him by showing forgiveness and compassion towards the poor and the needy.

The Qur’ān always reminds people of the attributes of God, which provide the perfect ideal Muslims should try to emulate, as far as they can, in their behaviour, and in their values and aspirations.

When the previous verses have given the believers a keen sense of their role and the need to give freely, for no purpose other than to earn God’s pleasure, the sūrah advises them not to undermine their charitable deeds with condescension or by hurting other people’s feelings. Again, it gives a vivid and lively illustration from nature, in which ideas and concepts are reflected in exciting movement and vivid scenery.

So be very generous, brothers and sisters in Islam. Give out to charities, especially voluntary ones, to help people smilingly, rather than hurting them by scorn remarks after throwing a few coins on them. And remember, speaking softly to people and forgiving them for hurting you is better charity than a show-off charity or the one followed by some hurtful remarks.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

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. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read more posts on similar theme in our series of posts related to: Importance of charity in Islam

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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 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.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, 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.

Disclaimer: The material for this post has been collected from the references given above. If anyone differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

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