An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 37

Topic: The Censure of Stingy Behavior

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chastises the stingy behavior of those who refuse to spend their money for what Allah ordered them, such as being kind to parents and compassionate to relatives, orphans, the poor, the relative who is also a neighbor, the companion during travel, the needy wayfarer, the slaves and servants. Such people do not give Allah’s right from their wealth, and they assist in the spread of stingy behavior.

The Messenger of Allah said, “What disease is more serious than being stingy!” He also said, “Beware of being stingy, for it destroyed those who were before you, as it encouraged them to cut their relations and they did, and it encouraged them to commit sin and they did.”

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then said,

وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَآ ءَاتَـهُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ

“…..and hide what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounties…”

Therefore, the miser is ungrateful for Allah’s favor, for its effect does not appear on him, whether in his food, clothes or what he gives. Similarly, Allah said in Surah Aadiyat ayaat 6-8,

إِنَّ الإِنسَـنَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ – وَإِنَّهُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ

“Verily, man is ungrateful to his Lord. And to that he bears witness.” by his manners and conduct,

وَإِنَّهُ لِحُبِّ الْخَيْرِ لَشَدِيدٌ

“And verily, he is violent in the love of wealth.”

Threatening mankind for its behavior Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends Ayah 37 by saying,

وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَـفِرِينَ عَذَاباً مُّهِيناً

“…..and We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment.”

Kufr means to cover something. Therefore, the Bakheel (miser) covers the favors that Allah has blessed him with, meaning he does not spread those favors. So he is described by the term Kafir (ungrateful) regarding the favors that Allah granted him.

A Hadith states that when Allah grants a servant a favor, He likes that its effect appears on him. Some of the Salaf stated that this Ayah [4:37] is describing the Jews who hid the knowledge they had about the description of Muhammad, and there is no doubt that the general meaning of the Ayah includes this. The apparent wording for this Ayah indicates that it is talking about being stingy with money, even though miserly conduct with knowledge is also included.

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