In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 195
This ayah introduces the 10th command under the theme of righteousness [Al-Birr] that started in ayah 177.
The past ayaat dealt with the topic of qitaal. But in order to fight the enemy, you need resources. Therefore, in this ayah Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands the Muslims to spend their wealth and resources in His way.
Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani writes: From here, jurists have deduced the ruling that Muslims have additional financial obligations other than the mandatory Zakah. But these are neither permanent nor bound by a threshold or quantity. Instead, it is obligatory on all Muslims to provide everything as and when needed. Of course, should there be no need, nothing remains obligatory.
Aslam Abu ‘Imran said, “A man from among the Ansar broke enemy (Byzantine) lines in Constantinople (Istanbul). Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari was with us then. So some people said, ‘He is throwing himself to destruction.’ Abu Ayyub said, ‘We know this ayah (2:195) better, for it was revealed about us, the Companions of Allah’s Messenger who participated in Jihad with him and aided and supported him. When Islam became strong, we, the Ansar, met and said to each other: Allah has honored us by being the Companions of His Prophet and in supporting him until Islam became victorious and its following increased. We had before ignored the needs of our families, estates and children. Warfare has ceased, so let us go back to our families and children and attend to them. So, this ayah was revealed about us, ‘Spend in the cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction,’ the destruction refers to staying with our families and estates and abandoning Jihad.’” [Recorded by Abu Daw’oud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, `Abd bin Humayd in his Tafsir, Ibn Abu Hatim, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Marduwyah, Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la in his Musnad, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim.]
The love of the temporary pleasures of this world prevent one from excelling in Deen. Because we all want to earn money and improve our financial standing, we have devoted ourselves to this world and neglected our real purpose. People miss their obligatory prayers because they are busy at work or in business meetings. Likewise, we neglect many of the commandments and do not pay attention to them such as the paying of Zakat. How many Muslims know how to calculate the annual charity? And, how many people know how to dress up nicely? Everyone knows how to beautify themselves for dunya but we do not know how to make ourselves pleasing to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu commented that this ayah is not about fighting. But refraining from spending for the sake of Allah, in which case, one will be throwing his self into destruction.
Ibn Katheer writes in his Tafseer: The ayah commands the believers to spend in Allah’s cause in various ways as a mean to drawing closer to Him. It especially applies to spending in fighting the enemies and on what strengthens the Muslims against the enemy. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states that those who refrain from spending in this regard will face utter and certain demise and destruction, meaning those who acquire this habit. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands that one should acquire ehsaan [excellence] in the religion, as it is the highest part of the acts of obedience.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands us to spend in His Cause out of our freewill. As much as we like spending on ourselves or our families, we should be eager to spend on the Deen of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. One can adopt a Masjid and pay its utility bills. One can pay the salary of the scholars teaching at many of the madaris and institutes. We complain of their fees, but have we thought how they are going to feed their children? A person can either completely devote himself to studying or teaching or focus on his business. He cannot be excellent in two completely unrelated fields. If the government does not take the responsibility to maintain Masajid and Islamic institutes, then common people will have to step up and volunteer for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Allah says, “…And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.” He reminds us that whatever good that we do, it is being noticed by Him. Giving in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is never loss of wealth. Rather, He returns the loan in a much better way. A person tastes the fruits of his voluntary charity not only in this world, but in the Hereafter too his reward is reserved.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam explained the word ehsaan as choosing for others what we choose for ourselves, and disliking for others what we dislike for ourselves. It teaches us the etiquette of giving of sadaqah. One should not donate their clutter to Masajid, before giving away anything one should first think if they will accept it if it was given to them. If expired food and broken appliances are of no use to us, then definitely they are not appropriate for anyone else either.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of those who do much good without disclosing it, and whose deeds are accepted by Him, aameen.
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