Al-Baqarah · Juz 2 · Qur'an Tafseer

Do Not Advertise Your Generosity


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

advertising our deeds

Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 215 (Part 2)

Part 1

In the world of social media, a disease that has plagued us is showing-off. We do one good deed and it seems we must take its picture and announce to the world. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is knowing of it.” If we have done a good deed solely to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then we will be content with keeping it a secret between ourselves and Al-Khabeer. He knows it all and He will reward us according to our intention.   


This ayah teaches us to be generous and to spend from the good. Remember that having wealth is not despised. We have the examples of rich Companions such as Abu Bakr Siddeeq, Uthman ibn Affan and ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Awf radhiAllahu ‘anhum who were as generous as they had been favored by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They would earn from one hand and give away from another. They did not show off their wealth to people.

[Ungratefulness of Man and His Zeal for Wealth]

Abu Bakr radhiAllahu ‘anhu was often rebuked by his father for giving away their wealth in freeing off poor slaves. His father would say: What will you get by helping the poor? The generous son would reply: I seek my reward from Allah.

‘Uthman ibn Affan radhiAllahu ‘anhu was known for his shyness. He was shy even when helping others. In an incident it has been recorded that when he met a boy whose financial condition was not good, ‘Uthman got him a garment and asked the boy to go home and show it to his parents. When the boy wore the garment and placed his hands in the pocket, he found 10,000 Dirhams hidden inside. ‘Uthman ibn Affan radhiAllahu ‘anhu did not want to embarrass the child so he concealed the favor. Imagine the adab! And how are we? When we do someone a favor, we have to advertise to the world how generous we are! Our Facebook status updates and Instagram photos, what do they tell us about ourselves?

[Showing Off in Islam]

‘Abdur Rahman ibn Awf radhiAllahu ‘anhu was a skilled businessman. It was said that whatever he laid his hands on would turn into gold. However, affluence did not corrupt his heart. He understood that this was the favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and if he has been blessed then he must pay it forward. Unlike Qaroon, he did not label Allah’s favors as his right.

One day a loud rumbling sound was heard in Madinah. People thought perhaps they have been struck by an earthquake. The ground was shaking and there was dust everywhere. It was ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Awf returning after another successful business trip. He had brought along seven hundred camels loaded with goods which were all distributed among the people of Madinah.

It was this generosity of the Sabahah radhiAllahu ‘anhum that a day arrived in Madinah when it was difficult to find a needy person. Their mutual cooperation and love for one another had wiped out poverty. But why is it that we get impressed by these stories and are unmoved? Why are our hearts filled with stinginess? If we have to share our bag of chips with others, we make a face, imagine giving away all your wealth for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the key phrase in all the ayaat of charity. Do not give to show-off, to toot your horn on social media, to embarrass another person, or to gather praises from the people. Conceal your favors and let this be a secret between you and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Remember that rewards are according to one’s intention. Keep you intentions pure.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayah 215

رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيم
“Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” [Al-Baqarah 2: 127]



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