In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 269 – 270
‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated from the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,
لَا حَسَدَ إِلَّا فِي اثْنَتَيْنِ: رَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللهُ مَالًا فَسَلَّطَهُ عَلَى هَلَكَتِهِ فِي الْحَقِّ، وَرَجُلٌ آتَاهُ اللهُ حِكْمَةً فَهُوَ يَقْضِي بِهَا وَيُعَلِّمُهَا
“There is no envy except in two instances: a person whom Allah has endowed with wealth and he spends it righteously, and a person whom Allah has given Hikmah and he judges by it and teaches it to others.” [Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Majah]
The word Hikmah [wisdom] appears repeatedly in the Qur’an, and at every place, it has a different meaning. It is the verbal noun of ihkam which means “to complete what is said or done with all its properties and requisites,”
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu is of the view that the Hikmah [wisdom] mentioned here means the knowledge of the Qur’an. He who understands the Qur’an is truly blessed. This is a person who has understood what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala expects from us and what are the things that we need to keep away. Such a person understands the purpose of his life. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us all from the people of the Qur’an, grant us its understanding and allow us to live by it, aameen.
Further explaining what hikmah means by the understanding of the Qur’an Ibn ‘Abbas commented that it means knowing which ayaat are abrogated, what is plain and clear, and what is not as plain and clear, what is allowed and what is not allowed, and the meaning of the parables. Many people attempt to interpret the Qur’an on their own or are so loyal to their respective scholar that they will not listen to anyone else. We should remember that all of us are humans and bound to err. We should ask directly from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to open up our hearts to the understanding of the Qur’an, and lead us to the best sources or scholars that will protect us from falling into Fitnah [trial] or error.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then reminds us of deeply saddening situation, He says, “But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding.” How true it is! How many people really incline toward studying the Book of Allah or reflecting on the purpose of their existence? Many of us are just passing our days, fidgeting until death. Only a handful of us take a break from the chaotic lifestyle that we have adopted and reflect over the purpose of our life. Our worldly chores and commitments take precedence over studying the Book of Allah hence there are only a few people of understanding. Describing them Ibn Katheer writes they are those who have sound minds and good comprehension with which they understand the words (of advice and reminder) and their implications. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make us of the people of understanding. Aameen.
The scholars explain that Hikmah means having the skill to say or do the right thing at the right time.
Notice that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about Hikmah right after the ayaat of charity. It is because many people do not know where to spend their money. Many people only spend on themselves or occasionally donate a dollar or two to the Masjid. However, those who are the people of understanding their vision is not limited to the worldly desires. They foresee things and plan accordingly. They do not give occasional charity here and there, but keep coming up with new ideas to give in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Hence, we learn that only earning or acquiring wealth is not enough but we should also know how to spend it. It is then no wonder that today many big universities offer financial planning and money management courses.
-We should remember that we will be questioned not only about how we earned money but also where we spent it. What could be a better investment than investing in the Hereafter? Therefore, we should not let Shaytan discourage us from spending in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or studying His Book.
-The students and teachers of the Qur’an who have been blessed by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala should remember that this is only due to the favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Now not only are they supposed to live according to the Book of Allah, but also transfer this knowledge to others. Many live their lives in ignorance. They are so indulged in their dunya then they don’t have time (or yearning) to study the Book of Allah. Unless the learned reach out to them, people will remain in loss. Therefore, the learned should not only take pride in being knowledgeable but also understand their responsibility.
-How does one acquire wisdom? By sitting in the company of the righteous and through the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The one who will be conscious of the fact that one day he has to give an account of all that he has done in his worldly life, he will be determined to learn what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants from him.
-He who fears Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will not be squandering his wealth, living an extravagant lifestyle or throwing expensive wedding banquets. He will be conscious of every penny that he earns and spends.
We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for wisdom – the ability to comprehend the Qur’an as it must be, teach it to others and the ability to say and do the right thing at the right time. Allahumma ameen.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “And whatever you spend for spending or whatever vow you make, be sure Allah knows it all.” He has perfect knowledge of our deeds – the good and the bad – we don’t need to toot our own horns. He rewards tremendously for these deeds, provided they are performed seeking His Face and His promise.
[About vow [nadhr/nazr] we should remember that this is not something pleasing. Are we putting a condition with Allah that if You do this-and-this then I will do this-and-this?]
The ayah reminds us to not advertise our good deeds or toot our own horns. Today, in the culture of instant gratification people are unable to keep their secrets to themselves. Do a good deed, take a selfie and throw it on the social media has become the norm. We need to remind ourselves that by doing this we are actually wasting our deeds. Are we seeking the validation of other people? Deeds should be done sincerely for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala seeking His pleasure alone. Treat your deeds (good or bad) as a secret with Him. There is no need to tell people what we do in our private lives.
This is an ayah that we should remember when people do not appreciate us especially in personal matters. We intend to do good but people misjudge us. Instead of turning bitter or giving up the good that we are doing, we should remember that the Ever Watchful and the Most Appreciative knows. He is the Only One that we should intend to please, therefore be calm in your heart.
“And for the Zalimoon [wrong-doers, etc.] there are no helpers,” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns those who do not live according to His instructions, but instead disobey His command, reject His revelation and worship others besides Him. Such people will have no one to save them on the Day of Resurrection.
A person who is unjust – does injustice to others or disobeys a command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala – is deprived of the help of Allah. Therefore, when there is a blockade in our path we should first look at our actions. Are we obedient to Him? How can we seek His helps when we are continuously displeasing Him?
We seek refuge with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala from blowing our own horns, wasting our deeds by way of riya [show off] and from being unjust. Allahumma ameen.
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