Aal-Imran · Juz 4 · Qur'an Tafseer

Al-Birr [Righteousness] is Spending from the Best in the Way of Allah SWT

Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 92

In the previous ayaat, we have learned the different ways of giving in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The Qur’an begins with the definition of a believer that he is the one who establishes prayer and gives from what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has provided him. We learned the encouragement to start from the near relatives. Spend on your parents, your siblings, near relatives, the orphans, the needy and the travelers. We also learned the permissibility of disclosing our sadaqaat and the most preferred and liked way of giving which is to conceal our sadaqaat.

We learned that kind speech is better than charity that is followed by insults and injury.

The ayah under study presents another etiquette of spending for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and that is to give from your best wealth. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,

In his Tafseer, Waki’ reported that ‘Amr ibn Maymun said that Al-Birr in the ayah refers to attaining Paradise. It means we cannot attain Paradise unless we spend from what we love for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

[What is Al-Birr?]

Imam Ahmad reported that Anas ibn Maalik radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Abu Talhah had more property than any other among the Ansaar in Madinah. The garden of Bayruha’ was the most beloved of his properties to him. It was located in front of the Prophet’s Mosque where the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would sometimes go and drink its fresh water.” Anas added, “When these ayaat were revealed, Abu Talhah said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Allah says: Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. No doubt, Bayruha’ garden is the most beloved of all my properties to me. I want to give it in charity in Allah’s cause, and I expect its reward and compensation from Allah. O Allah’s Messenger, spend it where Allah makes you think is feasible.’ On that, Allah’s Messenger said,

بَخٍ بَخٍ، ذَاكَ مَالٌ رَابِحٌ، ذَاكَ مَالٌ رَابِحٌ، وَقَدْ سَمِعْتُ، وَأَنَا أَرَى أَنْ تَجْعَلَهَا فِي الْأَقْرَبِين

‘Well-done! It is profitable property, it is profitable property. I have heard what you have said, and I think it would be proper if you gave it to your kith and kin.’

Abu Talhah said, ‘I will do so, O Allah’s Messenger.’ Then Abu Talhah distributed that garden among his relatives and cousins.”

This hadeeth was recorded in the Two Saheehs. They also recorded that ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “O Messenger of Allah! I never gained possession of a piece of property more precious to me than my share in Khaybar. Therefore, what do you command me to do with it?” The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,

حَبِّسِ الْأَصْلَ وَسَبِّلِ الثَّمَرَة

“Retain the land to give its fruits in Allah’s cause.”

[Hadeeth Commentary: Love for Your Brother, What You Love for Yourself]

Lessons:
  • We should all reflect on our heart’s condition when it comes to giving others. What kind of things do we give to others? The best or the discarded and rejected? What kind of food do we give to our house servants, the freshly cooked – the one that we eat – or the rotten? What about the clothes? The same branded (brand new) clothes that we wear or the torn and worn out?Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says we cannot attain good reward unless we give from the best in His Way.

  • We believe that when we give someone a thing, we are doing a favor on him or her. The reality is we are favoring no one but ourselves. Whatever we give in this world, we will get a better compensation for it in the Hereafter where we will be more in need of blessings.

  • We store the best in our closets and storage deceiving ourselves that “one day” we will use these blessings. The possessions remain stored in our closets for years or decades until they are out of fashion, eaten by the insects or damaged. Wouldn’t it had been better if we had given “some” of it away? Reflect on the words of the ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asks for some not all.

  • Whatever we give in Allah’s way today is what we will find in the Hereafter. People like Abu Talhah radhiAllahu ‘anhu will find the best there. But what will you find when all you think of giving in Allah’s way are torn clothes and stale food?

  • Remember, giving is not only for people outside our home or family. One should spend from the best on their siblings, cousins, and relatives as well. One should give according to their financial standing and not the status of others. When it doubt, ask yourself if you would accept what you are giving away?

  • Your wealth is not limited to money but your time, your skills, your knowledge all come under your provision. Do not give your leftover time to the Deen, give your best even if you have to sacrifice your sleep and comfort. Share from your best knowledge. Do not say, “Why should I help others?”

  • Imagine the society that will be established if everyone puts others before them; if we gave the best to others, as we would prefer for ourselves.

  • We also learn we do not need to advertise our charity/gifts. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows and that should be enough for us.  

  • It teaches us that the most love that we should have in our hearts should not be for things or possessions but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that for His sake we are willing to part with what we own. Sometimes our possessions distract us from connecting with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, for example, our cell phones. We can do dhikr but we are busy on our phones or the internet.

  • Giving the best also helps us not be attached to anything temporary in this world, alhumdulillah. We will not break ties with someone or show bad akhlaq when someone breaks or loses something that we own.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from the stinginess of our souls and enable us to spend in His way, secretly, from our best wealth, ameen.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 92

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

[Al-Baqarah 2: 127]
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