“You will never attain al-Birr until…” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

At the end of the third juz’ of the Qur’an, Allah informs the believers:

لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ‌ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

By no means shall you attain Al-Birr until you spend of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well. [3:92]

Commenting on this ayah, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote:

هذا حث من الله لعباده على الإنفاق في طرق الخيرات، فقال { لن تنالوا } أي: تدركوا وتبلغوا البر الذي هو كل خير من أنواع الطاعات وأنواع المثوبات الموصل لصاحبه إلى الجنة، { حتى تنفقوا مما تحبون } أي: من أموالكم النفيسة التي تحبها نفوسكم، فإنكم إذا قدمتم محبة الله على محبة الأموال فبذلتموها في مرضاته، دل ذلك على إيمانكم الصادق وبر قلوبكم ويقين تقواكم، فيدخل في ذلك إنفاق نفائس الأموال، والإنفاق في حال حاجة المنفق إلى ما أنفقه، والإنفاق في حال الصحة، ـ

This is an incitement from Allah to His slaves to spend in the paths of goodness, for He said:

لَن تَنَالُوا

By no means shall you attain …

meaning: to reach or achieve

الْبِرَّ‌

al-birr

which is every form of goodness from the various acts of obedience and the various rewards which conduct their doer unto al-Jannah.

حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ

… until you spend of that which you love

meaning: of your precious wealth which your lower nature loves. For indeed, when you give precedence to the love of Allah over and above the love of wealth and thus spend of that wealth for His pleasure, then this is an indication of your sincere eemaan, of the birr of your heart, and of the certainty of your taqwa. So spending of your dear wealth is included in that, as is spending while the spender is in a condition of needing that which he is spending, as well as spending during a time of well-being.

ودلت الآية أن العبد بحسب إنفاقه للمحبوبات يكون بره، وأنه ينقص من بره بحسب ما نقص من ذلك، ولما كان الإنفاق على أي وجه كان مثابا عليه العبد، سواء كان قليلا أو كثيرا، محبوبا للنفس أم لا، وكان قوله { لن تنالوا البر حتى تنفقوا مما تحبون } مما يوهم أن إنفاق غير هذا المقيد غير نافع، احترز تعالى عن هذا الوهم بقوله { وما تنفقوا من شيء فإن الله به عليم } فلا يضيق عليكم، بل يثيبكم عليه على حسب نياتكم ونفعه. ـ

And this ayah indicates that the birr of the slave is in accordance with the spending of his beloved things, and it also indicates that there is a decrease in his birr in relation to any deficiency in that spending. However the slave is rewarded for spending in whatever way it is done, whether it is minimal or abundant and whether it is beloved to him or not. And His statement:

لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ‌ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ

By no means shall you attain Al-Birr until you spend of that which you love

– this might cause someone to falsely think that spending in any way other than this specific manner is not beneficial, so Allah took precautions against this misconception with His statement:

وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.

so that it would not be difficult for them. In fact, they are rewarded according to their intentions and the benefit of their spending.

[Taysir al-Kareem al-Rahman pg. 145]

See also: “Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me'”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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One thought on ““You will never attain al-Birr until…” : Tafsir al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

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