The Deeds of the Munafiq: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah strikes the following parable in surah al-Baqarah:

أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَاءُ فَأَصَابَهَا إِعْصَارٌ فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Would one of you like to have a garden of palm trees and grapevines underneath which rivers flow in which he has every kind of fruit? But then he is afflicted with old age and has weak offspring, and it is hit by a whirlwind containing fire and is burned. Thus does Allah make the signs clear to you so that you might give thought. [2:266]

In his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( له فيها من كل الثمرات وأصابه الكبر وله ذرية ضعفاء ) أولاد صغار ضعاف عجزة ( فأصابها إعصار ) الريح العاصف التي ترتفع إلى السماء كأنها عمود وجمعه أعاصير ( فيه نار فاحترقت ) ـ

لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَاءُ

… in which he has from every fruit? But he is afflicted with old age and has weak offspring …

young children who are weak and unable to take care of things

فَأَصَابَهَا إِعْصَارٌ

… and it is hit by a whirlwind …

a strong wind which rises up to the sky as if it were a pillar

فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ

…. containing fire and is burned.

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“Whoever Earns Evil and His Sin Has Encompassed Him”: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

بَلَىٰ مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

But whoever earns evil and his sin has encompassed him – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally. [2:81]

Commenting on this, Imam al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( من كسب سيئة ) يعني الشرك ( وأحاطت به خطيئته ) والإحاطة الإحداق بالشيء من جميع نواحيه ، قال ابن عباس وعطاء والضحاك وأبو العالية والربيع وجماعة : هي الشرك يموت عليه ، وقيل : السيئة الكبيرة . والإحاطة به أن يصر عليها فيموت غير تائب ، قاله عكرمة والربيع بن خثيم . ـ

مَن كَسَبَ سَيِّئَةً

whoever earns evil …

i.e. commits al-shirk

وَأَحَاطَتْ بِهِ خَطِيئَتُهُ

… and his sin has encompassed him …

the word “encompassed” means: surrounding something from every side.

Ibn ‘Abbaas, ‘Ataa’, al-Dhahhaak, Abu’l-‘Aliyah, al-Rabee’ and a number of others all said: this is referring to al-shirk that one dies while still committing.

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 284-286: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the thirty-fourth and final installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 284-286. This section concludes the surah with an affirmation of core beliefs and du’a to Allah. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

لِّلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَإِن تُبْدُوا مَا فِي أَنفُسِكُمْ أَوْ تُخْفُوهُ يُحَاسِبْكُم بِهِ اللَّهُ ۖ فَيَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth belongs to Allah. Whether you show what is in yourselves or conceal it, Allah will call you to account for it. He will then forgive those whom He wishes and punish those whom He wishes. And Allah is able to do all things. [2:284]

لله ملك السموات والأرض وما فيهما ملكًا وتدبيرًا وإحاطة، لا يخفى عليه شيء. وما تظهروه مما في أنفسكم أو تخفوه فإن الله يعلمه، وسيحاسبكم به، فيعفو عمن يشاء، ويؤاخذ من يشاء. والله قادر على كل شيء، وقد أكرم الله المسلمين بعد ذلك فعفا عن حديث النفس وخطرات القلب ما لم يتبعها كلام أو عمل، كما ثبت ذلك عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم. ـ

284. Ownership of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them belongs to Allah; He owns them, manages them, and knows them completely – nothing is hidden from Him. Whatever you have inside you, whether you openly show it or hide it, Allah certainly knows it and He will call you to account for it. He will then pardon those whom He wishes, and punish those whom He wishes. And Allah is able to do anything.

After this was revealed, Allah blessed the Muslims by pardoning them for their internal thinking and passing thoughts so long as those things are not followed up with words or actions. This has been authentically transmitted from Allah’s Messenger.

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An Example of Multiple Linguistic Explanations of an Ayah: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah Aal ‘Imraan:

وَقَالَت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ آمِنُوا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَجْهَ النَّهَارِ وَاكْفُرُوا آخِرَهُلَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ * وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ  قُلْ إِنَّ الْهُدَىٰ هُدَى اللَّهِ أَن يُؤْتَىٰ أَحَدٌ مِّثْلَ مَا أُوتِيتُمْ أَوْ يُحَاجُّوكُمْ عِندَ رَبِّكُمْ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْفَضْلَ بِيَدِ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

which could be translated in a number of different ways, including

And a group of the People of the Book said: Believe in what was revealed to those who believe in the morning and disbelieve in the evening so that they might recant.

And do not believe anyone besides those who follow your religion. Say: The true guidance is Allah’s guidance. If someone is given the likes of what you have been given or argues with you about your Lord, say: Bounty is in Allah’s Hand; He gives it to whom He wishes. And Allah is Rich, All-Knowing. [3:72-73]

Commenting on the second of those two ayahs in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Husayn ibn Mas’ood al-Baghawi discussed a number of different transmitted explanations of it, with the differences primarily arising from different understandings of who was speaking or being addressed in each part of the ayah:

قوله تعالى ( ولا تؤمنوا إلا لمن تبع دينكم ) هذا متصل بالأول من قول اليهود بعضهم لبعض ( ولا تؤمنوا ) أي لا تصدقوا ( إلا لمن تبع دينكم ) وافق ملتكم واللام في ” لمن ” صلة ، أي لا تصدقوا إلا من تبع دينكم اليهودية كقوله تعالى : ” قل عسى أن يكون ردف لكم ” ( 72 – النحل ) أي : ردفكم ( قل إن الهدى هدى الله ) هذا خبر من الله عز وجل أن البيان بيانه ثم اختلفوا : فمنهم من قال : كلام معترض بين كلامين ، وما بعده متصل بالكلام الأول ، إخبار عن قول اليهود بعضهم لبعض ، ومعناه : ولا تؤمنوا إلا لمن تبع دينكم ، ولا تؤمنوا أن يؤتى أحد مثل ما أوتيتم من العلم والكتاب والحكمة والآيات من المن والسلوى وفلق البحر وغيرها من الكرامات ولا تؤمنوا أن يحاجوكم عند ربكم لأنكم أصح دينا منهم وهذا معنى قول مجاهد . ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement

وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا إِلَّا لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ

And do not believe anyone besides those who follow your religion …

this is a continuation of the previous ayah which mentioned what the Jews said to one another.

وَلَا تُؤْمِنُوا

And do not believe …

i.e. do not affirm what they say

إِلَّا لِمَن تَبِعَ دِينَكُمْ

… anyone besides those who follow your religion …

i.e. whose religion is the same as yours. In other words: Only trust and affirm those who follow your Jewish religion.

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 282-283: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the thirty-third installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 282-283. This section addresses the rulings of taking and repaying debts. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا تَدَايَنتُم بِدَيْنٍ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى فَاكْتُبُوهُ ۚ وَلْيَكْتُب بَّيْنَكُمْ كَاتِبٌ بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ وَلَا يَأْبَ كَاتِبٌ أَن يَكْتُبَ كَمَا عَلَّمَهُ اللَّهُ ۚ فَلْيَكْتُبْ وَلْيُمْلِلِ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِ الْحَقُّ وَلْيَتَّقِ اللَّهَ رَبَّهُ وَلَا يَبْخَسْ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا ۚ فَإِن كَانَ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِ الْحَقُّ سَفِيهًا أَوْ ضَعِيفًا أَوْ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُ أَن يُمِلَّ هُوَ فَلْيُمْلِلْ وَلِيُّهُ بِالْعَدْلِ ۚ وَاسْتَشْهِدُوا شَهِيدَيْنِ مِن رِّجَالِكُمْ ۖ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُونَا رَجُلَيْنِ فَرَجُلٌ وَامْرَأَتَانِ مِمَّن تَرْضَوْنَ مِنَ الشُّهَدَاءِ أَن تَضِلَّ إِحْدَاهُمَا فَتُذَكِّرَ إِحْدَاهُمَا الْأُخْرَىٰ ۚ وَلَا يَأْبَ الشُّهَدَاءُ إِذَا مَا دُعُوا ۚ وَلَا تَسْأَمُوا أَن تَكْتُبُوهُ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا إِلَىٰ أَجَلِهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَقْسَطُ عِندَ اللَّهِ وَأَقْوَمُ لِلشَّهَادَةِ وَأَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَرْتَابُوا ۖ إِلَّا أَن تَكُونَ تِجَارَةً حَاضِرَةً تُدِيرُونَهَا بَيْنَكُمْ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَلَّا تَكْتُبُوهَا ۗ وَأَشْهِدُوا إِذَا تَبَايَعْتُمْ ۚ وَلَا يُضَارَّ كَاتِبٌ وَلَا شَهِيدٌ ۚ وَإِن تَفْعَلُوا فَإِنَّهُ فُسُوقٌ بِكُمْ ۗ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a fixed time, write it down. Let a scribe write it down justly between you. Let no scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write and let the one who has the obligation dictate, and let him fear Allah, his Lord, and not leave anything out of it. If the person with the obligation is foolish, weak or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate with justice. And bring two male witnesses to bear witness. And if there are not two men, then one man and two women whose witness you are pleased with, so that if one of them errs the other can remind her. And do not let the witnesses refuse when they are called on. And do not be weary to write it, whether it is small or large, for its term. That is more just to Allah, stronger as evidence, and further from causing doubt. That is, unless it is an immediate transaction between yourselves, in which case there is no blame on you for not writing it. And take a witness when you conclude a contract. And do not let the scribe or the witness be harmed. If you were to do that, that would be wickedness from you. And have taqwa of Allah. Allah will teach you. And Allah is All-Knowing of everything. [2:282]

يا من آمنتم بالله واتبعتم رسوله محمدًا صلى الله عليه وسلم إذا تعاملتم بدَيْن إلى وقت معلوم فاكتبوه؛ حفظًا للمال ودفعًا للنزاع. ولْيقُم بالكتابة رجل أمين ضابط، ولا يمتنع مَن علَّمه الله الكتابة عن ذلك، ولْيقم المدين بإملاء ما عليه من الدَّيْن، وليراقب ربه، ولا ينقص من دينه شيئا. فإن كان المدين محجورًا عليه لتبذيره وإسرافه، أو كان صغيرًا أو مجنونًا، أو لا يستطيع النطق لخرس به أو عدم قدرة كاملة على الكلام، فليتولَّ الإملاء عن المدين القائم بأمره، واطلبوا شهادة رجلين مسلمَيْن بالِغَيْن عاقلَيْن من أهل العدالة. فإن لم يوجد رجلان، فاطلبوا شهادة رجل وامرأتين ترضون شهادتهم، حتى إذا نَسِيَتْ إحداهما ذكَّرتها الأخرى، وعلى الشهداء أن يجيبوا مَن دعاهم إلى الشهادة، وعليهم أداؤها إذا ما دعوا إليها، ولا تَمَلُّوا من كتابة الدَّين قليلا أو كثيرًا إلى وقته المعلوم. ذلكم أعدل في شرع الله وهديه، وأعظم عونًا على إقامة الشهادة وأدائها، وأقرب إلى نفي الشك في جنس الدَّين وقدره وأجله. لكن إن كانت المسألة مسألة بيع وشراء، بأخذ سلعة ودفع ثمنها في الحال، فلا حاجة إلى الكتابة، ويستحب الإشهاد على ذلك منعًا للنزاع والشقاق، ومن الواجب على الشاهد والكاتب أداء الشهادة على وجهها والكتابة كما أمر الله. ولا يجوز لصاحب الحق ومَن عليه الحق الإضرار بالكُتَّاب والشهود، وكذلك لا يجوز للكُتَّاب والشهود أن يضارُّوا بمن احتاج إلى كتابتهم أو شهادتهم، وإن تفعلوا ما نهيتم عنه فإنه خروج عن طاعة الله، وعاقبة ذلك حالَّة بكم. وخافوا الله في جميع ما أمركم به، ونهاكم عنه، ويعلمكم الله جميع ما يصلح دنياكم وأخراكم. والله بكل شيء عليم، فلا يخفى عليه شيء من أموركم، وسيجازيكم على ذلك.ـ

282. O you who believe in Allah and follow His Messenger Muhammad (ﷺ), when you contract a debt that will last until a specific time, write it down. This is in order to protect wealth and prevent conflicts.

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A Parable of Spending to Be Seen: Tafsir al-Sa’di

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا ۖ لَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

O you who have believed, do not ruin your charity with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a smooth stone upon which is dirt. It is then hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable to keep anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. [2:264]

Commenting on this parable in his famous book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote:

ـ { فتركه صلدا } أي: ليس عليه شيء من التراب، فكذلك حال هذا المرائي، قلبه غليظ قاس بمنزلة الصفوان، وصدقته ونحوها من أعماله بمنزلة التراب الذي على الصفوان، إذا رآه الجاهل بحاله ظن أنه أرض زكية قابلة للنبات، فإذا انكشفت حقيقة حاله زال ذلك التراب وتبين أن عمله بمنزلة السراب، وأن قلبه غير صالح لنبات الزرع وزكائه عليه، بل الرياء الذي فيه والإرادات الخبيثة تمنع من انتفاعه بشيء من عمله، فلهذا { لا يقدرون على شيء } من أعمالهم التي اكتسبوها، لأنهم وضعوها في غير موضعها وجعلوها لمخلوق مثلهم، لا يملك لهم ضررا ولا نفعا وانصرفوا عن عبادة من تنفعهم عبادته، فصرف الله قلوبهم عن الهداية، فلهذا قال: { والله لا يهدي القوم الكافرين }ـ

فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا

… that leaves it bare …

meaning: it does not retain any dirt at all. This is the same situation as one who only does deeds to be seen and praised by others: his heart is coarse and hard like a large stone, and his charity and other deeds are like the dirt resting on this stone. When someone who doesn’t know its reality sees it, he would think that it is solid earth ripe for planting and growing. But when its reality is made clear, that dirt will be washed away. This parable clearly shows that his deeds are like a mirage and that his heart is not suitable for growing anything. In fact, the desire to be seen by others in this heart and these corrupt intentions prevent him from deriving any benefit from his deeds. That is why

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Understanding “They Plot and Allah Plots”: Sheikh Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

What follows is a question posed to sheikh Abdullah al-‘Awaaji (professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah), and his response:

س/ ما معنى قوله تعالى (ومكروا ومكر الله والله خير الماكرين)؟ ـ

Question: What is the meaning of Allah’s statement:

وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّـهُ ۖ وَاللَّـهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

They plot and Allah plots and Allah is the best of plotters. [3:54]

ج/ المكر هو التوصل إلى إيقاع العدو من حيث لا يشعر. هو أن يستدرجهم الله بنعمه، كما استدرج الذين من قبلهم، ثم يأخذهم بعذابه بغتة في حال سهوهم وغفلتهم. ـ

Response: al-Makr – “plotting” – is causing some sort of disadvantage to one’s enemy in a way that they didn’t suspect. It means that Allah is luring them into a false sense of security through His blessings, just as He did to those before them, and then He will strike them with punishment while they are heedless and unsuspecting.

وصفات الله تعالى الواردة في القرآن كلها صفات كمال لا نقص فيه بوجه من الوجوه . وأما الصفات التي تكون كمالاً في حال ونقصاً في حال، فلا يوصف الله تعالى بها على سبيل الإطلاق، ولا تنفى عنه على سبيل الإطلاق، بل يفصل، ففي الحال التي تكون كمالاً يوصف الله تعالى بها، وفي الحال التي تكون نقصاً لايوصف بها، وهي في القرآن: الاستهزاء والسّخرية والنسيان والخداع والكيد والمكر، فالمكر بالعدو صفة كمال ، لأن ذلك يدل على كمال العلم والقدرة والسلطان، فلا يوصف الله تعالى بالمكر إلا مقيداً. ـ

The descriptions of Allah found in the Qur’an are all attributes of perfection without any deficiency in them in any way.

Regarding attributes which are positive in one sense and negative in another, then Allah is not characterized with these attributes without any qualification, nor are such attributes negated for Him out of hand; rather there is some parsing and delineation. So, in the sense that the attribute is positive, Allah is described by such an attributed, and in the sense in which it is negative, Allah is not characterized by that. Examples of this in the Qur’an are: mocking, ridicule, forgetting, treachery, scheming and plotting. Makr against one’s enemies is a positive quality, for it shows complete knowledge, power and authority. So Allah is only characterized with makr in a restricted way.

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 274-281: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the thirty-second installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 274-281. This section follows up the previous section on charity with a strong warning against riba. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُم بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ * الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لَا يَقُومُونَ إِلَّا كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذِي يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ مِثْلُ الرِّبَا ۗ وَأَحَلَّ اللَّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا ۚ فَمَن جَاءَهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىٰ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

Those who spend their wealth, at night and day, secretly and openly, will have their reward with their Lord and they will not fear nor will they worry. * Those who consume riba will only stand like someone being beaten by the shaytaan‘s touch stands. That is because they said, “Riba is like trade,” but Allah has allowed trade and forbidden riba. Whoever has received a strong reminder from his Lord and then stops, then he can have what has passed and his affair rests with Allah. But whoever reverses, then those ones are the people of the Hellfire; they will remain in it forever. [2:274-275]

الذين يُخْرجون أموالهم مرضاة لله ليلا ونهارًا مسرِّين ومعلنين، فلهم أجرهم عند ربهم، ولا خوف عليهم فيما يستقبلونه من أمر الآخرة، ولا هم يحزنون على ما فاتهم من حظوظ الدنيا. ذلك التشريع الإلهي الحكيم هو منهاج الإسلام في الإنفاق لما فيه مِن سدِّ حاجة الفقراء في كرامة وعزة، وتطهير مال الأغنياء، وتحقيق التعاون على البر والتقوى؛ ابتغاء وجه الله دون قهر أو إكراه الذين يتعاملون بالربا- وهو الزيادة على رأس المال- لا يقومون في الآخرة من قبورهم إلا كما يقوم الذي يتخبطه الشيطان من الجنون؛ ذلك لأنهم قالوا: إنما البيع مثل الربا، في أن كلا منهما حلال، ويؤدي إلى زيادة المال، فأكذبهم الله، وبيَّن أنه أحل البيع وحرَّم الربا؛ لما في البيع والشراء من نفع للأفراد والجماعات، ولما في الربا من استغلال وضياع وهلاك. فمن بلغه نهي الله عن الربا فارتدع، فله ما مضى قبل أن يبلغه التحريم لا إثم عليه فيه، وأمره إلى الله فيما يستقبل من زمانه، فإن استمرَّ على توبته فالله لا يضيع أجر المحسنين، ومن عاد إلى الربا ففعله بعد بلوغه نهي الله عنه، فقد استوجب العقوبة، وقامت عليه الحجة، ولهذا قال سبحانه: {فَأُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ} . ـ

274-275. Those who give their wealth to please Allah both at night and day and secretly and openly, they will have their reward with their Lord. They will not fear what awaits them in the hereafter, nor will they grieve over what they missed out on in this worldly life.

That perfect Divine legislation is the Islamic way of spending as it addresses the needs of the people with generosity and dignity, purifies the wealth of the wealthy, and achieves cooperation in goodness and taqwa as while seeking Allah face. This is in contrast to the coercion and oppression that happens when dealing with riba, which is charging something in addition to repaying the initial amount of a loan.

Those who deal with riba will only rise up from their graves in the hereafter like one who was struck by the shaytaan with madness would stand. That is because they said, “Riba is just trade” in that both both of them are allowed and both lead to an increase of wealth, but they spoke falsely on behalf of Allah. Allah made it clear that He has allowed trade but prohibited riba due to the benefits that buying and selling brings about for both individuals and society at large and the exploitation, waste and ruin that riba brings about.

So whoever learns of Allah’s prohibition of riba and then refrains from doing it, then he can keep whatever he earned before he learned of the prohibition without being sinful for that; Allah has only ordered him to practice this going forward, and if he continues to be repentant, then Allah will never do away with the rewards of the good-doers.

But whoever goes back to dealing in riba and does that after having learned of Allah’s prohibition against it, then he has brought punishment on himself and established a proof against himself. That is why Allah said, “those ones are the people of the Hellfire; they will remain in it forever.”

يَمْحَقُ اللَّهُ الرِّبَا وَيُرْبِي الصَّدَقَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ

Allah destroys riba and fosters charity. And Allah does not love any obstinately disbelieving sinner. [2:276]

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“Do Not Ruin Your Charity”: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah strikes the following parable in surah al-Baqarah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالْأَذَىٰ كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَلَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا ۖ لَّا يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

O you who have believed, do not ruin your charity with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable to keep anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. [2:264]

After explaining some of the terms used in this ayah, Imam al-Baghawi then summarized the overall meaning by writing:

فهذا مثل ضربه الله تعالى لنفقة المنافق والمرائي والمؤمن الذي يمن بصدقته ويؤذي ويري الناس في الظاهر أن لهؤلاء أعمالا كما يرى التراب على هذا الصفوان فإذا كان يوم القيامة بطل كله واضمحل لأنه لم يكن لله عز وجل كما أذهب الوابل ما على الصفوان من التراب فتركه صلدا ( لا يقدرون على شيء مما كسبوا ) أي على ثواب شيء مما كسبوا وعملوا في الدنيا ( والله لا يهدي القوم الكافرين ) . ـ

Allah struck this parable for the charity of the munafiq, one who gives only to be seen and praised by others, and a believer who follows up his charity with reminders and harm.

On the face of things, it appears that all three of these people have good deeds to their credit, just as they see the dirt covering this large smooth stone. However, on the Day of Resurrection, all of those deeds will be fruitless and done away with. That is because those deeds were not done for the sake of Allah.

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Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 267-273: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the thirty-first installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 267-273. This section centers around spending in charity and giving sincerely for the sake of Allah. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنفِقُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الْأَرْضِ ۖ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِآخِذِيهِ إِلَّا أَن تُغْمِضُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

O you who believe, spend from the good things which you have earned and from what We have brought out of the earth for you. And do not seek to give the worst of it in charity while you would not take take it unless your eyes were closed. And know that Allah is Rich, Praiseworthy. [2:267]

يا من آمنتم بي واتبعتم رسلي أنفقوا من الحلال الطيب الذي كسبتموه ومما أخرجنا لكم من الأرض، ولا تقصدوا الرديء منه لتعطوه الفقراء، ولو أُعطِيتموه لم تأخذوه إلا إذا تغاضيتم عما فيه من رداءة ونقص. فكيف ترضون لله ما لا ترضونه لأنفسكم؟ واعلموا أن الله الذي رزقكم غني عن صدقاتكم، مستحق للثناء، محمود في كل حال.ـ

267. O you who believe in Me and follow My Messengers, spend from the good lawful things which you have earned and from what We have brought out of the earth for you, but do not seek to give the bad parts of that to the poor. If you were given that, you would only accept it while pretending to ignore its poor quality and defects, so how would you be pleased with giving this for the sake of Allah when you are not pleased with it for yourselves? And know that Allah Who have provided for you is not in need of your charity, and He is deserving of praise and is praiseworthy in all circumstances.

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