The Quran’s Methodology for Encouraging to Spend in the Way of Allah

Quranic Exegesis

The Quran’s Methodology for Encouraging to Spend in the Way of Allah

Mufti Qasim Attari

Allah Almighty announces:

مَنۡ ذَا الَّذِیۡ یُقۡرِضُ اللّٰہَ  قَرۡضًا حَسَنًا فَیُضٰعِفَہٗ لَہٗۤ اَضۡعَافًا کَثِیۡرَۃً ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یَقۡبِضُ وَ یَبۡصُۜطُ  ۪ وَ اِلَیۡہِ  تُرۡجَعُوۡنَ (۲۴۵)

“Is there anyone who will give a good loan to Allah, so Allah will multiply it for him many times? And Allah lessens and makes abundant; and to Him you shall be returned.”[1]

Commentary: Spending sincerely in the way of Allah Almighty is an act of immense virtue. As a display of its significance, the Quran likens giving charity as giving a loan to Allah Almighty Himself.

Observe the perfection of Allah’s blessings and mercy. He is the Creator and Owner of humans and their wealth. Mankind themselves only own anything when He gives it to them, and their ownership is solely figurative. Despite this, those who give charity are equated with the example of those who give a loan to Allah Almighty.

Just as a lender knows he will have his money returned, those who spend in the way of Allah Almighty are absolutely certain of the reward issued in return. This reward is not trivial either; it is multiplied many times over—even to the extent of being multiplied by 700 or thousands—as evident from Surah al-Baqarah’s 261st verse.

Giving charity brings blessings in one’s wealth and reward in the Hereafter.

Sayyidunā ʿAbdullah b. Masʿūd رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ explained:

When the verse مَنْ ذَا الَّذِیْ یُقْرِضُ اللّٰهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا was revealed, Sayyidunā Abū Da al-Anārī asked, “O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, does Allah Almighty want us to give a loan?”

“Yes, O Abū Da”, replied Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.

Sayyidunā Abū Da al-Anārī رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ then asked for the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to show his hand, which he proceeded to hold. “I give my garden in the way of my Lord as a loan,” he announced.

Sayyidunā ʿAbdullah b. Masʿūd رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ continued by saying, “His garden had 600 date palm trees. His wife and children lived therein. Sayyidunā Abū Da al-Anārī رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ came close to his home and called upon his wife, Sayyidatunā Umm Da. When she replied, he said, ‘Let us leave here. I have given this garden as a loan in the way of my Lord.’”[2]

A unique way to encourage spending in the way of Allah

The profuse number of verses in the Quran discussing this topic means scholars have compiled voluminous books regarding it. One article is not enough to encompass all of them.

Nonetheless, this discourse consists of select points pertaining to how Allah encourages us to give charity

1. Establishing examples

The human mind comprehends and processes well examples. Allah Almighty utilises many of these when encouraging us to give charity in His way, as illustrated by the example of giving Him a loan in Surah al-Baqarah’s 245th verse. He also says:

مَثَلُ الَّذِیۡنَ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَہُمۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ کَمَثَلِ حَبَّۃٍ اَنۡۢبَتَتۡ سَبۡعَ سَنَابِلَ فِیۡ کُلِّ سُنۡۢبُلَۃٍ مِّائَۃُ حَبَّۃٍ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ یُضٰعِفُ لِمَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ (۲۶۱)

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like the grain which produced seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains; Allah may increase it more for whomsoever He wills—And Allah is Most-Bestowing, All-Knowing.”[3]

An explanation of this example is as follows:

Let us imagine someone plants a seed in the ground. Seven offshoots grow from it, each of which bears a hundred further seeds. He plants a single seed and attains 700 in return. In the same manner, he who spends in the way of Allah Almighty is given 700 times the reward according to the person’s sincerity. This is not a limit of any kind. Allah’s treasures are endless; He is Generous and Giving. He grants more to whomsoever He wills.

2. Describing charity-givers and their qualities

Allah describes the practices, sentiments, mannerisms, and rewards of those who give charity.

اَلَّذِیۡنَ یُنۡفِقُوۡنَ اَمۡوَالَہُمۡ بِالَّیۡلِ وَ النَّہَارِ سِرًّا وَّ عَلَانِیَۃً فَلَہُمۡ اَجۡرُہُمۡ عِنۡدَ رَبِّہِمۡ ۚ وَ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ (۲۷۴

“Those who donate their wealth by night and by day, in secret or in public, there is reward for them with their Lord—and they shall neither have fear, nor will they grieve.”[4]

Meaning, many people have a great passion to spend in the way of Allah Almighty and do so night and day. Likewise, taking into consideration the situation, they sometimes give publicly and at other times privately.

3. Inspirational accounts

Humans draw inspiration from others. Allah Almighty encourages us by citing faith-enhancing accounts of those who gave charity in His way.

وَ یُؤۡثِرُوۡنَ  عَلٰۤی  اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ وَ لَوۡ کَانَ بِہِمۡ خَصَاصَۃٌ ؕ

And they give preference over themselves even if they themselves are in need” [5]

This refers to an account of the Anārī Companions who housed the Muhājirīn in their own homes and gave them half their wealth. By sacrificing in this manner, they gave priority to the Muhājirīn over themselves, despite needing money for their own needs.

Sayyidunā Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates of how the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم called the Anār to grant them a portion of land in Bahrain. They said, “O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! If you are to give us this, kindly write it for our brothers from the Quraysh.” This was despite the Quraysh not being present with the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم at that time.[6]

In another place, the Quran describes this sentiment of selflessness as follows:

وَ یُطۡعِمُوۡنَ  الطَّعَامَ عَلٰی حُبِّہٖ مِسۡکِیۡنًا وَّ  یَتِیۡمًا وَّ  اَسِیۡرًا (۸)

And they offer food, out of love to Him, to the destitute and the orphan and the prisoner.”[7]


[1] Al-Quran, 2:245, Translation from Kanz al-ꜤIrfān

[2] Shuʿab al-Īmān: 3452

[3] Al-Quran, 2:261, Translation from Kanz al-ꜤIrfān

[4] Al-Quran, 2: 274, Translation from Kanz al-ꜤIrfān

[5] Al-Quran,59:9, Translation from Kanz al-ꜤIrfān

[6] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: 2377

[7] Al-Quran, 76:8, Translation from Kanz al-ꜤIrfān




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