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To Remind About Charity Given is Forbidden

Allah praises those who spend from their money in His cause, and then refrain from reminding those who received the charity of that fact, whether these hints take the form of words or actions.

Allah's statement,

﴿ وَلَآ أَذً۬ى‌ۙ

(or with injury), indicates that they do not cause harm to those whom they gave the charity to, for this harm will only annul the charity. Allah next promised them the best rewards for this good deed,

﴿ لَّهُمۡ أَجۡرُهُمۡ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ

(their reward is with their Lord), indicating that Allah Himself will reward them for these righteous actions. Further,

﴿ وَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ

(On them shall be no fear) regarding the horrors of the Day of Resurrection,

﴿ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ

(nor shall they grieve) regarding the offspring that they leave behind and the adornment and delights of this world. They will not feel sorry for this, because they will acquire what is far better for them.

Allah then said,

﴿ قَوۡلٌ۬ مَّعۡرُوفٌ۬

(Kind words) meaning, compassionate words and a supplication for Muslims,

﴿ وَمَغۡفِرَةٌ

(and forgiving) meaning, forgiving an injustice that took the form of actions or words,

﴿ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ۬ يَتۡبَعُهَآ أَذً۬ى‌ۗ

(are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury.)

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ غَنِىٌّ

(And Allah is Rich) not needing His creation,

﴿ حَلِيمٌ۬

(Most Forbearing) forgives, releases and pardons them.

There are several Hadiths that prohibit reminding people of acts of charity. For instance, Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,

« ثَلَاثَةٌ لَا يُكَلِّمُهُمُ اللهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَلَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِم، وَلَا يُزَكِّيهِمْ، وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ: الْمَنَّانُ بِمَا أَعْطَى، وَالْمُسْبِلُ إِزَارَهُ، وَالْمُنَفِّقُ سِلْعَتَهُ بِالْحَلِفِ الْكَاذِب »

(Three persons whom Allah shall neither speak to on the Day of Resurrection nor look at nor purify, and they shall receive a painful torment: he who reminds (the people) of what he gives away, he who lengthens his clothes below the ankles and he who swears an oath while lying, to sell his merchandise.)

This is why Allah said,

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُبۡطِلُواْ صَدَقَـٰتِكُم بِٱلۡمَنِّ وَٱلۡأَذَىٰ

(O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury) stating that the charity will be rendered in vain if it is followed by harm or reminders. In this case, the reward of giving away charity is not sufficient enough to nullify the harm and reminders. Allah then said,

﴿ كَٱلَّذِى يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ ۥ رِئَآءَ ٱلنَّاسِ

(like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men) meaning, "Do not nullify your acts of charity by following them with reminders and harm, just like the charity of those who give it to show off to people.'' The boasting person pretends to give away charity for Allah's sake, but in reality seeks to gain people's praise and the reputation of being kind or generous, or other material gains of this life. All the while, he does not think about Allah or gaining His pleasure and generous rewards, and this is why Allah said,

﴿ وَلَا يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ‌ۖ

(and he does not believe in Allah, nor in the Last Day.)

Allah next set the example of whoever gives charity to show off. Ad-Dahhak commented that the example fits one who follows his acts of charity with reminders or harm. Allah said,

﴿ فَمَثَلُهُ ۥ كَمَثَلِ صَفۡوَانٍ

(His likeness is the likeness of Safwan) where Safwan, from is Safwanah, meaning `the smooth rocks,'

﴿ عَلَيۡهِ تُرَابٌ۬ فَأَصَابَهُ ۥ وَابِلٌ۬

(on which is little dust; on it falls a Wabil) meaning, heavy rain,

﴿ فَتَرَڪَهُ ۥ صَلۡدً۬ا‌ۖ

(which leaves it bare.) This Ayah means that heavy rain left the Safwan completely barren of dust. Such is the case with Allah's action regarding the work of those who show off, as their deeds are bound to vanish and disappear, even though people think that these deeds are as plentiful as specks of dust. So Allah said,

﴿ لَّا يَقۡدِرُونَ عَلَىٰ شَىۡءٍ۬ مِّمَّا ڪَسَبُواْ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهۡدِى ٱلۡقَوۡمَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.)

﴿ وَمَثَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمۡوَٲلَهُمُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ مَرۡضَاتِ ٱللَّهِ وَتَثۡبِيتً۬ا مِّنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةِۭ بِرَبۡوَةٍ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَـَٔاتَتۡ أُڪُلَهَا ضِعۡفَيۡنِ فَإِن لَّمۡ يُصِبۡہَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَطَلٌّ۬‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

(265. And the parable of those who spend their wealth seeking Allah's pleasure while they in their own selves are sure and certain that Allah will reward them (for their spending in His cause), is that of a garden on a height; heavy rain falls on it and it doubles its yield of harvest. And if it does not receive heavy rain, light rain suffices it. And Allah is All-Seer (knows well) of what you do.) This is the example of the believers who give away charity seeking only Allah's pleasure,

﴿ وَتَثۡبِيتً۬ا مِّنۡ أَنفُسِهِمۡ

(while they in their own selves are sure and certain) meaning, they are certain that Allah shall reward them for these righteous acts with the best rewards. Similarly, in a Hadith collected by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the Messenger of Allah said,

« مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا »

(Whoever fasts Ramadan with faith and expectation...) meaning, believing that Allah commanded the fast, all the while awaiting His reward for fasting it.

Allah's statement,

﴿ كَمَثَلِ جَنَّةِۭ بِرَبۡوَةٍ

(is that of a garden on a Rabwah) means, the example of a garden on `a height above the ground', as the majority of scholars have stated. Ibn `Abbas and Ad-Dahhak added that it also has flowing rivers.

Allah's statement,

﴿ أَصَابَهَا وَابِلٌ۬

(Wabil falls on it) means, heavy rain as we stated, So it produces its,

﴿ أُڪُلَهَا

(yield of harvest) meaning, fruits or produce,

﴿ ضِعۡفَيۡنِ

(doubles), as compared to other gardens.

﴿ فَإِن لَّمۡ يُصِبۡہَا وَابِلٌ۬ فَطَلٌّ۬‌ۗ

(And if it does not receive Wabil, a Tall suffices it.)

Ad-Dahhak said that the `Tall' is light rain. The Ayah indicates that the garden on the Rabwah is always fertile, for if heavy rain does not fall on it, light rain will suffice for it. Such is the case regarding the believer's good deeds, for they never become barren. Rather, Allah accepts the believer's righteous deeds and increases them, each according to his deeds. This is why Allah said next,

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

(And Allah is All-Seer of what you do) meaning, none of His servants' deeds ever escapes His perfect watch.

﴿ أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ ۥ جَنَّةٌ۬ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ۬ وَأَعۡنَابٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ لَهُ ۥ فِيهَا مِن ڪُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ وَأَصَابَهُ ٱلۡكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ۥ ذُرِّيَّةٌ۬ ضُعَفَآءُ فَأَصَابَهَآ إِعۡصَارٌ۬ فِيهِ نَارٌ۬ فَٱحۡتَرَقَتۡ‌ۗ كَذَٲلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَڪُمُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(266. Would any of you wish to have a garden with date palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein, while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a fiery whirlwind, so that it is burnt Thus does Allah make clear His Ayat to you that you may give thought.)

The Example of Evil Deeds Nullifying Good Deeds

Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas and `Ubayd bin `Umayr said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, "According to your opinion, about whom was this Ayah revealed,

﴿ أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ ۥ جَنَّةٌ۬ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ۬ وَأَعۡنَابٍ۬

(Would any of you wish to have a garden with date palms and vines...).''

They said, "Allah knows best.'' `Umar became angry and said, "Say we know or we do not know.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "O Leader of the Faithful! I have an opinion about it.'' `Umar said, "O my nephew! Say your opinion and do not belittle yourself.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "This is an example set for a deed.'' `Umar said, "What type of deed'' Ibn `Abbas said, "For a wealthy man who works in Allah's pleasure and then Allah sends Shaytan to him, and he works in disobedience, until he annuls his good works.''

This Hadith suffices as an explanation for the Ayah, for it explains the example it sets by a person who does good first and then follows it with evil, may Allah save us from this end. So, this man annulled his previous good works with his latter evil works. When he desperately needed the deeds of the former type, there were none. This is why Allah said,

﴿ وَأَصَابَهُ ٱلۡكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ۥ ذُرِّيَّةٌ۬ ضُعَفَآءُ فَأَصَابَهَآ إِعۡصَارٌ۬

(while he is stricken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a whirlwind) with heavy wind,

﴿ فِيهِ نَارٌ۬ فَٱحۡتَرَقَتۡ‌ۗ

(that is fiery, so that it is burnt) meaning, its fruits were burnt and its trees were destroyed. Therefore, what will his condition be like

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah has set a good parable, and all His parables are good. He said,

﴿ أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ ۥ جَنَّةٌ۬ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ۬ وَأَعۡنَابٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ لَهُ ۥ فِيهَا مِن ڪُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ

(Would any of you wish to have a garden with date palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein.)

But he lost all this in his old age,

﴿ وَأَصَابَهُ ٱلۡكِبَرُ

(while he is stricken with old age) while his offspring and children are weak just before the end of his life. Then a lightning storm came and destroyed his garden. Then he did not have the strength to grow another garden, nor did his offspring offer enough help. This is the condition of the disbeliever on the Day of Resurrection when he returns to Allah, for he will not have any good deeds to provide an excuse - or refuge - for him, just as the man in the parable had no strength to replant the garden. The disbeliever will not find anything to resort to for help, just as the offspring of the man in the parable did not provide him with help. So he will be deprived of his reward when he most needs it, just as the man in the parable was deprived of Allah's garden when he most needed it, when he became old and his offspring weak.''

In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah used to say in his supplication,

« اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ أَوْسَعَ رِزْقِكَ عَلَيَ عِنْدَ كِبَرِ سِنِّي وَانْقِضَاءِ عُمُرِي »

(O Allah! Make Your biggest provision for me when I am old in age and at the time my life ends.)

This is why Allah said,

﴿ كَذَٲلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَڪُمُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

(Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought) meaning, comprehend and understand the parables and their intended implications. Similarly, Allah said,

﴿ وَتِلۡكَ ٱلۡأَمۡثَـٰلُ نَضۡرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ‌ۖ وَمَا يَعۡقِلُهَآ إِلَّا ٱلۡعَـٰلِمُونَ

(And these similitudes We put forward for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah and His signs)))29:43(.

﴿ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَـٰتِ مَا ڪَسَبۡتُمۡ وَمِمَّآ أَخۡرَجۡنَا لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ ٱلۡخَبِيثَ مِنۡهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسۡتُم بِـَٔاخِذِيهِ إِلَّآ أَن تُغۡمِضُواْ فِيهِ‌ۚ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ يَعِدُكُمُ ٱلۡفَقۡرَ وَيَأۡمُرُڪُم بِٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ‌ۖ وَٱللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغۡفِرَةً۬ مِّنۡهُ وَفَضۡلاً۬‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ وَٲسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ۬
﴿ يُؤۡتِى ٱلۡحِڪۡمَةَ مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۚ وَمَن يُؤۡتَ ٱلۡحِڪۡمَةَ فَقَدۡ أُوتِىَ خَيۡرً۬ا ڪَثِيرً۬ا‌ۗ وَمَا يَذَّڪَّرُ إِلَّآ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

(267.O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (free of all needs), and worthy of all praise.) (268. Shaytan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha' (evil deeds) whereas Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.) (269. He grants Hikmah to whom He wills, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding.)