The Quran

Commentaries for 2.220

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.220 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Upon the world and the Hereafter) that it is lasting. (And they question thee concerning orphans). This was revealed about 'Abdullah Ibn Rawahah who asked the Prophet (pbuh) about whether it was lawful to share food, drink and shelter with orphans. Allah told His Prophet: they ask you about sharing food, drink and shelter with orphans, (Say) O Muhammad: (To improve their lot) and their wealth (is best) rather than not sharing with them. (And if you mingle your affairs with theirs) as regards food, drink and shelter, (then (they are) your brothers) in Religion and you should therefore safeguard their shares. (And Allah knoweth him who spoileth) the wealth of orphans (from him who improveth) their wealth. (Had Allah willed He could have overburdened you) He could have forbidden such sharing. (Indeed Allah is Mighty) and takes revenge against whoever spoils the wealth of orphans, (Wise) ruling that the wealth of orphans should be improved.
2.220 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
on, the matters of, this world and the Hereafter, and follow what is best for you in both. They will ask you about orphans, and the distress their affair caused them, for, if they became intimate with them, they may slip into error, but if they put aside the money due to them and prepare their meals for them separately, this would distress them. Say: ‘To set their affairs aright, in terms of their funds, by looking after it, and your mingling with them, is better’, than you not doing this; and if you intermix with them, your funds and theirs, they are your brothers, in religion and it is only natural for one to intermix his affair with his brother, so you do too; God knows well him who works corruption, in their property when he intermixes with them, from him who sets, it, aright, and God will requite both; and had He willed He would have harassed you, and made it difficult for you by prohibiting you from intermixing with them. Surely God is Mighty, victorious in His affair, Wise, in His actions.
2.219-220 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Gradual Prohibition of Khamr (Alchoholic Drink)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Maysarah said that `Umar once said, "O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr!'' Allah sent down the Ayah of Surat Al-Baqarah:
يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ
(They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin...)
`Umar was then summoned and the Ayah was recited to him. Yet, he still said, "O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.'' Then, this Ayah that is in Surat An-Nisa' was revealed:
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـرَى
(O you who believe! Approach not As-Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state.) (4:43)
Then, when the prayer was called for, a person used to herald on behalf of Allah's Messenger, "No drunk person should attend the prayer.'' `Umar was summoned again and the Ayah was recited to him. Yet, he still said, "O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.'' Then, the Ayah that is in Surat Al-Ma'idah was revealed, `Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him. When he reached:
فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُّنتَهُونَ
(So, will you not then abstain) (5:91) he said, "We did abstain, we did abstain.'' This is also the narration that Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasai collected in their books. `Ali bin Al-Madini and At-Tirmidhi said that the chain of narrators for this Hadith is sound and authentic. We will mention this Hadith again along with what Imam Ahmad collected by Abu Hurayrah Allah's saying in Surat Al-Ma'idah:
إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالاٌّنصَابُ وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
(Intoxicants and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Satan's handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.) (5:90)
Allah said:
يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ
(They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drinks and gambling.)
As for Al-Khamr, `Umar bin Khattab, the Leader of the faithful, used to say, "It includes all what intoxicates the mind.'' We will also mention this statement in the explanation of Surat Al-Ma'idah, along with the topic of gambling.
Allah said:
قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَـفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ
(Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men.)
As for the harm that the Khamr and gambling cause, it effects the religion. As for their benefit, it is material, including benefit for the body, digesting the food, getting rid of the excrements, sharpening the mind, bringing about a joyous sensation and financially benefiting from their sale. Also, (their benefit includes) earnings through gambling that one uses to spend on his family and on himself. Yet, these benefits are outweighed by the clear harm that they cause which affects the mind and the religion. This is why Allah said:
وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا
(...but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.)
This Ayah was the beginning of the process of prohibiting Khamr, not explicity, but it only implied this meaning. So when this Ayah was recited to `Umar, he still said, "O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.'' Soon after, Allah sent down a clear prohibition of Khamr in Surat Al-Ma'idah:
يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالاٌّنصَابُ وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ - إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَآءَ فِى الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَوةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُّنتَهُونَ
(O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan's handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain) (5:90, 91)
We will mention this subject, by the will of Allah, when we explain Surat Al-Ma'idah.
Ibn `Umar, Ash-Sha`bi, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Aslam stated that the first Ayah revealed about Khamr was:
يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ
(They ask you about Khamr and gambling. Say: "In them there is great sin.'') (2:219)
Then, the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa' was revealed (on this subject) and then the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma'idah which prohibited Khamr.
Spending whatever One could spare of his Money on Charity
Allah said:
وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ
(And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: "That which is (spare) beyond your needs.'')
Al-Hakam said that Miqsam said that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah means, whatever you can spare above the needs of your family. This is also the opinion of Ibn `Umar, Mujahid, `Ata', `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Al-Qasim, Salim, `Ata' Al-Khurasani and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.
Ibn Jarir related that Abu Hurayrah said that a man said, "O Messenger of Allah! I have a Dinar (a currency).'' The Prophet said:
«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى نَفْسِك»
(Spend it you on yourself.) He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى أَهْلِك»
(Spend it on your wife.) He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى وَلَدِك»
(Spend it on your offspring.) He said, "I have another Dinar.'' He said:
«فَأَنْتَ أَبْصَر»
(You have better knowledge (meaning how and where to spend it in charity).)
Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih.
Muslim recorded that Jabir said that Allah's Messenger said to a man:
«ابْدَأْ بِنَفْسِكَ فَتَصَدَّقْ عَلَيْهَا، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ شَيْءٌ فَلِأَهْلِكَ، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ شَيْءٌ عَنْ أَهْلِكَ فَلِذِي قَرَابَتِكَ، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ عَنْ ذِي قَرَابَتِكَ شَيْءٌ فَهكَذَا وَهكَذَا»
(Start with yourself and grant it some charity. If anything remains, then spend it on your family. If anything remains, then spend it on your relatives. If anything remains, then spend it like this and like that (i.e., on various charitable purposes).)
A Hadith states:
«ابْنَ آدَمَ إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَبْذُلَ الْفَضْلَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ، وَأَنْ تُمْسِكَهُ شَرٌّ لَكَ، وَلَا تُلَامُ عَلى كَفَاف»
(O son of Adam! If you spend whatever you can spare, it would be better for you; but if you keep it, it would be worse for you. You shall not be blamed for whatever is barely sufficient.)
Allah said:
كَذلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَـتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَفِى الدُّنُيَا وَالاٌّخِرَةِ
(Thus Allah makes clear to you His Ayat in order that you may give thought. In (to) this worldly life and in the Hereafter.) meaning, just as He stated and explained these commandments for you, He also explains the rest of His Ayat regarding the commandments and His promises and warnings, so that you might give thought in this life and the Hereafter. `Ali bin Abu Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented, "Meaning about the imminent demise and the brevity of this life, and the imminent commencement of the Hereafter and its continuity.'' a
Maintaining the Orphan's Property
Allah said:
وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَـمَى قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِ وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لأَعْنَتَكُمْ
(And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: "The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers. And Allah knows him who means mischief (e.g., to swallow their property) from him who means good (e.g., to save their property). And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties.)
Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the Ayat:
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ
(And come not near to the orphan's property, except to improve it.) (6:152) and
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَلَ الْيَتَـمَى ظُلْماً إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمْ نَاراً وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيراً
(Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) (4:10) were revealed, those who took care of some orphans, separated their food and drink from the orphans' food and drink. When some of the orphans' food and drink remained, they would keep it for them until they eat it or otherwise get spoiled. This situation was difficult for them and they mentioned this subject to Allah's Messenger.
وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَـمَى قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ
(And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: "The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers.) Hence, they joined their food and drink with the food and drink of the orphans.'' This Hadith was also collected by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa'i and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak. Several others said similarly about the circumstances surrounding the revelation of the Ayah (2:220), including Mujahid, `Ata', Ash-Sha`bi, Ibn Abu Layla, Qatadah and others among the Salaf and those after them.
Ibn Jarir reported that `A'ishah said, "I dislike that an orphan's money be under my care, unless I mix my food with his food and my drink with his drink.''
Allah said:
قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ
(Say: The best thing is to work honestly in their property.) meaning, on the one hand (i.e., this is required in any case). Allah then said:
وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ
(...and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers.) meaning, there is no harm if you mix your food and drink with their food and drink, since they are your brothers in the religion. This is why Allah said afterwards:
وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِ
(And Allah knows (the one) who means mischief (e.g., to swallow their property) from (the one) who means good (e.g., to save their property). ) meaning, He knows those whose intent is to cause mischief or righteousness. He also said:
وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لأَعْنَتَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
(And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties. Truly, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) meaning, if Allah wills, He will make this matter difficult for you. But, He made it easy for you, and allowed you to mix your affairs with the orphans' affairs in a way that is better. Similarly, Allah said:
وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ
(And come not near to the orphan's property, except to improve it.) (6:152)
Allah has thus allowed spending from the orphan's estate by its executor, in reasonable proportions, on the condition that he has the intention to compensate the orphan later on, when he can afford it. We will mention about it in detail in Surat An-Nisa' by Allah's will.
2.220 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Before the revelation of this verse, very strict warnings had been administered for the preservation of the rights of orphans. Warnings like "those who misappropriate the property of orphans fill their bellies with fire," had made the Muslims so fearful that the guardians of the orphans had made separate arrangements for their meals etc. But, inspite of all this, they feared lest any part of the property of the orphans should get mixed up with their property and they should incur the wrath of Allah. That is why they asked the Holy Prophet to define for them the limits of their relations with orphans. They have been told to do sincerely what is best in their interest and at the same time warned that Allah knows everything.
2.219-220 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
They ask you about wine khamr and divinatory arrows. Say: “In both is great sin and profit for men; but the sin in them is greater than the usefulness.” Khamr is whatever intoxicates the mind. Just as khamr is specifically prohibited so also drunkenness sukr is prohibited by the words of the Prophet ﷺ “Khamr itself is prohibited and drunkenness from any drink.” From the point of view of the allusions [in the verse] anyone who is drunk from the drink of heedlessness deserves the same as the one who drinks khamr. Just as the one who is drunk is prohibited from praying so the one who is possessed by the drunkenness of heedlessness is veiled from intimate communications muwāṣalāt and the clearest testimonial evidence of ecstatic finding wujūd. Anyone who does not think this is true should test it. The notion of gambling can be found in most of the transactions of the people of heedlessness when they follow the way of stratagem and deception and lie in what they say. Wholehearted commitment to truthfulness and equitable dealings is rare and precious. And they will ask you what they should expend. Say: “Comfortably” al-ʿafw. So God makes clear His signs to you that you might reflect on this world and the hereafter. It is said that al-ʿafw is what is in excess of your needs. This is for the elect who take from the surplus of their wealth according to their capacities. As for the elect of the elect their way is “preference” īthār which is to prefer others over themselves even if they are in need of what they give and even though the One they prefer is unseen. They will ask you about orphans. Say: “To set their affairs aright; and if you intermix with them they are your brothers; Setting their state aright in teaching them discipline and manners taÌdīb is more perfect than setting aright their wealth. Patience in bearing with them by giving counsel and abandoning one's weariness in guiding them is better than being permissive to the point that it could be said that one did not uphold one's obligation toward them. God knows well him who works corruption from him who sets aright; and had He willed He would have harassed you. Surely God is Mighty Wise.” He deals with everyone according to the intentions quṣūd that dwell in a person's heart not according to the external things one acquires in various ways.
2.220 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(And they question thee concerning orphans…) [2:220]. Abu Mansur ‘Abd al-Qahir ibn Tahir informed us> Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Sarraj> al-Hasan ibn al-Muthanna ibn Mu‘adh> Abu Hudhayfah Musa ibn Mas‘ud> Sufyan al-Thawri> Salim al-Aftas> Sa‘id ibn Jubayr who said: “When the verse (Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do but swallow fire into their bellies…) [4:10] people rushed to separate their own wealth from the wealth of orphans they were in charge of. Then Allah revealed (And if ye mingle your affairs with theirs, then (they are) your brothers) upon which they mixed their own wealth with the wealth of orphans”. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> Abu ‘Ali al-Faqih> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Baghawi> ‘Uthman ibn Abi Shaybah> Jarir> ‘Ata’ ibn al-Sa’ib> Sa‘id ibn Jubayr> Ibn ‘Abbas who said: “When Allah, exalted is He, revealed the verse (And approach not the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better…), whoever had an orphan’s wealth with him proceeded to isolate his food and drink from the orphan’s food and drink, and whatever remained of the orphan’s food was kept aside until the orphan would use it or it gets bad; and this was a source of anguish for people. They went and mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and as a response, Allah, glorified and exalted, revealed (And they question thee concerning orphans. Say: To improve their lot is best), by mixing their food and drink with their food and drink”.