The Quran

Commentaries for 2.261

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.261 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Then Allah mentioned the spending of the believers in the way of Allah, saying: (The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah's way) He says: the likeness of the wealth of those who spend in His way (is as the likeness of a grain which groweths seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains) likewise, Allah multiplies what the believers spend in His way from one to seven hundred fold. (Allah giveth increase manifold) in surplus of this (to whom He will) to whomever deserves it; it is also said: to whomever Allah accepts his spending. (Allah is All-Embracing) by multiplying his reward manifold, (All-Knowing) of what the believers spend and of their intentions.
2.261 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
The likeness, of the quality of the expenditure, of those who expend their wealth in the way of God, that is, in obedience of Him, is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains: likewise what they expend will be multiplied seven hundred times; so God multiplies, even more than this, for whom He will; God is Embracing, in His bounty, Knowing, those who deserve such multiplications.
2.261 Kashani - Kashani
The likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of God: Glory be to Him, He mentions three types of expenditure and assigns greater merit for some over others in terms of recompense. The first of these is to expend in the way of God, which is to expend in the world of the kingdom against the self-disclosure of the acts which a person does so that God might reward him and He rewards him seven hundred times what he had given, multiplying it [for him] manifold without limit in accordance with His wish because His hand, exalted be He, is infinitely more open [in generosity] and outreaching than his. And God is Embracing, of great gift, whose gift cannot be compared to ours, Knowing, the intentions of givers and their [varying] convictions that such [gifts] are a result of God's favour and so He rewards them accordingly. The second [type of expenditure] is to expend against the station of the witnessing of the attributes in the manner that will be mentioned, which is to expend for the sake of God's satisfaction, in the same way that the former [type of expenditure] is to expend for the sake of acquiring God's gift. The third [type] is to expend through God which is against the station of the presential vision of the Essence.
2.261 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Rewards of Spending in Allah's Cause
This is a parable that Allah made of the multiplication of rewards for those who spend in His cause, seeking His pleasure. Allah multiplies the good deed ten to seven hundred times. Allah said,
مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَلَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
(The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah...)
Sa`id bin Jubayr commented, "Meaning spending in Allah's obedience.'' Makhul said that the Ayah means, "Spending on Jihad, on horse stalls, weapons and so forth.'' The parable in the Ayah is more impressive on the heart than merely mentioning the number seven hundred. This Ayah indicates that Allah `grows' the good deeds for its doers, just as He grows the plant for whoever sows it in fertile land. The Sunnah also mentions that the deeds are multiplied up to seven hundred folds. For instance, Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Mas`ud said that a man once gave away a camel, with its bridle on, in the cause of Allah and the Messenger of Allah said,
«لَتَأْتِيَنَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِسَبْعِمِائَةِ نَاقَةٍ مَخْطُومَة»
(On the Day of Resurrection, you will have seven hundred camels with their bridles.)
Muslim and An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith, and Muslim's narration reads, "A man brought a camel with its bridle on and said, `O Messenger of Allah! This is in the sake of Allah.' The Messenger said,
«لَكَ بِهَا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ سَبْعُمِائَةِ نَاقَة»
(You will earn seven hundred camels as reward for it on the Day of Resurrection. )
Another Hadith: Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
«كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ يُضَاعَفُ، الْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشَرِ أَمْثَالِهَا، إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ، إِلى مَا شَاءَ اللهُ، يَقُولُ اللهُ: إِلَّا الصَّوْمَ فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ، يَدَعُ طَعَامَهُ وَشَهْوَتَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي، وَلِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ: فَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ فِطْرِهِ وَفَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ لِقَاءِ رَبِّهِ، وَلَخَلُوفُ فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ، الصَّوْمُ جُنَّةٌ، الصَّومُ جُنَّة»
(Every good deed that the son of Adam performs will be multiplied ten folds, to seven hundred folds, to many other folds, to as much as Allah wills. Allah said, "Except the fast, for it is for Me and I will reward for it. One abandons his food and desire in My sake.'' The fasting person has two times of happiness: when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord. Verily, the odor that comes from the mouth of whoever fasts is more pure to Allah than the scent of musk. Fasting is a shield (against sinning), fasting is a shield.) Muslim recorded this Hadith.
Allah's statement,
وَاللَّهُ يُضَـعِفُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ
(Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills) is according to the person's sincerity in his deeds.
وَاللَّهُ وَسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
(And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower) meaning, His Favor is so wide that it encompasses much more than His creation, and He has full knowledge in whoever deserves it, or does not deserve it. All the praise and thanks are due to Allah.
2.261-264 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
In the address which -began with verse 243, the believers were exhorted to make sacrifices of life and property for the success of the great and noble cause they believed in. After strengthening their faith in Allah, for whose cause they were required to make sacrifices, the same theme has been resumed from this verse, and instructions have been given for the development of that attitude which is essential for making such sacrifices. It is obvious that people cannot snake monetary sacrifices for a moral cause unless their economic point of view is totally changed. The materialists, who live and die in order to amass wealth and weigh everything in the scales of profit and loss, can never be expected to spend anything for higher ends. Even when they seem to be spending for some noble cause, they do so after calculating how far it would benefit their tribe, their own person or their nation. Obviously with such a mental attitude, one cannot move even a step forward in the Way of Allah. In order to uplift the Word of Allah, one has to spend one's life, energy and wealth, irrespective of any worldly gain or loss. This way requires a broad view, great courage, a big heart and, above all, a sincere desire to win Allah's approval. Moreover, it requires radical changes in the social system in order to eradicate the materialistic morality and create spiritual values instead. That is why from here on up to verse 281, instructions have been given for the creation of that kind of moral attitude.
All that wealth which is spent in accordance with the Divine Law and only for the achievement of Allah's approval is spent in the Way of Allah, even though it might have been spent for one's own needs or those of one's relatives or for the indigent or for public works or for the propagation of Islam or for Jihad.
As Allah has limitless resources and knows everything, one must rest assured that the more sincere one is and the deeper feelings of devotion one has in spending one's wealth in the Way of Allah, the greater will be the reward one will get from Him. One must have a firm conviction that Allah, Who produces seven hundred grains from one grain, has most surely the power of developing the charity seven hundredfold.
After stating this fact, two attributes of Allah have been specially mentioned in this connection to show that the resources of Allah are boundless and He is able to reward deeds to the extent they deserve, and to show that He knows everything and is not unaware of what is spent and with what intention. Therefore there is absolutely no risk of losing one's due reward.
There is neither any fear of losing their due reward nor shall there ever come a time when they will regret what they have spent.
This implies two things. First, Allah does not stand in need of anybody's charity, for He is Self-Sufficient. Secondly, He likes those people who are generous and large-hearted, but does not like frivolous and narrow-minded people, for He Himself is Generous, Clement and Forbearing. How, then Allah, Who bestows on the people the necessities of life without stint, and forgives and pardons them over and over again in spite of their errors, would like those who mar the self-respect of a person by sending repeated reminders of their charity and making pointed references to it even though they might have given only a farthing.
A Tradition of the Holy Prophet says that on the Day of Resurrection, Allah will neither speak a word nor even so much as look at a person who makes pointed references to the gift he gave to some one.
His hypocrisy itself clearly shows that he does not believe in Allah and the Hereafter. The very fact that he practises charity so as to be seen by men, shows that they are his.gods (and not Allah), from whom he expects to get his reward. A hypocrite does neither expect any reward from God nor he believes that one Day all deeds will be judged and rewarded.
In this parable the rain is the charity. The hard barren rock on which the rain falls is the evil intention with which that charity is practised. The thin layer of the earth is the seeming virtue which hides the evil intention. Though rainfall makes the crop grow, it does actual harm, if it falls on a rock which has only a thin layer of soil on it, by washing away even that thin soil and leaving the rock bare. In the same way, though charity has the power of developing virtue, it fails to do so, if it is not practised with good intentions. W without these things the wealth spent in charity is nothing more than so much wealth wasted like the rainfall on the rock with a thin layer of soil.
The word "kafir" here stands for the ungrateful person. Anyone who does not spend the wealth given to him by Allah in His Way and for His Pleasure but spends it to gain approbation from people, is an ungrateful wretch because he forgets the favour of Allah. It is equally true of him who spends something in the Way of Allah but at the same time does harm to the recipient. When such a person himself does not want His approval, it is not Allah's Will to show him the way of His approval.
2.261 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
The likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of God is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears in every ear a hundred grains; so God multiplies for whom He will; God is Embracing Knowing. The compensation for [those who expend their wealth in the way of God] is the garden. The compensation of those who expend their spirits in the way of God is the Real سبحانه. What a difference between the compensation for one who expends his wealth and finds his reward and the [compensation for] one who expends his state and finds nearness! Expending wealth in His way [happens] by [giving] alms ṣadaqa and expending [one's] states in His way [happens] through constant sincerity ṣidq and by negating every worldly concern or portion so that you are pleased with the flowing of His decree over you without any frowning of the heart. The one who spoke for them said: I want to be with him but he wants me to depart. So I leave want I want for what he wants. There are two types of expenditure: the expending of worshipers ʿābidūn and the expending of ecstatics wājidūn. When worshipers give grain it multiplies for them seventy times to what is beyond reckoning. As for the ecstatics it is as it is said: There is nothing good we can bring that they will accept and if we do harm for them there is no erasure.