Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah) this was revealed about 'Uthman Ibn 'Affan and 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn 'Awf, (and afterward make not reproach) to Allah (and injury) upon whom they spend it on (to follow that which they have spent) after their spending; (their reward is with their Lord) in Paradise, (and there shall no fear come upon them) regarding any future torment, (neither shall they grieve) about what they have left behind.
Those who expend their wealth in the way of God then do not follow up their expenditure with reminder of their generosity, of the one on whom they expended, for example, by saying, ‘I was good to him and restored his affairs’; and injury, to that person, by mentioning this to people whom he would prefer not to know about it; their wage, the reward for their expenditure, is with their Lord, and no fear shall befall them, neither shall they grieve, in the Hereafter.
[Those who expend their wealth in the way of God] then do not follow up their expenditure with reminder of their generosity and injury: He [here] warns that expenditure is invalidated by reminding [the recipient] of one's generosity and injury, because expenditure is praiseworthy in all three instances as long as it is in harmony with God's command, exalted be He, and that it removes the vice of greed form the soul of the expender and that it benefits and comforts the deserving [recipient]. But when the [giving] person reminds [the recipient] of his favour, he has then contravened God's command, because such [behaviour] is forbidden, and his soul has manifested itself in arrogance and presumptuous reliance on this blessing with conceit, veiling itself with its [conceited] act and deeming that the blessing is from itself as opposed to from God. All of these are vile traits, more base than greed, that attach themselves to that person: had he only see himself in terms of him being the source of that virtue, it would have sufficed him that that [virtue] was invalidated. As for the third aspect [of expenditure] from the point of view of the one deserving it, the act is invalidated by any injury since that is incompatible with comfort or benefit; the reminder of one's generosity also invalidates that act because it entails haughtiness and the manifestation of artificiality and establishes blame upon that person. He then says:
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.
(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,
لَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ
(their reward is with their Lord), indicating that Allah Himself will reward them for these righteous actions. Further,
وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ
(On them shall be no fear) regarding the horrors of the Day of Resurrection,
وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
(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,
(Kind words) meaning, compassionate words and a supplication for Muslims,
(and forgiving) meaning, forgiving an injustice that took the form of actions or words,
خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَآ أَذًى
(are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury.)
(And Allah is Rich) not needing His creation,
(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,
(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.)
(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,
كَالَّذِى يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَآءَ النَّاسِ
(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,
وَلاَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاٌّخِرِ
(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 كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ
(His likeness is the likeness of Safwan) where Safwan, from is Safwanah, meaning `the smooth rocks,'
عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ
(on which is little dust; on it falls a Wabil) meaning, heavy rain,
(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,
(They are not able to do anything with what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.)
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.
Those who expend their wealth in the way of God then do not follow up their expenditure with a reminder of their generosity and injury their wage is with their Lord and no fear shall befall them neither shall they grieve. The reminder of generosity is proclaiming what you did. The injury is pointing out your beneficence to the one who receives it. It is said that they expend what they expend but they most assuredly do not say anything about their actions or works. It is said “How can you give something while seeking to maintain your control and rights over itḍ” It is said that they do not remind others of what they have done for them but rather bear witness to the favor of God [who] grants them success in that [act of generosity].
(Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah…) [2:262]. Said al-Kalbi: “This verse was revealed about 'Uthman ibn 'Affan and 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf. As for 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf, he went and gave the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, four thousand silver coins to distribute in charity. 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf said to him: 'I have eight thousand silver coins; I have kept four thousand for me and my family and I loan these four thousands to my Lord'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said to him: 'May Allah bless for you that which you have kept and that which you have given'. And as for 'Uthman, may Allah be well pleased with him, he said: 'Upon me is the equipment of anyone who has no equipment for the Battle of Tabuk'. And so he equipped the Muslims with one thousand camels with their hunches and saddle blankets and also gave to charity a well that he owned. This verse was revealed about him”. Said Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: “I saw the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, raising his hand and praying for 'Uthman, saying: 'O Lord! Be well pleased with 'Uthman ibn 'Affan for I am well pleased with him'. His hands remained raised until the break of dawn. Allah, exalted is He, revealed about him (Those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah…)”.