The Quran

Commentaries for 9.59

Al Tawba (Immunity) - التوبة

9.59 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
((How much more seemly) had they) i.e. the hypocrites (been content with that which Allah and His messenger had given them) of Allah's bounty (and had said: Allah sufficeth us) we trust in Allah. (Allah will give us of His bounty) Allah will make us rich with His favour by means of His sustenance, (and (also) His messenger) through his gifts. (Unto Allah we are supplicants) we desire Allah. Had they said this, it would have been better for them.
9.59 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
If only they had been content with what God and His Messenger have given them, in the way of spoils and the like, and had said, ‘Sufficient for us is God; God will give us from His bounty, and His Messenger [will also give us], from other spoils, what will suffice us; to God we are suppliants’, that He enrich us (the response of [the conditional] law, ‘if only’, is la-kāna khayran lahum, ‘it would have been better for them’).
9.58-59 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
Hypocrites question the Integrity of the Messenger when distributing Alms
Allah said next,
(And of them), among the hypocrites,
مَّن يَلْمِزُكَ
(who accuse you) or question your integrity,
(concerning), division of,
(the alms), when you divide them. They question your fairness, even though it is they who deserve that their integrity be questioned. The hypocrites do not do this in defense of the religion, but to gain more for themselves. This is why,
أُعْطُواْ مِنْهَا
(If they are given) meaning, from the Zakah,
رَضُواْ وَإِن لَّمْ يُعْطَوْاْ مِنهَا إِذَا هُمْ يَسْخَطُونَ
(They are pleased, but if they are not given thereof, behold! They are enraged!) 9:58, angry for themselves. Qatadah commented on Allah's statement,
وَمِنْهُمْ مَّن يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَـتِ
(And of them are some who accuse you concerning the alms. ) "Allah says, `Some of them question your integrity in the matter of distribution of the alms.' We were told that a bedouin man, who had recently embraced Islam, came to the Prophet, when he was dividing some gold and silver, and said to him, `O Muhammad! Even though Allah commanded you to divide in fairness, you have not done so.' The Prophet of Allah said,
«وَيْلَكَ فَمَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَعْدِلُ عَلَيْكَ بَعْدِي؟»
(Woe to you! Who would be fair to you after me then) The Prophet of Allah said next,
«احْذَرُوا هَذَا وَأَشْبَاهَهُ فَإِنَّ فِي أُمَّتِي أَشْبَاهُ هَذَا يَقْرَءُونَ الْقُرآنَ لَا يُجَاوِزُ تَرَاقِيهِمْ فَإِذَا خَرَجُوا فَاْقْتُلُوهُمْ، ثُمَّ إِذَا خَرَجُوا فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ، ثُمَّ إِذَا خَرَجُوا فَاقْتُلُوهُم»
(Beware of this man and his likes! There are similar persons in my Ummah who recite the Qur'an, but the Qur'an will not go beyond their throat. If they rise (against Muslims rulers) then kill them, if they rise, kill them, then if they rise kill them.) We were also told that the Prophet of Allah used to say,
«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ مَا أُعْطِيكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا أَمْنَعُكُمُوهُ إِنَّمَا أَنَا خَازِن»
(By He in Whose Hand is my life! I do not give or withhold anything; I am only a keeper.)'' This statement from Qatadah is similar to the Hadith that the Two Shaykhs narrated from Abu Sa`id about the story of Dhul-Khuwaysirah, whose name was Hurqus. Hurqus protested against the Prophet's division of the war spoils of Hunayn, saying, "Be fair, for you have not been fair!'' The Prophet said,
«لَقَدْ خِبْتُ وَخَسِرْتُ إِنْ لَمْ أَكُنْ أَعْدِل»
(I would have become a loser and a failure if I was not fair!) The Messenger said after that man left,
«إِنَّهُ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ ضِئْضِىءِ هَذَا قَوْمٌ يَحْقِرُ أَحَدُكُمْ صَلَاتَهُ مَعَ صَلَاتِهِمْ وَصِيَامَهُ مَعَ صِيَامِهِمْ، يَمْرُقُونَ مِنَ الدِّينِ مُرُوقَ السَّهْمِ مِنَ الرَّمِيَّةِ، فَأَيْنَمَا لَقِيتُمُوهُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ؛ فَإِنَّهْم شَرُّ قَتْلَى تَحْتَ أَدِيمِ السَّمَاء»
(Among the offspring of this man will be some with whose prayer, when one of you sees it, would belittle his prayer, and his fast as compared to their fast. They will be renegades from the religion, just like an arrow goes through the game's body. Wherever you find them, kill them, for verily, they are the worst dead people under the cover of the sky.) Allah said next, while directing such people to what is more beneficial for them than their behavior,
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ رَضُوْاْ مَآ ءَاتَـهُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَقَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ سَيُؤْتِينَا اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَرَسُولُهُ إِنَّآ إِلَى اللَّهِ رَغِبُونَ
(Would that they were content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them and had said: "Allah is sufficient for us. Allah will give us of His bounty, and so will His Messenger (from alms). We implore Allah (to enrich us).'') This honorable Ayah contains a gracious type of conduct and an honorable secret. Allah listed; contentment with what He and His Messenger give, trusting in Allah alone -- by saying;
وَقَالُواْ حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ
(and they had said: Allah is sufficient for us), and hoping in Allah alone, and He made these the indications of obedience to the Messenger, adhering to his commands, avoiding his prohibitions, believing his narrations and following his footsteps.
9.58-60 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
The people referred to were the hypocrites, who felt depressed on every occasion of the distribution of the Zakat collections, for they thought that they were not being given their due share. Then they would taunt the Holy Prophet with making unfair distributions. This happened when the payment of Zakat was made an obligatory duty on all those Muslims whose possessions exceeded the prescribed limits. They were required to contribute from their agricultural products, animals, commercial commodities, minerals dug out of mines and the gold and silver they possessed, at different rates, varying from 2½% to 20%,and all these were collected and spent in a systematic way from a central place.
As a result of this so much wealth flowed into the hands of a single person, the Holy Prophet, that it had no parallel in the whole territory of Arabia. Naturally the materialists looked at these things with greedy eyes and wanted to grab as much as possible out of this wealth. But their greed could not be satisfied, for the Holy Prophet, who had made the use of Zakat Fund unlawful for his own person and for his own relatives, could not be expected to give anything out of it to anyone who did not deserve it. It is thus obvious that they found fault with the Holy Prophet not because he was unfair in the distribution of the Zakat collections but because he did not allow the hypocrites to grab anything from these without any right to them. They, however, very cunningly hid their real grievance, and accused the Holy Prophet of showing partiality and injustice in the distribution of the Zakat collection
That is, it would have been much better for them if they had been content with their share of the spoils which the Holy Prophet gave them and what they earned by the grace of Allah and with the prosperity Allah had bestowed on them.
It would have been good for. them to adopt this attitude: "Allah suffices us....bounty," for they ought to have known that they would receive their due shares besides the Zakat collections out of the wealth that would come to the State treasury, just as they were receiving their shares previously.
"We look to Allah alone" means "We give ow attention to Allah and His grace and not to the world and its worthless riches and we desire to do His Will: we direct ow expectations and hopes to Him and we are content with what He bestows on us."
According to the Arabic usage (fuqara: the needy) are all those people who depend on others for the necessities of life. The Arabic word fuqara'. is a general word for all those who are needy because of some physical defects, or old age, or temporarily, and can become self-supporting if they are helped. e.g. orphans, widows, the unemployed, etc., etc.
According to the Arabic usage( masakin) are those indigent people who are in greater distress than the needy people usually are. The Holy Prophet especially enjoined the Muslims to help such people as are unable to find the necessary means to satisfy their wants and are in very straitened circumstances, but are so self-respecting that they would not beg for anything nor would others judge from their outward appearance that they were deserving people. According to a Tradition "Miskin is one who cannot make both ends meet, though his appearance does not show that he needs help nor does he beg for help." In short, he is a self-respecting man who has become needy.
"....who are employed to collect them...." are those who collect Zakat dues, supervise the collections and keep accounts, and help in their distribution, irrespective of the fact whether or not they are needy or indigent; their remunerations shall be paid out of the Zakat Funds. In this connection it should be noted well that the Holy Prophet had declared the Zakat Funds to be unlawful for himself and for the members of his own family (Bani Hashim). Accordingly, he never received any remuneration for collecting or distributing Zakat Funds. As regards the other members of Bani Hashim, they were allowed to do this service without receiving any remuneration, but otherwise it is unlawful for them. On the contrary, the payment of the Zakat dues was obligatory on Bani Hashim if their possessions warranted this under the prescribed limits, but under no circumstances whatsoever were they allowed to accept anything out of zakat collected from others.
There is, however, a difference of opinion as to whether they should accept anything out of the collections made from their own family or not. Imam Abu Yusuf opines that they are allowed to accept these when they are needy or poor or wayfarers, but the majority of the Jurists regard this also unlawful.
A portion of Zakat Funds may also be given to win over to Islam those who might be engaged in anti-lslamic activities or to those in the camp of the unbelievers who might be brought to help the Muslims or to those newly converted Muslims, who might be inclined to revert to kufr if no monetary help was extended to them. It is permissible to award pensions to them or give them lump sums of money to make them helpers of Islam or submissive to it or at least to render them into harmless enemies. A portion of the spoils or other incomes may be spent on them and, if need be, also a portion of Zakat Funds. In such cases, the condition of being needy or indigent or on a journey etc., is also waived; nay, they might be even rich people or chiefs who are otherwise not eligible for anything from Zakat Funds.
All are agreed that during the time of the Holy Prophet pensions and gifts were given under the head of 'winning over people', but there is a difference of opinion whether this head of expenditure was abolished or not after his death. Imam Abu Hanifah and his followers are of the opinion that it was abolished during the Caliphate of Hadrat `Umar, and `now it is not lawful to spend anything under this head'. Imam Shafi`i is of the opinion that something tray be given to j sinful Muslims under this head from Zakat Funds but not to unbelievers, while other Jurists arc of the opinion that expenses under this head are lawful even now, if a need arises for them.
The Hanafis base their opinion on an incident that happened after the death of the Holy Prophet. `Uyainah bin Hisan and Aqra`a bin Habis came to Hadrat Abu Bakr and asked him to allot to them a certain piece of land. So he gave them a written order for this. They took it to some other highly placed Companions for further confirmation and some of them endorsed this order. But when they took it to Hadrat `Umar, he tore the paper into pieces before their very eyes, saying, "It is true that the Holy Prophet used to give something to win over your hearts because Islam was weak at that time, but now Allah has made Islam so strong that it does not stand in need of people like you. " At this they went to Hadrat Abu Bakr and complained to him about it and taunted him, saying, "Are you the Caliph or `Umar?" But he took no notice of this nor did any of the Companions differ with Hadrat `Umar's opinion. The Hanafis conclude from this incident that when the number and power of Muslims increased by the grace of Allah and they no longer stood in need of any support from such people; the reason for which expenses under this head were permitted in the first instance remained no longer there. Therefore the Companions unanimously abolished expenditure under this head.
Imam Shafi'i says that there is nothing to prove that the Holy Prophet ever spent anything out of Zakat Funds under this head. All the incidents mentioned in the traditions show that whatever he spent for the purpose of winning over hearts to Islam, was spent out of the spoils of war and not out of Zakat funds.
In my opinion there is nothing to show that the expenses for winning over hearts have been made unlawful for ever up to the Last Day. There is no doubt that the action taken by Hadrat `Umar was absolutely right, for if and when the Islamic State does not consider it necessary to spend anything under this head, Islam does not make it obligatory to spend something for `winning hearts'. On the other hand, if need for this arises at any time, it is authorized to incur expenses under this head for Allah has kept a provision for this. Hadrat `Umar and the other Companions agreed only on this that there was no need to give anything for this purpose at that time because the circumstances did not warrant it. But there is no reason to conclude from this that the Companions disallowed for ever the expenses that were permitted by the Qur'an under certain circumstances for the good of Islam.
As regards the opinion of Imam Shafi`i, it appears to be correct in so far as it is not lawful to spend anything under this head out of Zakat Funds, if these expenses can be met out of other funds. But if it is necessitated that something should be spent under this head out of Zakat Funds, there is no reason why a differentiation should be made in this regard between sinful Muslims and unbelievers. For the Qur'an has not allocated the share because of the faith of the prospective recipients but because Islam required to win their hearts for its own good and because this could not be achieved except by giving them a portion of wealth. Therefore the Qur'an allows the Amir of the Believers to spend a part of the Zakat Funds to achieve this end, if, when and where the required conditions exist. The fact that the Holy Prophet did not spend anything from the Zakat Funds on unbelievers for this purpose does not mean that it is unlawful to do so, for he did not spend from this fund because there was enough money in other funds for this purpose. Had it been unlawful to spend anything from Zakat Funds on unbelievers, he would have explicitly forbidden it.
A portion of Zakat Funds may be spent for the ransoming of slaves in two ways. First, help may be given to a slave for the payment of the ransom money, if he enters into an agreement with his master that he will set him free, if the slave pays him a certain amount of money. The second way is that the Islamic government may itself pay the price of Iris freedom and set him at liberty. There is a consensus of opinion about the first way, but there is difference of opinion about the second way. Hadrat 'Ali, Said bin Jubair, Laith Thauri, Ibrahim Nakh`i, Sha'abi; and Muhammad bin Sirin, Hanafis and Shafi'' is consider this as unlawful while Ibn, 'Abbas, Hasan Basri, Malik, Ahmad and Abu Thaur consider this as lawful expenditure from this Fund.
Help may be given out of Zakat Funds to such debtors as would be reduced to a state of poverty, if they paid off all their debts out of their own possessions, irrespective of the fact whether they are earning any money or not, whether they are indigent in the general sense or well off. According to some Jurists, the only exceptions to this are those debtors who are spendthrifts or involve themselves in debts by spending money on wicked deeds. Help may be given to them only if and when they repeat.
"The Way of Allah" is a general term which unplies all those good works which please Allah. That is why some Jurists are of the opinion that Zakat Funds may be spent on every kind of good work. But the fact is, and the majority of the earliest Muslim scholars have opined, that here the 'Way of Allah' stands for Jihad in the Way of Allah, that is, the struggle to eradicate the systems based on kufr and to establish the Islamic system in their stead. Therefore the Zakat Fund may be utilised to meet the expenses of the journeys the people make, or for procuring means of conveyance, equipment, weapons and other articles needed for Jihad, irrespective of the fact whether they are so well off or not as to need any help fur personal requirements. Likewise help of a temporary or permanent nature may also be given to those people who devote the whole of their time and energies, temporarily or permanently, for this work
It should also be noted that there has arisen a misunderstanding regarding the "Way of Allah," for the early scholars usually use for Jihad the Arabic word as (ghazyah) which is synonymous with "fight". They, therefore, are of the opinion that Zakat Fund may only be used for the purpose of fighting. But Jihad in the Way of Allah is a much more comprehensive term than mere fighting in the Way of Allah. Jihad applies to all those efforts that are made to degrade the word of kufr and to exalt the Word of Allah and to establish the Islamic System of life, whether by propagating the Message of Allah in the initial stage or by fighting in the final stage of the struggle.
Help from Zakat Fund may be given to a wayfarer on a journey even though he might be quite well off at home.
Some of the Jurists are of the opinion that according to this verse only that wayfarer who does not undertake a journey for a sinful purpose may be helped out of Zakat Funds. But no such condition has been laid down in the Qur'an or the Hadith to this effect. Besides this, we learn from the fundamental principles of Islam that the sins of a needy person would in no way prevent us from helping him As a matter of fact such a help may prove very useful in reforming sinful and depraved persons. For if they get a support in the tithe of need, it may reasonably be expected that they would turn towards purifying their souls.