Tafsir on Al-Baqarah (2:267)

Tafsir of the Quran: To Spend Honest Money

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The Encouragement to Spend Honest Money for Allah’s Sake: Al-Baqarah (2:267)

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَنفِقُوا۟ مِن طَيِّبَٰتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّآ أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَرْضِۖ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُوا۟ ٱلْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِـَٔاخِذِيهِ إِلَّآ أَن تُغْمِضُوا۟ فِيهِۚ وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ حَمِيدٌ

English – Sahih International

O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allāh is Free of need and Praiseworthy.

English – Tafsir Ibn Kathir

The Encouragement to Spend Honest Money for Allah’s Sake

Allah says;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الَارْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِأخِذِيهِ إِلاَّ أَن تُغْمِضُواْ فِيهِ

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.

Allah commands His believing servants to spend in charity, as Ibn Abbas stated, from the pure, honest money that they earned and from the fruits and vegetables that He has grown for them in the land.

Ibn Abbas said:

“Allah commanded them to spend from the purest, finest and best types of their money and prohibited spending from evil and dishonest money, because Allah is pure and good and only accepts that which is pure and good.”

This is why Allah said: وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ (and do not aim at that which is bad) meaning, filthy (impure) money, مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِأخِذِيهِ (to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it) meaning:

“If you were given this type, you would not take it, except if you tolerate the deficiency in it. Verily, Allah is far Richer than you, He is in no need of this money, so do not give, for His sake, what you would dislike for yourselves.”

It was reported that,


وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ

مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ


(and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it) means: “Do not spend from the dishonest, impure money instead of the honest, pure money.”

Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Bara bin Azib commented on Allah’s statement:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ امَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّا أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مِّنَ الَارْضِ وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ

(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), that it was revealed about the Ansar. When the season for harvesting date-trees would start, the Ansar would collect ripe-date branches from their gardens and hang them on a rope erected between two pillars in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah. The poor emigrant Companions would eat from these dates. However, some of them (Ansar) would also add lesser type of dates in between ripe-date branches, thinking they are allowed to do so. Allah revealed this Ayah about those who did this,

وَلَا تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ

(and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it).

Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn Abbas commented on the Ayah,

وَلَسْتُم بِأخِذِيهِ إِلاَّ أَن تُغْمِضُواْ فِيهِ

(you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein) means,

“If you had a right on someone who would pay you less than what you gave them, you would not agree until you require more from them to make up the difference. This is why Allah said,

وَلَسْتُم بِأخِذِيهِ إِلاَّ أَن تُغْمِضُواْ فِيهِ

(save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein) meaning,

`How do you agree for Me what you do not agree for yourselves, while I have a right to the best and most precious of your possessions!”‘

Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded this Hadith and Ibn Jarir added,

“And this is the meaning of Allah’s statement,

لَن تَنَالُواْ الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنفِقُواْ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ

By no means shall you attain Al-Birr, unless you spend of that which you love.” (4:92)

Allah said next,

وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ

And know that Allah is Rich (free of all needs), and worthy of all praise.

meaning, “Although Allah commanded you to give away the purest of your money in charity, He is far Richer from needing your charity, but the purpose is that the distance between the rich and the poor becomes less.”

Similarly, Allah said,

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَأوُهَا وَلَـكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ

It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. (22:37)

Allah is Rich and free of needing anything from any of His creatures, while all of His creatures stand in need of Him.

Allah’s bounty encompassing, and what He has never ends. Therefore, whoever gives away good and pure things in charity, let him know that Allah is the Most Rich, His favor is enormous and He is Most Generous, Most Compassionate; and He shall reward him for his charity and multiply it many times. So who would lend to He Who is neither poor nor unjust, Who is worthy of all praise in all His actions, statements, and decisions, of Whom there is neither a deity worthy of worship except Him, nor a Lord other than Him.

What you should take away from this:

Surah Al-Baqarah (2:267) encourages believers to spend from their wealth for the sake of Allah with sincerity and honesty. It underscores that the quality of the donation is more significant than the quantity, emphasising that true acts of charity are those done with a pure heart and a genuine intention to seek Allah’s pleasure.

Additionally, the ayah stresses that charitable acts should not be driven by a desire for public recognition but rather by a sincere commitment to serving Allah and helping others. It serves as a reminder that acts of charity, when done with integrity and a sense of responsibility, contribute to the well-being of the individual and the community, fostering a spirit of compassion and selflessness.

The ayah also implies that honest spending for Allah’s sake brings manifold blessings and rewards. It reinforces the idea that wealth is a trust from Allah, urging responsible use to benefit society. By highlighting the spiritual significance of charitable acts, the ayah encourages believers to cultivate a mindset of generosity, compassion, and gratitude—a holistic approach to wealth with ethical and moral dimensions in the context of one’s relationship with Allah and fellow human beings.

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