For the end to be good, the means should also be good!
The next ayah addressing Muslims through the kindly address Yaaa Ayyuhal Lazeena Aamanu is also related to spending in the way of Allah but with a similitude that makes a thinking Muslim sit up and take stock of his/her charitable deeds. This is Ayah No. 264 of Surah al Baqarah.
Islam doesn’t approve the slogan ‘Ends justify the means’!
“O you who have believed, do not invalidate your charities with reminders or injury as does one who spends his wealth [only] to be seen by the people and does not believe in Allah and the Last Day. His example is like that of a [large] smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable [to keep] anything of what they have earned. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” (Surah al Baqarah 2: 264)
Listen to this Beautiful Recitation before you proceed further, Inshaa’Allah.
Meaning of key words:
Mann = the act of reminding someone of favours freely given wishing to put him under obligation
Azaa = harm, injury, damage, to harm, to offend, to trouble, to injure, to malign, to affront
La Tubthiluu sadaqaatikum = Do not render your charity in vain, do not invalidate your charity, do not spoil your charity, do not cancel out your charity, do not negate your charitable deeds
Bil Manni wal Azaa = with reproach and injury, by reminders and hurtful words, with reminders or injury, by taunts and injury, by reminders of your generosity or by injury, with reminders and hurtful words/actions
Riyaa =to show off, to be seen.
Points to learn, remember and practice Inshaa’Allah:
1. A Muslim must give charity not only with sincerity and purity of motive but also in an excellent manner.
2. Any charity given to anyone that is followed by taunts, insults, or even verbal reminders renders the act worthless. It would only reveal a person’s madness if he tries to fill a bottomless bucket!
Rich and affording Muslims must develop the ethics of charity-giving. Reminding people of one’s generosity or expecting any favour from the beneficiaries can only be from the culture of uncivilized people!
3. Those who injure the feelings of the poor after giving them charity do so only to be seen by the people. Such people can be hypocrites. Such people are from among those who do not have real or true belief in Allah and the Day of Judgement. It is only of the qualities of the unbelievers!
4. A true believer in Islam, while giving charity or after giving charity, is not puffed with arrogance. He remains humble and gratefully acknowledges the fact that he is only sharing the Allah-given wealth with the less fortunate sections and that he is not doing any kind of favour to the recipients.
5. Allah can turn the table any time and make the poor rich and the rich poor. So a Muslim who is blessed with enough sustenance must be grateful to Almighty Allah at all times.
6. Allah is giving a beautiful example to show how the reward goes into the drain, the reward of those who give charity with reminders or injury or with an intention to be seen by people!
“His example is like that of a [large] smooth stone upon which is dust and is hit by a downpour that leaves it bare. They are unable [to keep] anything of what they have earned”.
7. Giving charity for showing off amounts to Shirk, associating partners with Allah. According to one hadeeth:
“The one who prays and wants people to see them has committed shirk. The one who fasted and they want the people to know about their fasting has committed shirk. The one who gave sadaqah (charity) and wants people to know about their charity has committed shirk.”
8. The following two hadeeths of our glorious Prophet, Sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, must serve as a warning to all of us:
a. Al-Mustawrid reported that the Prophet, sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, said:
“If anyone eats a meal at the expense of a Muslim’s honour, Allah will feed him a like amount of Hell-fire. If anyone clothes himself with a garment at the expense of a Muslim’s honour, Allah will clothe him with a like amount of Hell-fire. If anyone achieves a position of showing-off and hypocrisy at the expense of a Muslim’s honour, Allah will put him in a position of showing-off and hypocrisy on the Day of Rising. (Adab al Mufrad)
b. Jundub (radhiyallahu anhu) said that the Prophet, sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam, said:
“He who so acts to show off, Allah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al Bukhari and Muslim) (For Arabic Text of the ahadeeth, go to this link, Inshaa’Allah
9. In the previous ayah, Allah says:
“Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing” (Surah al Baqarah 2: 263)
Words if kindness and forgiveness are far better than that charity which causes injuries to the feelings of the receivers!
10. In the next ayah, Allah gives a example of those who give charity seeking the pleasure of Allah: