The hallmark of true Believers: Excellence in charity!
The next ayah that starts with Yaaa Ayyuhal Lazeena Aamanu in Surah al Baqarah is ayah No. 267.
Islam’s unique feature is evident in this command: Do unto others what you would like others to do with you.
Excellence is the hallmark of Islam. It is so amazingly evident from Islam’s approach to the very concept of Sadaqah: ‘spending in the way of Allah’.
“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 Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.” (Surah al Baqarah 2: 267)
Some of the key words in this ayah:
Anfiqu = imperative verb: spend!
Tayyibaat = (from Tayyib) Good, pure, clean
Tayammamu = aim (at)
Kabeeth = (opp. of Tayyib) Bad, vicious, wicked, evil, impure
Kasabtum = you have earned
Tughmidhu = (from gh-ma-dha) to sleep, to close one’s eyes, to lower the price of goods because of its inferior quality.
Some points to learn, remember and practice Inshaa’Allah:
1. Muslims are commanded by Allah to “spend from the Tayyibaat, the good things” which they “have earned”.
That is: Spend from the best part of your earnings.
During the time of the Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam), some Muslims of Madinah used to bring bad quality of dates as charity and leave them in Masjid-un-Nabawi for others to eat from. Hence this ayah was revealed telling them to give in charity only from the good things which they have earned.
2. When can something be considered as perfectly good? Only when it is halaal (lawful)!
So that which is halaal is tayyib (good). And that which is coming from haraam income is kabeeth (bad)
We Muslims are neither allowed to earn through haraam income nor will our charity coming from haraam sources/income/earnings will be acceptable by Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’aala.
So the ayah emphasizes that the thing given in charity must be from one’s lawful income.
3. Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Allah is above all defects and deficiencies. He is Generous and Benevolent. It would be man’s folly to take it for granted that He will accept charity coming from bad sources or haraam income. The One who is full of Best Attributes cannot be appreciative of those who possess low and evil qualities!
So Allah has commanded Muslims 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.
4. Spend “from that which We have produced for you from the earth” is addressed to those Muslims who happen to be the owners of harvested crops that they must give out Zakah every time they harvest the crop. It does not matter whether the harvested crop is little in quality or more.
“And He it is who causes gardens to grow, [both] trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. Eat of [each of] its fruit when it yields and give its due [zakah] on the day of its harvest. And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” (Surah al An-aam 6: 141)
5. “And do not aim toward the defective therefrom, spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes”.
This is in fact a warning from Allah to all affording Muslims.
During Ramadhaan we can witness the plight.
Muslims shopping for cheap type of clothes. Sadaqah dresses!! Zakaat Rice!!
It is so disgusting to witness those Muslims who can give from their very best opting for defective/cheap/bargained items to be given in charity. This is so bad.
Once I had bitter experience. After collecting tons of clothes/blankets for the Tsunami-affected some years ago, me and my friends, had to virtually throw away some pieces because they were so worthless.
It is really shameful that the followers of a Deen that teaches lofty ideals should stoop to such low a level when considering goods to be given in charity.
That’s why Allah is asking us: Why do you give something which ‘you would not take it yourself’?
6. Satan always puts a thought in the mind of true Believers saying that ‘your charity will decrease your wealth’. He scares us to the extent we become niggardly and miserly.
Satan diverts Muslims into spending in immoral and useless pursuits. Giving sadaqah is one of the best deeds in Islam. And Satan aims to divert us.