Charity is like a plant

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The example of those who spend in the way of Allah is just like a grain that produced seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains, and Allah multiplies (the reward) for whom He wills. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. [Al Quran 2:261]

Allah compares an accepted act of charity to a grain. This analogy explains many things about charity and help us understand the rhythm of next ayaat.

Doing an act of charity is a lot like planting a seed. In order for this seed to mature into a plant from which we may benefit there are certain conditions which have to be met and many things that need to be taken care of.

The first thing is that the farmer needs to know what he is doing. He must know what may damage his plant and what will make it thrive. So immediately after the above ayaah, Allah tells us that following our charities with reminders of gratitude and favour or threats of injury or hurt will actually damage our charity. Forgiveness and kind words on the other hand will prosper our charity.

Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, then do not make their spending followed by boasting about favour, or with causing hurt,- they have their reward with their Lord and there is no fear for them nor shall they grieve. A graceful word and forgiving is better than charity followed by causing hurt. Allah is All-Independent, Forbearing. [Quran 2:262-263]

Similarly doing charity with the intention of showing off is like sowing the seed in the earth gathered atop a rock – nothing will grow from it. But spending for the pleasure of Allah is like a garden on a foothill on which came a heavy rain!

O you who believe, do not nullify your acts of charity by boasting about (doing people a) favour and by causing (them) hurt, like the one who spends his wealth to show off before people and does not believe in Allah and in the Last Day. So, his example is like a rock on which there is dust, then a heavy rain came over it and left it barren. They have no ability to gain anything out of what they have done, and Allah does not give guidance to the people who disbelieve. The example of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make firm (their faith) from (the depths of) their souls is like a garden on a foothill on which came a heavy rain, and it yielded its produce twofold. Even if a heavy rain does not come to it, a light drizzle is enough, and Allah is watchful of what you do. [Quran 2:264- 265]

The second thing is the quality of the seed itself. If the seed is rotten nothing will grow out of it. Only a wholesome and pure seed will yield a beneficial harvest. Similarly the money we are spending in the path of Allah must be clean and pure. We cannot spend money earned through a liquor store or interest in the path of Allah and expect that to bring us reward. Similarly we can’t expect the pleasure of Allah if all we give in charity is old and unwanted stuff.

O you who believe, spend of the good things you have earned, and of what We have brought forth for you from the earth, and do not opt for a bad thing, spending only from it, while you are not going to accept it (if such a thing is offered to you), unless you close your eyes to it, and know well that Allah is All-Independent, Ever-Praised. [Quran 2:267]

The third thing is that the soil in which the seed is sown has to be carefully examined before sowing the seed. We cannot grow tropical fruits in desert oasis and vice versa. So the people on whom you are spending must meet the criteria set by Allah. And giving a few bucks to the beggar at the traffic lights is not the same as looking after widows and orphans in the family and neighborhood.

(Your charities should be preferably meant) for the needy who are confined in the way of Allah, unable to travel in the land. An ignorant person takes them as free of need because of their abstinence. You know them by their appearance (from begging). They do not beg people importunately, and whatever good thing you spend, Allah is All-Aware of it. [Quran 2:273]

May Allah accept our sadaqaat. Ameen

سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك نشهد ان لااله الّا انت نستغفرك و نتوب اليك

 

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