Upon learning these verses, I have deeply reflected upon them, making me question myself as to which category of people I fall in. In the following verses, Allah (s.w.t.) says:
The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.
Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.
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.
And the example of those who spend their wealth seeking means to the approval of Allah and assuring [reward for] themselves is like a garden on high ground which is hit by a downpour – so it yields its fruits in double. And [even] if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle [is sufficient]. And Allah , of what you do, is Seeing.
Would one of you like to have a garden of palm trees and grapevines underneath which rivers flow in which he has from every fruit? But he is afflicted with old age and has weak offspring, and it is hit by a whirlwind containing fire and is burned. Thus does Allah make clear to you [His] verses that you might give thought.
The main idea of these verses is spending for Allah’s sake. In the verses above, Allah tells us how we should spend, what we should spend to/ on and how to act upon doing the action of spending. To what is apparent, spending in the way of Allah is a very good action with a very big reward, but our intention and the actions we follow by it can turn the table around. But we can sometimes belittle this matter, and this goes for all actions of Ihsaan (good).
1) Due to the mercy of Allah, He multiplies the reward of the good we do. He gives us an example of that by comparing a person who does such an action to a seed that produces seven grains in which each of them produce a hundred grains. Meaning, when we spend in the way of Allah, we might see it as something small, but Allah returns the reward in a multiplied form (which would be the reward in the hereafter).
2) No matter how much we give for sadaqah, even if it is all we possess, if we do it to show off or follow the action by Mann and Adhaa, our action goes to waste. What does Allah mean by Riyaa? To show off, to do the action for the purpose of recognition and praise by people. Secondly, Allah tells us not to follow our actions with Mann, which is reminding of the good we did. In many cases, we might see a person reminding the favor he/ she has done to someone only for the purpose of defaming the person or showing superiority. In other cases, the person who did the favor might even end up hurting the one he/ she has done the favor upon by making the person feel helpless or low, which is Adhaa. All of these three actions nullify the sadaqah, all the effort goes to waste, and this is for any action we do.
3) No one is in the position to say “I can’t give sadaqah”. Why? Because sadaqah isn’t only giving money, but even using kind words can be sadaqah, teaching the knowledge we have is a form of sadaqah, and raising a child with tarbiyyah can also be sadaqah.
4) Lastly, we shouldn’t make all the sadaqah we did in our life to go to waste, just as how Allah gives the example in Ayah 266. At times, when a person grows at an old age, Shaytaan might overcome the person, resulting as a huge loss of reward for the person. If a person were to spend all his/ her life giving in the way of Allah, but he/ she ends up depriving someone from their right, then the person’s Sadaqah goes to waste.
An overall lesson we can all take in this is that to keep in mind that we should only do our actions for Allah’s sake, making sure we have purity of intention and do not follow the good deed by Mann and Adhaa. We can all fall into this, which makes us a hypocrite. So it is our job to guard our actions by being mindful before doing our actions, while doing our actions, and after doing our actions.
“We see how serious a deed is or a Hukum (commandment) when Allah repeats it continuously, and regards to Sadaqah, we see Allah has done this in these verses. Upon hearing these verses, we should take heed by watching our intentions before our deeds go to waste. As Allah says: ‘Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.” [Surah Kahf: 103 – 104]