Here, we are asked to “loan” to Allah (i.e. donate for his cause) a “goodly loan” (i.e. spend it out of goodness of heart—Tafseer al Jalaalayn).
What is our natural reaction when asked to part with our wealth, something we work so hard to earn, and something that we guard so carefully?
“Will there be enough left to pay the bills? Save for college? Save for retirement?” The questions come swiftly, holding off our more noble desires to spend for a good cause.
But the Qur’an reads our mind and responds quickly: “And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.” Just as quickly as our mind formulates the questions and worries, the Qur’an dispels them: spend without fear, O servant of God, for your spending for Allah’s sake will not decrease your wealth. The Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) emphasized this further when he said, “Wealth is not decreased by charity.”*
Allah encourages us to give without fear, for He is the only one who can cause our wealth to increase or decrease.* When we spend for his sake, more avenues will open up for our own wealth to increase in quantity and quality (blessings).
He also tells us: “And to Him you will be returned.” What is the big deal if our money goes to the One to whom we are all going? The imagery of a “loan” is invoked precisely for this reason: when we give our money in Allah’s cause, we are not throwing it to the wind. Rather, we are putting on hold, putting it as savings with the One who will protect it the most.* Then, when we return to Him, we will be repaid not in kind, but manifold times more than our original principal.
A person will be completely unable to grasp this reality of money and will be unable to take the necessary shift in paradigm unless they are firmly grounded in yaqeen—certainty.* “And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.” Without firm, unwavering, unshakeable certitude in this statement, a person will be unable to muster the courage and faith needed to spend in Allah’s way.
With the true faith in this statement, a person’s hands will open freely, remembering Allah’s promise: loan to me, and I shall repay you many times over. Do we really believe Allah’s promise?
* Points with an asterisk are adapted from the Tafseer lessons of Dr. Farhat Hashmi “Taleem-ul-Qur’an” found here. The remaining points are from myself or other sources as noted.