After reading Surah al-Anbiyaa, I noticed The Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam) as well as other prophets quoted as saying, ربي “Rabbee” (my lord) in their prayers. It’s such a simple yet lovely phrase: My Lord. ربي Rabbee. Here in this moment, it is just me and You. You are *my* caretaker, nourisher, supporter, sustainer. I love you so much that I call You mine. A deep, enduring, touching phrase we can take and use in our own private munajaat–discourse– with Allah.
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.
Al-Baqarah: 110 “And whatsoever you put forth of good for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah is all-seeing over what you do.”
When is hoarding a virtue? When it comes to good deeds. Be like the squirrel, who takes every opportunity to tuck away food stores that it may come later and find it stored and ready for him to feast upon. Every good deed that we do, no matter how small, will be noted and tucked away for us as a reward in the hereafter. And what better reward can there be but the reward that is with Allah?
In an effort to help me review my Tafseer lessons from my AlHuda Institute Taleem-ul-Qur’an course, I will–Insha’Allah, God willing–be posting short comments from the meanings of various verses in the Qur’an. I hope these points will also be of benefit to others. For those who are not familiar with the program, the Taleem-ul-Qur’an course is a course that takes the student through the whole Qur’an word-by-word, verse-by-verse. By the end of the course, one must be able to understand the Qur’an word-for-word as well as know the Arabic roots of each word. A general tafseer is also given of the verses.
One learns the connections between the various words and their ayat on the micro-level, and on a more macro-level, one learns the connections between the themes within each surah as well as the relationships between each of the surahs themselves. The course does not produce scholars, it’s goal is more humble and yet no less important–it is to help each student develop an intimate connection to the Qur’an, such that she understands it in its own language, and such that she understands the messages it contains for her as an individual.
I had met a few students of this course before joining myself, and each managed to convey this almost ethereal connection that they had developed to the Qur’an, and they had an incredibly humble feeling of transformation in their life after immersing themselves in the beauties of the Noble Book. They are the ones who encouraged me to begin on this journey of study, and I am utterly grateful to them for setting such a beautiful example. I can only hope that by passing on a few morsels of knowledge in writing here I am able to continue igniting the passion for knowledge, if only in one person.