Beginning Of The Verses Of Alma Giving (VERSE NO. 261)
 

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THE COMMENTARY

Alms giving is an important matter on which Islam has laid a heavy stress. This is why perhaps these verses follow those about Resurrection Day.

There is no doubt that alms-giving is an effective means of salvation, and the parable of those who spend their wealth for the sake of God is illustrated by QUR?N as follows: ``the parable of those who spend their substance for the cause of Allah is the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, and each bears a hundred grain.'' The reward of the alms giver is not limited to that amount and according to the verse: ``Allah makes that two fold, or manifold for whom He wills.'' Such a high reward might be due to the giver's merits, sincerity, or purity of faith.

ALMS-GIVING IS AN IMPORTANT MEANS IN SOLVING THE PROBLEMS OF CLASS DISTINCTION.

By pondering over the verses of QUR?N we come to know that one of the Islamic goals is to nullify and frustrate the unjust class distinction of poor and rich. It helps to bring up the life level of those who cannot do it without the help of others. To reach such a sacred goal, Islam has devised a vast plan and programme, such as absolute prohibition of usury, paying religious taxes like the tithe and the one fifth, alms and charity, dedication and lending for goodness, and other helps and supports incumbent upon the believers, all of which may serve to strengthen the spirit of brotherhood among Muslims.

(( 262 )) 262- THOSE WHO EXPEND THEIR WEALTH IN THE WAY OF ALLAH, AND DO NOT FOLLOW THEIR ALMS-GIVING WITH REMINDERS OF THEIR GENEROSITY, OR WITH INJURY; THEIR

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REWARD IS WITH THEIR LORD, AND THEY SHALL HAVE NO FEAR, NOR THEY GRIEVE.

THE COMMENTARY
WHAT KIND OF ALMS-GIVING IS VALUED? (VERSE NO. 262)


In the preceding verses importance of alms-giving was mentioned in general, and here some terms and conditions are brought to light: ``Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah, and do not follow their gift with reminding and boasting of their generosity, or with annoyance of the recipient.'' Here a high standard is set for alms-giving, and any other charity that: ``It should not be mentioned through boasting or followed by any sort of injury and annoyance to the recipient. And while no reward is to be expected for the gift, it has manifold rewards and benefits with the Lord; material, moral, or spiritual; and in fact no one loses anything by giving alms in the way of God.''

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263- HONOURABLE WORD WITH FORGIVENESS IS BETTER THAN CHARITY FOLLOWED BY INJURY. AND ALLAH IS FREE OF WANT, ALL-CLEMENT.

THE COMMENTARY
VERSE NO. 263


This verse is a complementary to the preceding one, alluding to kind behaviour to the recipient, and sincerity in the essence of charity, without spoiling it by tricks that harms: ``Honourable and kind words, and forgiveness is far better than a charity which is followed by injury.'' We ought to know that if we spend something for the sake of God, Allah is not in need of our gift and charity. He is absolutely free of any sort of wants. On the contrary we are in need of God to show

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forbearance to our great shortcomings and to accept our charity in order to cover our faults and sins through it. Our prophet through a tradition, has shone light on some angles of charity saying: ``When a poor is asking your help, do not interrupt him, till he says all that he wants to say. Then answer him politely and with mildness; and do whatever you can for him, or reject honourably and with kindness, because he might be an angel disguised, who is asking you for a trial, to know how do you deal with God's Grace and bounties!

(( 264 ))

264- O, YOU WHO BELIEVE! DO NOT MAR YOUR ALMS-GIVING WITH REMINDER OF YOUR GENEROSITY, AND WITH INJURY - LIKE HIM WHO SPENDS HIS WEALTH FOR SHOWING TO PEOPLE (IN PRETENCE) AND DOES NOT BELIEVE IN ALLAH AND THE LAST DAY. SO HIS PARABLE IS THE PARABLE OF A PIECE OF STONE ON WHICH IS A (THIN LAYER OF) SOIL. (IN WHICH SOME SEEDS ARE SOWED) THEN A HEAVY RAIN FALLS UPON IT, LEAVING IT BARE. (WASHING IT OUT) THEY SHALL GAIN NOTHING FROM THEIR WORKS. AND ALLAH DOES NOT GUIDE THE UNBELIEVING PEOPLE.

(( 265 ))

265- AND THE LIKENESS OF THOSE WHO EXPEND THEIR WEALTH, SEEKING TO PLEASE ALLAH AND TO CONFIRM

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THEMSELVES; IS AS THE LIKENESS OF A GARDEN ON AN ELEVATED GROUND (THAT SUNLIGHT, FRESH AIR, AND RAINFALLS, REACH IT EASILY) UPON WHICH HEAVY RAIN FALLS, AND IT BRINGS FORTH ITS PRODUCE TWOFOLD. EVEN IF NO RAIN FALL ON IT, IS WATERED BY LIGHT MOISTURE, AND ALLAH SEES WHATEVER YOU DO.

THE COMMENTARY
TWO REMARKABLE PARABLES TO ILLUSTRATE THE STIMULI OF ALMS-GIVING (VERSE NO. 264)


In this verse and the next one, it is mentioned that believers should not mar and spoil their charity by boasting of their generosity and making a show of their gifts and alms, nor should they follow it by injury of any kind to the recipient. Two parables have been struk to make clear that false charity which is given for show and pretence is of no value in the sight of God, It is compared to a hard and smooth piece of stone, on which has fallen a little soil. Rain, that naturally renders fertile soil fruitful, in this case washes out the soil on the stone, leaving it bare - That is to say the hypocrite and insincere alms giver can drive nothing from it, and also from the whole lot of wealth that he has amassed. This is because Allah knows well whatever we do, and He guides not the unbelieving people.

VERSE NO. 265

In this one, another remarkable example is brought to minds. for those believers who stand opposite to the first pretender and hypocrite class of people. These are the faithful ones who spend their wealth sincerely for the cause of God, seeking His pleasure and wanting to strengthen their own soul and inner side: Their likeness is the likeness of a garden, on an elevated level or a hill - top. Their charity is likened

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to a field with good soil on a high situation. It catches the shower, the moisture and dew, the sun beam, and the fresh air easily and bears its fruits and produces twofold Even if the rain is not enough for it the garden may catch dew and air's moisture, making the most of the little it gets, bearing still enough fruit. The charitable man in this class looks to God's pleasure and prays to strengthen his soul and self.

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266- WOULD ANY OF YOU WISH TO HAVE A GARDEN OF PALMS AND VINES, WITH STREAMS FLOWING IN IT. HE HAS IN IT ALL KINDS OF FRUITS, AND OLD AGE HAS STRUCK HIM, AND HE HAS WEAKLING OFFSPRING, (TO SUPPORT) THEN A WHIRLWIND WITH FIRE IN IT, SMITES THE GARDEN AND IT IS BURNT OUT. SO MAKES ALLAH CLEAR THE SIGNS FOR YOU THAT YOU MAY GIVE THOUGHT.

THE COMMENTARY
ANOTHER INTERESTING SIMILE (VERSE NO. 266)


In this verse a fourth parable is added about the charity mingled with insincerity and hypocrisy, and followed by injury and annoyance of the recipient. The verse also explains its bearing on the whole of our life saying: ``Does any one of you like to have a beautiful garden of palms and vines, and all kinds of fruits, watered with streams that flow beneath its trees? Meanwhile

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the owner has reached the old age, and his children are not strong enough to be of any use; and Lo! At once, a sudden whirlwind comes, accompanied by lightening or fire, and burns the garden into ashes; blasting all the hopes for the present and future, and destroying the results of all the past labours! the whirlwinds of insincerity, pretence, and hypocrisy, and the wrath of God, has blasted all the wealth amassed as well as all the hopes.''

And so strikes Allah such parables, making clear the signs, for people that they may give thought and use their brain. this is because the source of all the misfortunes, and the foolish deeds that we do, is our thoughtlessness, and God invites all of us to think and to use our brain. (The Messenger of God has said: ``An hour of thinking worths a life time of prayer and worships.'')

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267- O, YOU WHO BELIEVE! GIVE ALMS OF THE GOOD THINGS YOU HAVE EARNED, AND OF THAT WE HAVE PRODUCED FOR YOU FROM THE EARTH. (OF RESOURCES - MINES, MINERAL, TREES, PLANTS AND etc.) AND INTEND NOT THE BAD ONES OF IT FOR YOUR CHARITY, WHEN YOU YOURSELVES WOULD ACCEPT IT WITH EYES CLOSED! (WITH RELUCTANCEY) AND KNOW THAT ALLAH IS FREE OF ALL WANTS, THE PRAISE WORTHY.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 267)


Imam Sadiq (AS), has said: ``In Pagan Era, some people amassed a lot of wealth by usury, and paid some of it as alms.'' This verse came down to

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prohibit that sort of charity, and to emphasize that something good and valuable should be given which is earned honourably.

WHAT IS TO BE GIVEN IN CHARITY?

In this verse which is the sixth about charity, it is made clear as what is to be given as alms - and that is something good and valuable which has honourably been earned: ``O, Believers! Give alms of the good things that you have earned, and of that we have produced for you from the earth.'' That which is produced in nature and can be referred to, as God's bounty. In fact this is what Allah has granted to you, and you should give the choice part, and the best of it for the cause of God.

The verse then puts stress on the matter that you should intend not to give the bad ones of it for your charity. Some people are used to give in charity, what seems to them out of use and worthless! Such a gift is no better than nothing, and is strictly prohibitd in Islam. There is a fine hint in this verse, because in one side of the charity stands God who is free of all wants, and on the other side the needy believer and faithful to God whose personality and spiritual dignity is high. Therefore giving worthless or low value things in charity is to despise the believers and to disregard Allah.

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268- (WHEN YOU ARE GIVING ALMS) SATAN PROMISES YOU POVERTY AND BIDS YOU UNTO INDECENCY, AND ALLAH PROMISES YOU HIS FORGIVENESS AND HIS GRACE. AND ALLAH IS THE EXTENDER THE KNOWER.

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THE COMMENTARY

CHALLENGE AGAINST THE OBSTACLES OF CHARITY (VERSE NO. 268)


We now come to one of the important obstacles in the way of charity, and that is the Satan's temptation. When we intend to do something good for the cause of Allah, we find ourself assailed with doubts and fear of poverty and failure! On the other hand, these evil temptations will support our greed, or extravagant expenditure for show and pretence. ``Satan promises you poverty, and bids you unto indecency.'' Satan seduces by inciting: ``Beware and don't forget providing for the future of your children and your own old age. Know that charity begins at home, and priority is for your own children and family.'' Evil does that but: ``Allah promises you His Forgiveness and Grace;'' and draws you on to that which is good and right, wherein His Forgiveness and Mercy lies.

Alms-giving may reduce a little, but will increase a lot to the giver's material, moral, and spiritual capital. No generositiy in the way of God had ever ruined any person, for being accompanied by God's pleasure and support.

It is narrated that through alms giving two things will come from God: ``Forgiveness of sins, and increase of wealth.'' and also two things come from Satan; namely, promise of poverty and falling in needs, and enjoining to indecency and evil deeds. The verse ends in two great attributes of God - that Allah is the Extender, and can extend and increase whatever He wants; and He is also the Knower, and knows whatever of good or evil we do. We therefore have to put our trust in God and not in evil temptations of Satan.

(( 269 ))

269- HE GIVES WISDOM TO WHOM HE WILL, AND WHOEVER IS

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GIVEN THE WISDOM, HAS BEEN GIVEN MUCH GOODNESS, YET NONE TAKES TO MIND (UNDERSTANDS THESE FACTS) EXCEPT MEN OF UNDERSTANDING.

THE COMMENTARY THE GREATEST BOUNTY OF GOD (VERSE NO. 269)

With reference to the preceding verse that alluded to Satanic temptations, and the wavering man between good and evil, who is drawn this way and that; here comes a mention of wisdom and knowledge, which is the greatest bounty and means that can draw us to the path of truth, particularly when we are wavering between Satanic temptations, and the attractive guidance of Allah.

WISDOM

The Arabic ``HEKMAT'' translated here to WISDOM is a comprehensive word with many shades of meaning, consisting of knowing the secrets of existence - the meaning and secrets of Qur?n, and even it may mean the prophethood. It also means the ability to judge soundly, and deal sagaciously with facts, especially as they relate to life and conduct. The Arabic `OLOLALB?B' translated here to `MEN OF UNDERSTANDINGS alludes to those people who use their wisdom and brain and in the light of this shining lamp, they find their way towards prosperity and final salvation.

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270- AND WHATEVER ALMS YOU GIVE, AND WHATEVER VOW YOU VOW, SURELY ALLAH KNOWS IT, AND OPPRESSORS HAVE NO HELPERS.

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(( 271 )) 271- IF YOU DISCLOSE (ACTS OF) CHARITY, EVEN SO IT IS WELL. BUT IF YOU CONCEAL IT AND GIVE IT TO THE POOR, IT IS BETTER FOR YOU, AND WILL ATONE FOR SOME OF YOUR SINS, AND GOD IS AWARE OF WHATEVER YOU DO.

THE COMMENTARY
HOW TO GIVE ALMS (VERSE NO. 270)


In this verse and the next one the word is about the manner of alms-giving, and that Allah is aware of our charities: ``And whatever you spend in charity, and whatever vow you vow, Allah knows it.'' That is to say; be it lawful or unlawful, little or much, with injury or without, God knows all, and the oppressors will have no helper. The Arabic `Z?LIMIN - OPPRESSORS', alludes to those stingy persons who have through their niggardliness amassed a lot of wealth, and spend it not in the way of Allah except for show and pretence. These will have no helper, and even their charity is of no help to them - neither in this life nor in the life to come.

This verse also implies that VOW is a lawful act from the Islamic point of view.
VERSE NO. 271

This verse makes clear, whether the alms are to be given openly or concealed. According to the verse it is better to seek no publicity in charity, but even if it is disclosed and given openly, it is still valid and good. In some tradition s it is made clear that those alms that are incumbent, and imposed as a religious duty, should be given openly, but those gifts and charities that are recommended of certain religious precepts are better to be done concealed, for this is nearer to purity and sincerity of motive.

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(( 272 ))

272- IT IS NOT UP TO YOU TO GUIDE THEM, BUT ALLAH GUIDES WHOM HE WILLS, (THEREFORE DO NOT STOP CHARITY TO THE NON-MUSLIMS IN ORDER TO COMPEL THEM TO CONVERT) AND WHATEVER ALMS YOU GIVE, IT SHALL REDOUND TO YOUR OWN GOOD PROVIDED THAT YOU GIVE THEM FOR THE LOVE OF ALLAH, AND WHATEVER OF ALMS YOU GIVE SHALL BE PAID BACK TO YOU IN FULL, AND YOU WILL NOT BE WRONGED.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 272)


It is narrated by IBN-ABBASS that Muslims were not willing to give alms to non-muslims. This verse came down to permit it.

CHARITY TO NON-MUSLIMS

In the first instance the prophet is addressed here, with the meaning being of general application, saying: ``It is not up to you to guide them, but Allah guides whom He wills.'' This implies that there should be no compulsion in religion either by force majeure or keeping one in the economic necessity and blockade. Therefore charity must relieve those who are really in need, whether they be a Muslim or a non-Muslim, a good person or a bad one. It is not for us to judge in such matter, because Allah will guide whom He wills according to His wisdom. The argument then continues with: ``And whatever of alms you give, it shall redound to your own good provided you give it for the `LOVE' of Allah.'' The Arabic `WAJH' which is translated here to `LOVE', literally

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means `FACE' but may imply other shades of meaning such as countenance, honour, glory, presence, sake, self and else. One should not think through charity he gets a benefit that will amount to a fraction of what he gives, or he shall obtain the gain, if there be any, in the life to come. According to God's promise, charity will redound to the alms giver in full measure and sometimes manifold in value in this life as well as the life to come.

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273- (YOUR ALMS SHOULD BE) FOR THE POOR, WHO CANNOT TRAVEL IN THE LAND FOR BEING CONFINED IN THE WAY OF ALLAH. (FOR BEING WHOLLY PRE OCCUPIED WITH FIGHTING FOR THE CAUSE OF ALLAH, THEY COULD DO NOTHING TO SATISFY THEIR NEEDS) THE IGNORANT SUPPOSES THEM TO BE RICH BECAUSE OF THEIR MODEST BEHAVIOUR. YOU CAN RECOGNIZE THEM BY THEIR COUNTENANCE. THEY BEG NOT IMPORTUNATELY. AND WHATEVER OF GOOD THING YOU GIVE ALLAH KNOWS IT.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 273)


Hazrat Imam Baghir (AS) has said: `This verse was sent down on account of the Companions of Verandah.'' (SOFFEH) They were some four hundred men emigrated to Medina, and having no residence, they dwelled in the prophets's Mosque. Later on, a big and shaded platform

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was constructed for them outside the mosque. This verse came down to bid Muslims to provide for those brave and Godly warriors who were always engaged in warfare and assignments.

THE BEST CASE OF CHARITY

The verse may show us the best of cases for which alms can be given, and that is to those who have the three qualifications that follows:

1) They are confined in the way of Allah for being wholly engaged in warfare for the cause of Allah, so much so that they find no time to travel for bussiness, or do a work for satisfying their needs.

2) The ignorant supposes them to be rich because of their modest behaviour. They can only be recognized by their countenance.

3) They do not beg from door to door importunately. It is the duty of their religious brothers and the Public Purse to find them and to satisfy them their necessities.

BEGGING WITHOUT REAL NEED IS UNLAWFUL

Asking people for something which you are not in ardent need of it is a heinous sin. We have many traditions that begging and living by asking alms is blamed. Our prophet has said: ``Receiving alms is unlawful for he who is free of want.''

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274- THOSE WHO SPEND THEIR WEALTH IN NIGHT AND DAY, SECRETLY AND OPENLY, HAVE THEIR REWARD WITH THEIR LORD, AND THEY SHALL HAVE NO FEAR, NOR SHALL THEY GRIEVE.

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THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 274)


Several traditions denote that this verse revealed on account of HAZRAT IMAM ALI (AS). Once he had only four Dirhams. He gave all four in charity - one Dirham he gave to a needy at night, one at day time. The third one he gave secretly, and the fourth one openly.

CHARITY IN ANY FORM OR WAY

Here again the argument is about charity, and the form and the way that it is given to the recipient: ``Those who spend their wealth in night and day, secretly and openly will have their reward with their Lord.'' They will have more happiness and less fear for giving alms. By chosing different time and manner of giving alms, harmony with social and moral state of the recipient is wanted.

That, night is prior to day in the verse; may imply that giving alms secretly is better than giving it openly, and of surety nothing is hidden from the sight and knowledge of Allah.

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275- THOSE WHO DEVOUR USURY, SHALL NOT GET UP EXCEPT AS ONE WHOM SATAN BY HIS TOUCH HAS DRIVEN TO MADNESS. (HE IS NOT ABLE TO CONTROL HIS STABILITY, AND EVERY NOW AND THEN FALLS AND RISES) THAT IS BECAUSE THEY SAID: `TRADE IS LIKE USURY', AND ALLAH HAS MADE TRADE LAWFUL AND HAS MADE USURY UNLAWFUL. THEN HE WHO

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RECEIVES AN ADMONITION FROM HIS LORD AND DESISTS, (AND AMENDS HIS WAY) HE SHALL HAVE HIS PAST GAINS, AND HIS AFFAIR IS COMMITTED TO ALLAH. AND WHOEVER REVERTS, (CONTINUES WITH DEVOURING USURY) THEN THEY ARE THE COMPANIONS OF THE FIRE, AND SHALL REMAIN IN IT FOR EVER.

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276- ALLAH WILL DEPRIVE USURY OF ALL BLESSINGS, AND WILL BLESS ALMS GIVING WITH INCREASE. AND ALLAH DOES NOT LOVE ANY UNGRATEFUL SINNER.

(( 27 )) 27- THOSE WHO BELIEVED AND DID DEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND PERFORMED THE PRAYER AND PAID THE ALMS-TAX, THEIR REWARD AWAITS THEM WITH THEIR LORD, AND THEY SHALL HAVE NO FEAR, NOR SHALL THEY GRIEVE.

THE COMMENTARY
THE CALAMITY OF USURY (VERSE NO. 275)


Contrary to the two preceding verses on the subject of charity and alms giving, the two following verses are about usury which is opposite to charity. USURY, which is the most important factor of class distinction and the rebellious aristocratic life, is strictly condemned and prohibited:

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``Those who devour usury shall not get up except as one whom Satan by his touch has driven to madness.'' The usurer whose raise in this life is unwisely and mingled with love for wealth, in the life to come also he will raise like a one whom Satan by his touch has maddened. He lives mad, dies mad and raises mad!

The thesis of those who devour usury is saying: ``Trade is like usury.'' They take no notice that our Lord God has made trade lawful and declared usury unlawful and forbidden. Great and reasonable aims and purposes are layed in any commandment that is issued by God. The verse then opens the door to return and repentance to the usurer saying: ``He who receives an admonition to desist usury from his Lord, and follows the commandment, giving an end to such heinous sins, will find his reward with his Lord besides having his past gains, and his affair is committed to Allah.'' On the other hand if they continue devouring usury, they will join the blazing fire of Hell, and God loves them not.

VERSE NO. 276

This verse compares usury with alms in some measures, and says that Allah will deprive usury of all blessings and reduces it to nothing; but He will bless alms- giving with increase, because God loves not the ungrateful sinner who grasps to unlawful wealth through usury. In other word the usurers who have abandoned charity and alms, and have adhered to unlawful incomes, are ungrateful to the bounties and the wealth that God has given them. Instead of beeing thankful, they use their wealth in the wrong way of Satan and Sins, such as corruption and oppression or else. Naturally the good God will never love such a bad servant.

VERSE NO. 277

This verse speaks of a group of believers who stand exactly opposite to the said usurers. These are they who believe in God and His apostle and do good deeds, and perform the prayers, and give the

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alms-tax, so their reward awaits them with their Lord. These people have revived their true human conscience and instinct, by the light of faith and the spirit of religion. Besides having connection and communication with their Lord through their prayers, they rush to help the needy and to support the poor by giving alms, and thus they are obstacles in the way of developing class distinction of poor and rich, which consequently serves to reduce criminal activities in society and any aggravated offense against morality. They live prosperous in this life and the one to come, and they will have neither fear nor grievance.

(( 278 )) 278- O, YOU WHO BELIEVE! BEWARE OF ALLAH AND GIVE UP WHAT REMAINS OF YOUR DEMAND FOR USURY, IF YOU ARE INDEED BELIEVERS.

(( 279 )) 279- THEN IF YOU DO IT NOT, TAKE NOTICE OF WAR FROM ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER. AND IF YOU REPENT, YOURS SHALL BE YOUR CAPITAL SUM, SUFFERING NO LOSS AND CAUSING LOSS TO NONE.

(( 280 )) 280- IF THE DEBTOR IS IN DIFFICULTY, LET HIM HAVE RESPITE TILL THINGS ARE EASIER. (AND IF HE REALLY CANNOT REPAY HIS DEBT) AND IF YOU REMIT IT AS ALMS IS BETTER FOR YOU - DID YOU BUT KNOW.

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(( 281 )) 281- AND BEWARE OF THE DAY WHEN YOU SHALL RETURN TO ALLAH. THEN SHALL EVERY SOUL BE PAID IN FULL, WHAT IT HAS EARNED, AND THEY SHALL NOT BE WRONGED.

THE COMMENTARY
OCCASION OF REVELATION (VERSE NO. 278)

When the verse of USURY was sent down, KHALID-IBN-VALID said to the prophet: ``My father had some transactions of usury with the tribe of SAGHIF, and has bequeathed me his interests. What am I to do now? Is that lawful for me to collect them?'' To this effect the above verse came down through which usury is condemned and prohibited in the strongest possible terms, so that there can be no question about the prohibition.

USURY A UNIQUE SIN

In this verse (NO. 278) God has addressed the believers to say that usury is strictly forbidden and is a heinous sin in the sight of Him: ``O, you who believe! Beware of Allah and give up whatever remains of your demands for usury.'' This is also a good and clear answer to the said KHALID-IBN-VALID in the (OCCASION OF REVELATION). It is worthy of note that the verse begins and ends with the words of FAITH, (MANU?-MOAMENIN) which implies that usury is not compatible and in accord with the spirit of faith and godliness.
VERSE NO. 279

In this verse the tone of the speech is changed and in pursuit of the preceding advices a strict warning is given to the usurer that if he does not cease devouring usury, he has to take notice and await a war from Allah and His Messenger. (MOHAMMAD (AS)) This is an ultimatum of war for the freedom of debtors who are oppressed by the usurers, and its lawfulness refers to another verse in QUR?N=S 49:9 that says: ``...

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fight that which acts wrongly until he returns to Allah's command....'' The commandment also implies that the Islamic governor is allowed to stop the transaction of usury even by force majeure. Then the verse ends in calling the usurer to return and repent; saying: ``If you repent; yours shall be your capital sum, suffering no loss, and causing loss to none.'' That is to say; if you return and repent, giving an end to usury; you may collect and have your principle sum which is lent to people without getting any interest. This is a just judgement because both parties will suffer no loss.

VERSE NO. 280

This verse bids us to give him respite if our debtor is in difficulty and he cannot afford to pay his debt. Even if they cannot afford to pay back the principle without interest; it is better for us, and is a further step to charity, to grant them what they owe, and to remit it as alms. Of course this commandment is beyond the matter of legislation and is rather an ethical one. VERSE NO. 281

This verse ends the argument of usury by a serious warning: ``And beware of the Day when you shall return to your Lord, and give an account of your deeds. A Day in which every soul will be paid in full measure, for what he has earned, and they shall not be wronged.'' It is remarkable that the commentators understand this verse (NO. 281) to be the last one revealed to the prophet, and owing to its meaning it is not far from that.

Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: ``USURY was prohibited by Allah in order to prevent people leaving good deeds (i.e. charity and alms giving)''

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(( 282 ))

282- O, YOU WHO BELIEVE! WHEN YOU DEAL WITH EACH OTHER IN CONTRACTING A DEBT FOR A STATED TERM; WRITE IT DOWN, AND LET A WRITER WRITE IT DOWN BETWEEN YOU JUSTLY, AND THE WRITER SHOULD NOT REFUSE TO WRITE IT DOWN, AS ALLAH HAS TAUGHT HIM. SO LET HIM WRITE, AND LET DEBTOR DICTATE, AND HE SHOULD BEWARE OF ALLAH HIS LORD, AND DIMINISH NOT ANYTHING OF WHAT HE OWES. IF THE DEBTORE IS MENTALLY DEFICIENT, OR WEAK, OR UNABLE TO DICTATE, THEN LET HIS GUARDIAN DICTATE JUSTLY, AND CALL INTO WITNESS TWO WITNESSES OUT OF YOUR OWN MEN, AND IF THERE ARE NOT TWO MEN; THEN A MAN AND TWO WOMEN, SUCH WITNESSES AS YOU APPROVE OF: THAT IF ONE OF THE TWO WOMEN ERRS, THE OTHER MAY REMIND HER. THE WITNESSES SHOULD NOT REFUSE WHEN

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THEY ARE CALLED ON, (FOR EVIDENCE) AND DISDAIN NOT TO WRITE IT DOWN WHETHER IT BE SMALL OR GREAT; WITH ITS TERM. THAT IS MORE EQUITABLE IN THE SIGHT OF ALLAH, AND MORE UPRIGHT FOR TESTIMONY, AND LIKELIER THAT YOU WILL NOT BE IN DOUBT. BUT IF IT BE A TRANSACTION WHICH YOU CARRY OUT ON THE SPOT, AMONG YOURSELVES, THERE IS NO BLAME ON YOU IF YOU DO NOT WRITE IT DOWN. BUT TAKE WITNESSES WHENEVER YOU MAKE A COMMERCIAL CONTRACT, AND LET NOT EITHER THE WRITER OR THE WITNESS SUFFER HARM; IF YOU DO SO IT WOULD BE A WICKEDNESS IN YOU. AND BEWARE OF ALLAH. ALLAH TEACHES YOU, AND ALLAH HAS KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THINGS.

THE COMMENTARY
PREPARING COMMERCIAL DOCUMENT BASED ON THE LONGEST VERSE OF QUR?N (VERSE NO. 282)


Following the rules and regulations of charity and usury, now through the longest verse of QUR?N, we come to know how we ought to prepare documents of transaction, involving future payments, or future considerations; whether delievery is made on the spot or paid later on. In this verse there are 19 instructions, or orders, for the transactions in which delivery and payment is made now or then. These 19 rules or commandments are as undermentioned:

1- When you deal with each other in contracting a DEBT for a certain term write it down. This order also implies the permit for lending and borrowing with stated terms. The command includes all sorts of debts that may generally exist in transactions, as well as the loans.

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2-3- To prevent doubts and to be sure of the accounts in future, it puts an stress saying: ``Let a writer write it down between you justly.''

4- The writer should not refuse to write it down as Allah has taught him. This is thanks giving to God for granting him the power of pen, and knowledge of writing.

5- The one upon whom the right lays, that is the DEBTOR has to dictate the detail of what he owes.

6- The debtor should fear God, and diminish not anything of what he owes.

7- If the debtor is mentally deficient and is weak or unable to dictate; his guardian should do it for him with justice and truth. This phrase of the verse implies that fools, and those who are mentally deficient are not allowed to take possession of their wealth and whatever they own, and it is the duty of their guardian to do it for them.

8- The guardian also has to observe justice in dictating or testifying the debts of those who are under their guardianship.

9- Besides that; two witnesses are to be taken in order to witness the deal.

10-11- This two witnesses are to be full-grown, wise and Muslims.

12- If there are not two men; enough for the witness is one man, and two women.

13- These women are to be such that you approve of them and are trustworthy in your sight.

14- If the two witnesses are both men, they can testify independently; but if they are females they have to testify simulataneously and both together, so that if one of them errs or forgets, the other may remind her.

15- The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on for evidence.

16- Be the debt small or great, it has to be written down because this is more equitable in the sight of God, and is more upright for testimony.

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17- These orders, mentioned above have but one exception; and that is when the transaction and dealing is carried out on the spot and in cash.

18- In the cash and pecuniary transactions, writing it down, is not needed; but calling to witness, two witnesses is necessary and recommended by Qur?n. This will prevent future differences and disputes, and is said to be better for us.

19- The writer and the witness should not suffer any harm for doing their duty in writing and testifying.

By the ending, the verse calls man to be pious and God-fearing, and that whatever we may need in our daily life, God teaches that to us. Putting the last two phrases close together, may imply that Piety and God fearing will have a deep affection and connection with our knowledge and clearsightedness.

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283- AND IF YOU ARE A JOURNEY, AND YOU DO NOT FIND A WRITER, THEN LET PLEDGE BE TAKEN (BY THE CREDITOR) BUT IF ONE OF YOU TRUSTS THE OTHER, THEN HE WHO IS TRUSTED SHOULD DELIVER HIS TRUST. (IN TIME) AND HE SHOULD BEWARE OF GOD HIS LORD. AND DO NOT CONCEAL THE TESTIMONY, THAT WHOEVER CONCEALS IT, HIS HEART IS SINFUL. AND ALLAH KNOWS ALL THAT YOU DO.