All praise is to Allah (SWT), the Creator and Lord of this Universe and peace and blessings be upon the last of the messengers of Allah (SWT) Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
It is a blessing that we are Muslims and thus see so many Muslim faces around the world. People who have no connection or similarity between themselves on worldly things are joined together with the rope of Allah (SWT) that is Islam. Though sadly we seldom say even Salam to one another in this world, let us hope that we will greet one another in Jannah which is a much better place in the afterlife.
Surah Baqarah is the longest surah of the Quran as everybody is aware. It covers a lot of things and the two ayahs that are the particular focus today appear near the end of this blessed chapter. There are many ayahs that cover the subject of charity and spending in the way of Allah (SWT). Think of these ayahs as a tree, but know this that every tree starts its life as a seed and this seed was placed in the start of the surah. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,
“Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,” (Quran Surah Baqrah Ayah 2:3)
First let us understand human nature. Whenever humans have something, they think it is theirs. For example, a child comes to her father who is eating ice cream and asks if she can have some, he says no its mine, then she asks again can I have a little bit and again he says no its mine, and when the third time she asks him he gives it to her. Now 10 minutes later, when the father will ask the child if he can have some ice cream, the child says no its mine. Now that the child has had a taste of the ice cream, she knows it’s good and doesn’t want to share.
Apply the above example with what Allah (SWT) gives us. He provides for us and gives us and gives us, even though all of the things He is giving us is His and do not belong to us, and when Allah (SWT) asks us to give, we begin to think that what we have is ours.
We must realize that Shaitan is our open enemy in this world and he will do everything in his power to lead us astray from the path of Allah (SWT). One of the biggest examples of Shaitan being the enemy of humanity, we find in the story of Adam (AS). Considering the size of Jannah, it is evident that there may be trillions or uncountable number of trees with fruits in there. Allah (SWT) gave Adam (AS) permission to eat from anywhere in Jannah, except 1 tree. It is said that once he was forbidden by Allah (SWT) to eat from this tree, Adam (AS) ventured far into Jannah and away from that tree. But what compelled him to turn back and travel all that distance to the forbidden tree, even though there were many fruit laden trees in the way, was Shaitan. The Devil convinced Adam (AS) that if he can eat the fruit of that one tree that Allah (SWT) has forbidden, he will be happy and content. He convinced them that the others were not worth it. Imagine how many trees Adam (AS) would have passed to reach that 1 tree.
The point of the story is that Shaitan would compel people to have the one thing that they don’t have even more as it is evident, that even though Allah (SWT) gave the entire Jannah to Adam (AS), Shaitan compelled him to have the one thing he could not have. That is human nature. Shaitan convinces mankind to be greedy and always have a want for more until that want becomes so great that we begin to desire what Allah (SWT) has prohibited. For example, how many halal drinks are available today in the world? Hundreds maybe thousands even, but there are people among the Muslims even who desire only to drink alcohol, one of the few things Allah (SWT) has forbidden. That is Shaitans doing, he makes what Allah (SWT) has forbidden appear more appealing and push people to sin. Greed is one of the strongest weapons that Shaitan has against humanity which is why Islam has emphasized greatly on the virtues and benefits of giving charity.
And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
(Quran Surah Baqrah Ayah 2:195)
Allah (SWT) has commanded humanity in the Quran to spend in His way from what they have earned purely. Understanding what is pure earnings is very important. For example if a fruit vendor is selling bad fruits on purpose, than his earnings are not pure. If a mechanic looks at a car which only needs an oil change but tells the customer that he or she needs a new transmission just to make some extra money, than that money is not pure and spending that earned money in charity is not appropriate.
According to Abdullah ibnMasud (RA), The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘Seeking halal earning is a duty after the duty.‘ In other words working to earn a halal living is itself a religious obligation second in importance after the primary religious obligations like prayers, fasting and hajj.
People tend to spend a lot in other worldly things for their own entertainment in this world but spending too much only becomes a big deal for them when it comes to spending in the way of Allah (SWT). Always remember that charity is a sure way to save oneself from the torment of hellfire and also remember that your need to give charity is always bigger than those who are receiving it because your reward is directly with Allah (SWT).