Commentary of the Quran (Chapter 2:195)
By: Mohammad Sobhanie
Charity As a Guarantee of Safety
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَأَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوا ۛ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ ﴿١٩٥﴾
2:194 And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw (yourselves) with your own hands into destruction. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
Commentary: Muslims, during the time of the Prophet (SAWA), were responsible for supplying their means for jihad such as food, horses for traveling, weaponry for fighting, and so on. However, there were many Muslims who did not have the resources to participate in jihad. They often came to the Prophet (SAWA) for help, as stated in chapter At-Tawba (9:92):
وَلَا عَلَى الَّذِينَ إِذَا مَا أَتَوْكَ لِتَحْمِلَهُمْ قُلْتَ لَا أَجِدُ مَا أَحْمِلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ تَوَلَّوا وَّأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا أَلَّا يَجِدُوا مَا يُنفِقُونَ ﴿٩٢﴾
9:92 Nor [is there blame] upon those who, when they came to you that you might give them mounts, you said, “I can find nothing for you to ride upon.” They turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief that they could not find something to spend [for the cause of Allah].
Hence, the verse directs well-off Muslims to support the enthusiastic Muslims so they too could participate with the Prophet (SAWA) in jihad (وَأَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ). The verse warns that had they withheld from giving charity, the enemy would triumph over them. This is analogous to one who throw himself with his own hands into destruction (وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ):
وَأَنفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ …. ﴿١٩٥﴾
2:194 And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw (yourselves) with your own hands into destruction.
The verse’s end reminds us all: “And do good (by giving charity) ; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.”
Possible misunderstanding: Many individuals fought against tyranny throughout history, and as a result either they were imprisoned or martyred. For instance, Asiya, the wife of Firon, believed in Prophet Musa (AS). Firon became aware of Asiya’s faith and asked her to renounce it. She refused, and consequently, Firon killed her under torture.
Should Asiya be criticized for her decision, based on the above verse which says: “Do not throw (yourselves) with your own hands into destruction”?
Of course not! Asiya secured her eternal prosperity with her decision. Had she rejected faith to Musa (AS), then she would have thrown her eternal life, with her own hands, to jeopardy.
In conclusion, the phrase: “Do not throw (yourselves) with your own hands into destruction”, implies that do not jeopardize your life for a vain cause.
2:195 [وَأَنفِقُوا] And spend [فِي] in [سَبِيلِ] the way [اللَّـهِ] of Allah [وَلَا تُلْقُوا] and do not throw ourselves [بِأَيْدِيكُمْ] with your hands [إِلَى] into [التَّهْلُكَةِ] destruction [وَأَحْسِنُوا] And do good [إِنَّ] indeed [اللَّـهَ] Allah [يُحِبُّ] loves [الْمُحْسِنِينَ] the good dooers