Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 220 (2:220)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 220 in Arabic Text

فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا وَٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ ۗ وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ ۖ قُلْ إِصْلَاحٌۭ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌۭ ۖ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَٰنُكُمْ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ ٱلْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ ٱلْمُصْلِحِ ۚ وَلَوْ شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ لَأَعْنَتَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌۭ
Fid dunyaa wal aakhirah; wa yas’aloonaka ‘anil yataamaa qul islaahullahum khayr, wa in tukhaalitoohum fa ikhwaanukum; wallaahu ya’lamul mufsida minalmuslih; wa law shaaa’al laahu la-a’natakum; innal laaha ‘Azeezun Hakeem

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 220

Sahih International
To this world and the Hereafter. And they ask you about orphans. Say, “Improvement for them is best. And if you mix your affairs with theirs – they are your brothers. And Allah knows the corrupter from the amender. And if Allah had willed, He could have put you in difficulty. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

Yusuf Ali
“(Their bearings) on this life and the Hereafter. They ask thee concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing to do is what is for their good; if ye mix their affairs with yours, they are your brethren; but Allah knows the man who means mischief from the man who means good. And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties: He is indeed Exalted in Power, Wise.”

Abul Ala Maududi
And they ask “What ought we to spend (in the way of Allah)”? Say “Spend whatever you can spare.” Thus Allah makes His commands clear to you so that you may think about the good of both this world and the Hereafter. They ask you about the right way of dealing with orphans. Say “The right way is that which is for their good.” Then there is no harm if you live a common life with them for they are after all your own brethren. Allah knows well the one who means harm and also the one who means good. If Allah had willed He would have been hard upon you in this matter for He is All-Powerful but He is at the same time AlI-Wise.

Muhsin Khan
In (to) this worldly life and in the Hereafter. And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers. And Allah knows him who means mischief (e.g. to swallow their property) from him who means good (e.g. to save their property). And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties. Truly, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”

Pickthall
Upon the world and the Hereafter. And they question thee concerning orphans. Say: To improve their lot is best. And if ye mingle your affairs with theirs, then (they are) your brothers. Allah knoweth him who spoileth from him who improveth. Had Allah willed He could have overburdened you. Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Dr. Ghali
On (Literally: in) the present (life) (Literally: the lowly “life”, i.e., the life world) and the Hereafter. And they ask you concerning the orphans. Say, “Acting righteously with them is most charitable. (i.e. better) And in case you intermix with them, they are then your brethren; and Allah knows the corruptor from the reformer; (i.e. the doer of righteousness) and if Allah had (so) decided, He would have indeed distressed you; surely Allah is Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise.”

Abdel Haleem
on this world and the next. They ask you about [the property of] orphans: say, ‘It is good to set things right for them. If you combine their affairs with yours, remember they are your brothers and sisters: God knows those who spoil things and those who improve them. Had He so willed, He could have made you vulnerable too: He is almighty and wise.’

Quran 2 Verse 220 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 220, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:220) both in regard to this world and the Next. They question you concerning orphans. Say: “To deal with them in the way which is to their good, that is best.[236] And if you intermix (your expenses and living) with them, (there is no harm for) they are your brothers.” Allah knows the mischievous from the righteous, and had Allah willed, He would indeed have imposed on you exacting conditions; but He is All-Powerful, Most Wise.


236. Before this verse was revealed many severe injunctions had already been revealed regarding the protection of orphans’ property. It had been ordained that ‘ people should not even draw near to the property of the orphan’ (6: 152)v; (17: 34) and that ‘those who wrongfully eat the properties of orphans only, fill their bellies with fire’ (4: 10). Because of these severe injunctions the orphans’ guardians were so over awed that they even separated the food and drink of the orphans from their own; they felt anxious lest anything belonging to the orphans became mixed with their own. It is for this reason that they enquired of the Prophet (peace he on him) what the proper form of their dealings with orphans should be.

Ibn-Kathir

219. They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.” And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: “That which is (spare) beyond your needs.” Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought. 220. In (to) this worldly life and in the Hereafter. And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers. And Allah knows (the one) who means mischief (e.g., to swallow their property) from (the one) who means good (e.g., to save their property). And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties. Truly, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”


The Gradual Prohibition of Khamr (Alchoholic Drink)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Maysarah said that `Umar once said, “O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr!” Allah sent down the Ayah of Surat Al-Baqarah:

﴿يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ﴾

(They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin…)

`Umar was then summoned and the Ayah was recited to him. Yet, he still said, “O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.” Then, this Ayah that is in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed:

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الصَّلَوةَ وَأَنتُمْ سُكَـرَى﴾

(O you who believe! Approach not As-Salah (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state.) (4:43)

Then, when the prayer was called for, a person used to herald on behalf of Allah’s Messenger , “No drunk person should attend the prayer.” `Umar was summoned again and the Ayah was recited to him. Yet, he still said, “O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.” Then, the Ayah that is in Surat Al-Ma’idah was revealed, `Umar was again summoned and the Ayah was recited to him. When he reached:

﴿فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُّنتَهُونَ﴾

(So, will you not then abstain) (5:91) he said, “We did abstain, we did abstain.” This is also the narration that Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasai collected in their books. `Ali bin Al-Madini and At-Tirmidhi said that the chain of narrators for this Hadith is sound and authentic. We will mention this Hadith again along with what Imam Ahmad collected by Abu Hurayrah Allah’s saying in Surat Al-Ma’idah:

﴿إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالاٌّنصَابُ وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ﴾

(Intoxicants and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.) (5:90)

Allah said:

﴿يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ﴾

(They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drinks and gambling.)

As for Al-Khamr, `Umar bin Khattab, the Leader of the faithful, used to say, “It includes all what intoxicates the mind.” We will also mention this statement in the explanation of Surat Al-Ma’idah, along with the topic of gambling.

Allah said:

﴿قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَـفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ﴾

(Say: In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men.)

As for the harm that the Khamr and gambling cause, it effects the religion. As for their benefit, it is material, including benefit for the body, digesting the food, getting rid of the excrements, sharpening the mind, bringing about a joyous sensation and financially benefiting from their sale. Also, (their benefit includes) earnings through gambling that one uses to spend on his family and on himself. Yet, these benefits are outweighed by the clear harm that they cause which affects the mind and the religion. This is why Allah said:

﴿وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا﴾

(…but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.)

This Ayah was the beginning of the process of prohibiting Khamr, not explicity, but it only implied this meaning. So when this Ayah was recited to `Umar, he still said, “O Allah! Give us a clear ruling regarding Al-Khamr.” Soon after, Allah sent down a clear prohibition of Khamr in Surat Al-Ma’idah:

﴿يَـأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ إِنَّمَا الْخَمْرُ وَالْمَيْسِرُ وَالاٌّنصَابُ وَالاٌّزْلاَمُ رِجْسٌ مِّنْ عَمَلِ الشَّيْطَـنِ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ – إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَـنُ أَن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَآءَ فِى الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ وَيَصُدَّكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَعَنِ الصَّلَوةِ فَهَلْ أَنْتُمْ مُّنتَهُونَ ﴾

(O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), and gambling, and Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful. Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from As-Salah (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain) (5:90, 91)

We will mention this subject, by the will of Allah, when we explain Surat Al-Ma’idah.

Ibn `Umar, Ash-Sha`bi, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas and `Abdur-Rahman bin Aslam stated that the first Ayah revealed about Khamr was:

﴿يَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ﴾

(They ask you about Khamr and gambling. Say: “In them there is great sin.”) (2:219)

Then, the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed (on this subject) and then the Ayah in Surat Al-Ma’idah which prohibited Khamr.

Spending whatever One could spare of his Money on Charity

Allah said:

﴿وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْوَ﴾

(And they ask you what they ought to spend. Say: “That which is (spare) beyond your needs.”)

Al-Hakam said that Miqsam said that Ibn `Abbas said that this Ayah means, whatever you can spare above the needs of your family. This is also the opinion of Ibn `Umar, Mujahid, `Ata’, `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Muhammad bin Ka`b, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Al-Qasim, Salim, `Ata’ Al-Khurasani and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas.

Ibn Jarir related that Abu Hurayrah said that a man said, “O Messenger of Allah! I have a Dinar (a currency).” The Prophet said:

«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى نَفْسِك»

(Spend it you on yourself.) He said, “I have another Dinar.” He said:

«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى أَهْلِك»

(Spend it on your wife.) He said, “I have another Dinar.” He said:

«أَنْفِقْهُ عَلى وَلَدِك»

(Spend it on your offspring.) He said, “I have another Dinar.” He said:

«فَأَنْتَ أَبْصَر»

(You have better knowledge (meaning how and where to spend it in charity).)

Muslim also recorded this Hadith in his Sahih.

Muslim recorded that Jabir said that Allah’s Messenger said to a man:

«ابْدَأْ بِنَفْسِكَ فَتَصَدَّقْ عَلَيْهَا، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ شَيْءٌ فَلِأَهْلِكَ، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ شَيْءٌ عَنْ أَهْلِكَ فَلِذِي قَرَابَتِكَ، فَإِنْ فَضَلَ عَنْ ذِي قَرَابَتِكَ شَيْءٌ فَهكَذَا وَهكَذَا»

(Start with yourself and grant it some charity. If anything remains, then spend it on your family. If anything remains, then spend it on your relatives. If anything remains, then spend it like this and like that (i.e., on various charitable purposes).)

A Hadith states:

«ابْنَ آدَمَ إِنَّكَ أَنْ تَبْذُلَ الْفَضْلَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ، وَأَنْ تُمْسِكَهُ شَرٌّ لَكَ، وَلَا تُلَامُ عَلى كَفَاف»

(O son of Adam! If you spend whatever you can spare, it would be better for you; but if you keep it, it would be worse for you. You shall not be blamed for whatever is barely sufficient.)

Allah said:

﴿كَذلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَـتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَفِى الدُّنُيَا وَالاٌّخِرَةِ﴾

(Thus Allah makes clear to you His Ayat in order that you may give thought. In (to) this worldly life and in the Hereafter.) meaning, just as He stated and explained these commandments for you, He also explains the rest of His Ayat regarding the commandments and His promises and warnings, so that you might give thought in this life and the Hereafter. `Ali bin Abu Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas commented, “Meaning about the imminent demise and the brevity of this life, and the imminent commencement of the Hereafter and its continuity.” a

Maintaining the Orphan’s Property

Allah said:

﴿وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَـمَى قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِ وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لأَعْنَتَكُمْ﴾

(And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers. And Allah knows him who means mischief (e.g., to swallow their property) from him who means good (e.g., to save their property). And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties.)

Ibn Jarir reported that Ibn `Abbas said, “When the Ayat:

﴿وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ﴾

(And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it.) (6:152) and

﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ أَمْوَلَ الْيَتَـمَى ظُلْماً إِنَّمَا يَأْكُلُونَ فِى بُطُونِهِمْ نَاراً وَسَيَصْلَوْنَ سَعِيراً ﴾

(Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!) (4:10) were revealed, those who took care of some orphans, separated their food and drink from the orphans’ food and drink. When some of the orphans’ food and drink remained, they would keep it for them until they eat it or otherwise get spoiled. This situation was difficult for them and they mentioned this subject to Allah’s Messenger .

﴿وَيَسْـَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْيَتَـمَى قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ﴾

(And they ask you concerning orphans. Say: “The best thing is to work honestly in their property, and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers.) Hence, they joined their food and drink with the food and drink of the orphans.” This Hadith was also collected by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak. Several others said similarly about the circumstances surrounding the revelation of the Ayah (2:220), including Mujahid, `Ata’, Ash-Sha`bi, Ibn Abu Layla, Qatadah and others among the Salaf and those after them.

Ibn Jarir reported that `A’ishah said, “I dislike that an orphan’s money be under my care, unless I mix my food with his food and my drink with his drink.”

Allah said:

﴿قُلْ إِصْلاَحٌ لَّهُمْ خَيْرٌ﴾

(Say: The best thing is to work honestly in their property.) meaning, on the one hand (i.e., this is required in any case). Allah then said:

﴿وَإِن تُخَالِطُوهُمْ فَإِخْوَنُكُمْ﴾

(…and if you mix your affairs with theirs, then they are your brothers.) meaning, there is no harm if you mix your food and drink with their food and drink, since they are your brothers in the religion. This is why Allah said afterwards:

﴿وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ الْمُفْسِدَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِ﴾

(And Allah knows (the one) who means mischief (e.g., to swallow their property) from (the one) who means good (e.g., to save their property). ) meaning, He knows those whose intent is to cause mischief or righteousness. He also said:

﴿وَلَوْ شَآءَ اللَّهُ لأَعْنَتَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ﴾

(And if Allah had wished, He could have put you into difficulties. Truly, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise) meaning, if Allah wills, He will make this matter difficult for you. But, He made it easy for you, and allowed you to mix your affairs with the orphans’ affairs in a way that is better. Similarly, Allah said:

﴿وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلاَّ بِالَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ﴾

(And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it.) (6:152)

Allah has thus allowed spending from the orphan’s estate by its executor, in reasonable proportions, on the condition that he has the intention to compensate the orphan later on, when he can afford it. We will mention about it in detail in Surat An-Nisa’ by Allah’s will.

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