Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 273 (2:273)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 273 in Arabic Text

لِلْفُقَرَآءِ ٱلَّذِينَ أُحْصِرُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًۭا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ يَحْسَبُهُمُ ٱلْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَآءَ مِنَ ٱلتَّعَفُّفِ تَعْرِفُهُم بِسِيمَـٰهُمْ لَا يَسْـَٔلُونَ ٱلنَّاسَ إِلْحَافًۭا ۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍۢ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ
Lilfuqaraaa’il lazeena uhsiroo fee sabeelil laahi laa yastatee’oona darban fil ardi yah sabuhumul jaahilu aghniyaaa’a minat ta’affufi ta’rifuhum biseemaahum laa yas’aloonan naasa ilhaafaa; wa maa tunfiqoo min khairin fa innal laaha bihee ‘Aleem (section 37)

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 273

Sahih International
[Charity is] for the poor who have been restricted for the cause of Allah, unable to move about in the land. An ignorant [person] would think them self-sufficient because of their restraint, but you will know them by their [characteristic] sign. They do not ask people persistently [or at all]. And whatever you spend of good – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.

Yusuf Ali
“(Charity is) for those in need, who, in Allah’s cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land, seeking (For trade or work): the ignorant man thinks, because of their modesty, that they are free from want. Thou shalt know them by their (Unfailing) mark: They beg not importunately from all the sundry. And whatever of good ye give, be assured Allah knoweth it well.

Abul Ala Maududi
Those who are engaged so much in the cause of Allah that they cannot move about in the land to earn their livelihood and are, therefore, in straitened circumstances, specially deserve help. An ignorant person would suppose them to be well off because of their self-respect; you can know their real condition from their faces, for they are not the ones who would beg of people with importunity. And Allah will surely know whatever you will spend on them.

Muhsin Khan
(Charity is) for Fuqara (the poor), who in Allah’s Cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all. And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well.

Pickthall
(Alms are) for the poor who are straitened for the cause of Allah, who cannot travel in the land (for trade). The unthinking man accounteth them wealthy because of their restraint. Thou shalt know them by their mark: They do not beg of men with importunity. And whatsoever good thing ye spend, lo! Allah knoweth it.

Dr. Ghali
(It is) for the poor who are detained in the way of Allah, (and) are unable to strike (i.e. journey in the land) in the earth. The ignorant man reckons them rich because of (their) regular abstinence. You recognize them by their mark; they do not ask of mankind importunately, and whatever charity you expend, then surely Allah is Ever-Knowing of it.

Abdel Haleem
[Give] to those needy who are wholly occupied in God’s way and cannot travel in the land [for trade]. The unknowing might think them rich because of their self-restraint, but you will recognize them by their characteristic of not begging persistently. God is well aware of any good you give.

Quran 2 Verse 273 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 273, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:273) Those needy ones who are wholly wrapped up in the cause of Allah, and who are hindered from moving about the earth in search of their livelihood, especially deserve help. He who is unaware of their circumstances supposes them to be wealthy because of their dignified bearing, but you will know them by their countenance, although they do not go about begging of people with importunity. Whatever wealth you spend on helping them, Allah will know of it.[314]


314. The people referred to here are those who, because they had dedicated themselves wholly to serving the religion of God, were unable to earn their livelihood. In the time of the Prophet there was a group of such volunteer workers, known as Ashab al-Suffah, consisting of about three or four hundred people who had forsaken their homes and gone to Madina. They remained at all times in the company, of the Prophet, always at his beck and call to perform whatever service he required of them. They were dispatched by the Prophet on whatever expeditions he wished. Whenever there was nothing to do elsewhere, they stayed in Madina and devoted themseleves to acquiring religious knowledge and imparting it to others. Since they were full-time workers and had no private resources to meet their needs, God pointed out to the Muslims that helping such people was the best way of ‘spending in the way of Allah’.

Ibn-Kathir

272. Not upon you (Muhammad ) is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves, when you spend not except seeking Allah’s Face. And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged. 273. (Charity is) for Fuqara’ (the poor), who in Allah’s cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all. And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well. 274. Those who spend their wealth (in Allah’s cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.


Giving Charity to Polytheists

Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that they, “Disliked giving charity to their polytheist relatives, but were later on allowed to give it to them when they inquired about this matter, and this Ayah was revealed,

﴿لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَاهُمْ وَلَـكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلاًّنفُسِكُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ ابْتِغَآءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ ﴾

(Not upon you (Muhammad ) is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves, when you spend not except seeking Allah’s Face. And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.)

Allah’s statement,

﴿وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلاًّنفُسِكُمْ﴾

(And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves) is similar to His other statement,

﴿مَّنْ عَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ﴾

(Whosoever does righteous good deed, it is for (the benefit of) his ownself.)

There are many other similar Ayat in the Qur’an.

Allah said next,

﴿وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ ابْتِغَآءَ وَجْهِ اللَّهِ﴾

(When you spend not except seeking Allah’s Face. )

Al-Hasan Al-Basri commented, “Whenever the believer spends, including what he spends on himself, he seeks Allah’s Face with it.” `Ata’ Al-Khurasani said that the Ayah means, “You give away charity for the sake of Allah. Therefore, you will not be asked about the deeds ﴿or wickedness﴾ of those who receive it.” This is a sound meaning indicating that when one spends in charity for Allah’s sake, then his reward will be with Allah. He will not be asked if the charity unintentionally reached righteous, evil, deserving or undeserving persons, for he will be rewarded for his good intention. The proof to this statement is the Ayah,

﴿وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تُظْلَمُونَ﴾

(And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.)

The Two Sahihs recorded a Hadith by Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,

«قَالَ رَجُلٌ: لَأَتَصَدّقَنَّ اللَّيْلَةَ بِصَدَقَةٍ، فَخَرجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ زَانِيَةٍ، فَأَصْبَحَ النَّاسُ يَتَحَدَّثُونَ: تُصُدِّقَ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ، فَقَالَ: اللَّهُمَ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ، لَأَتَصَدَّقَنَّ اللَّيْلَةَ بِصَدَقَةٍ، فَخَرَجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ غَنِيَ، فَأَصْبَحُوا يَتَحَدَّثُونَ: تُصُدِّقَ اللَّيْلَةَ عَلَى غَنِيَ، قَالَ: اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى غَنِيَ، لَأَتَصَدَّقَنَّ اللَّيْلَةَ بِصَدَقَةٍ، فَخَرَجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ سَارِقٍ، فَأَصْبَحُوا يَتَحَدَّثُونَ: تُصُدِّقَ اللَّيْلَةَ عَلَى سَارِقٍ، فَقَالَ:اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ، وَعَلَى غَنِيَ، وَعَلَى سَارِقٍ. فَأُتِيَ فَقِيلَ لَهُ: أَمَّا صَدَقَتُكَ فَقَدْ قُبِلَتْ، وَأَمَّا الزَّانِيَةُ فَلَعَلَّهَا أَنْ تَسْتَعِفَّ بِهَا عَنْ زِنَاهَا، وَلَعَلَّ الْغَنِيَّ يَعْتَبِرُ فَيُنْفِقُ مِمَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ، وَلَعَلَّ السَّارِقَ أَنْ يَسْتَعِفَّ بِهَا عَنْ سَرِقَتِه»

(A man said, “Tonight, I shall give charity.” He went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to an adulteress. The next morning the people said that alms were given to an adulteress. The man said, “O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I gave my alms) to an adulteress. Tonight, I shall give alms again.” He went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to a rich person. The next morning (the people) said, “Last night, a wealthy person was given alms.” He said, “O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I gave alms) to a wealthy man. Tonight, I shall again give charity.” So he went out with his charity and (unknowingly) gave it to a thief. The next morning (the people) said, “Last night, a thief was given alms.” He said, “O Allah! All the praises are for You. (I have given alms) to an adulteress, a wealthy man and a thief.” Then, someone came to him and said, “The alms that you gave away were accepted. As for the adulteress, the alms might make her abstain from adultery. As for the wealthy man, it might make him take a lesson and spend his wealth that Allah has given him. As for the thief, it might make him abstain from stealing.”)

Who Deserves Charity

Allah said,

﴿لِلْفُقَرَآءِ الَّذِينَ أُحصِرُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ﴾

((Charity is) for the poor, who in Allah’s cause are restricted (from travel)) meaning, the migrants who migrated to Allah and His Messenger, resided in Al-Madinah and did not have resources that sufficiently provided them with their needs,

﴿لاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ ضَرْبًا فِى الاٌّرْضِ﴾

(And cannot Darban (move about) in the land) meaning, “They cannot travel in the land to seek means of livelihood.” Allah said in other instances ﴿using a variation of the word Darban﴾

﴿وَإِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَقْصُرُواْ مِنَ الصَّلوةِ﴾

(And when you (Muslims) travel in the land, there is no sin on you if you shorten the Salah (the prayer)) ﴿4:101﴾, and,

﴿أَن سَيَكُونُ مِنكُمْ مَّرْضَى وَءَاخَرُونَ يَضْرِبُونَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ يَبْتَغُونَ مِن فَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَءَاخَرُونَ يُقَـتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَاقْرَءُواْ﴾

(He knows that there will be some among you sick, others traveling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty, yet others fighting in Allah’s cause) ﴿73:20﴾.

Allah then said,

﴿يَحْسَبُهُمُ الْجَاهِلُ أَغْنِيَآءَ مِنَ التَّعَفُّفِ﴾

(The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty) meaning, those who do not know their situation think that they are well-off, because they are modest in their clothes and speech. There is a Hadith with this meaning that the Two Sahihs recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَيْسَ الْمِسْكِينُ بِهذَا الطَّوَّافِ الَّذِي تَرُدُّهُ التَّمْرَةُ وَالتَّمْرَتَانِ، وَاللُّقْمَةُ وَاللُّقْمَتَانِ، وَالْأُكْلَةُ وَالْأُكْلَتَانِ، وَلكِنِ الْمِسْكِينُ الَّذِي لَا يَجِدُ غِنىً يُغْنِيهِ، وَلَا يُفْطَنُ لَهُ فَيُتَصَدَّقَ عَلَيْهِ، وَلَا يَسْأَلُ النَّاسَ شَيْئًا»

(The Miskin (needy) is not he who wanders about and whose need is sufficed by a date or two, a bite or two or a meal or two. Rather, the Miskin is he who neither has enough resources to sustain him, all the while people are unaware of his need so they do not give to him, nor does he ask people for anything.)

Imam Ahmad also recorded this Hadith from Ibn Mas`ud.

Allah’s statement,

﴿تَعْرِفُهُم بِسِيمَـهُمْ﴾

(You may know them by their mark) means, “Those who have good minds discover their situation,” just as Allah said in other instances,

﴿سِيمَـهُمْ فِى وُجُوهِهِمْ﴾

(The mark of them (i.e. of their faith) is on their faces) ﴿48:29﴾, and,

﴿وَلَتَعْرِفَنَّهُمْ فِى لَحْنِ الْقَوْلِ﴾

(But surely, you will know them by the tone of their speech!) ﴿47:30﴾. Allah’s statement,

﴿لاَ يَسْـَلُونَ النَّاسَ إِلْحَافًا﴾

(they do not beg of people at all) means, they do not beg and, thus, do not require people to provide them with more than what they actually need. Indeed, those who ask people for help, while having what suffices for their needs, have begged.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa`id said, “My mother sent me to the Messenger of Allah to ask him for help, but when I came by him I sat down. The Prophet faced me and said to me,

«مَنِ اسْتَغْنَى أَغْنَاهُ اللهُ، وَمَنِ اسْتَعَفَّ أَعَفَّهُ اللهُ، وَمَنِ اسْتَكَفَّ كَفَاهُ اللهُ، وَمَنْ سَأَلَ وَلَهُ قِيمَةُ أُوقِيَّةٍ فَقَدْ أَلْحَف»

(Whoever felt satisfied, then Allah will enrich him. Whoever is modest, Allah will make him decent. Whoever is content, then Allah will suffice for him. Whoever asks people, while having a small amout, he will have begged the people.)

Abu Sa`id said, “I said to myself, `I have a camel, Al-Yaqutah, and indeed, it is worth more than a small amount.’ And I went back without asking the Prophet for anything.” This is the same wording for this Hadith collected by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i.

Allah’s statement,

﴿وَمَا تُنفِقُواْ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ﴾

(And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well) indicates that no charity escapes Him, and He will reward it fully and perfectly on the Day of Resurrection, when it is most desperately needed.

Praise for those who Spend in Charity

Allah said,

﴿الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَلَهُمْ بِالَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلاَنِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُم عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ ﴾

(Those who spend their wealth (in Allah’s cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.)

This Ayah praises those who spend in charity for Allah’s sake, seeking His pleasure, day and night, publicly and in secret, including what one spends on his family. The Two Sahihs recorded that the Messenger of Allah said to Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas:

«وَإِنَّكَ لَنْ تُنْفِقَ نَفَقَةً تَبْتَغِي بِهَا وَجْهَ اللهِ إِلَّا ازْدَدْتَ بِهَا دَرَجَةً وَرِفْعَةً، حَتَّى مَا تَجْعَلُ فِي فِي امْرَأَتِك»

(You will not spend charity with which you seek Allah’s Face, but you will ascend a higher degree and status because of it, including what you put in your wife’s mouth.)

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Mas`ud said that the Prophet said,

«إِنَّ الْمُسْلِمَ إِذَا أَنْفَقَ عَلَى أَهْلِهِ نَفَقَةً يَحْتَسِبُهَا، كَانَتْ لَهُ صَدَقَة»

(When the Muslim spends on his family while awaiting the reward for it from Allah, it will be written as charity for him.)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim also recorded this Hadith.

Allah said,

﴿فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ﴾

(shall have their reward with their Lord), on the Day of Resurrection, as reward for what they spent in acts of obedience. We previously explained the Ayah,

﴿فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ﴾

(there shall be no fear on them nor shall they grieve.)

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