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They ask thee what they should spend (In charity). Say: Whatever ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred and orphans and those in want and for wayfarers. And whatever ye do that is good, -Allah knoweth it well.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes,

Three questions arise in charity:

  • What shall we give?
  • to whom shall we give? and
  • how shall we give?
    The answer is here.
    Give anything that is good, useful, helpful, valuable. It
    may be property or money; it may be a helping hand;
    it may be advice; it may be a kind word; “whatever
    ye do that is good” is charity.
    On the other hand, if you throw away what is useless,
    there is no charity in it.
    Or if you give something with a harmful intent, e.g., a
    sword to a madman, or a drug or sweets or even
    money to someone whom you want to entrap or
    corrupt, it is no charity but a gift of damnation.
    To whom should you give?
    It may be tempting to earn the world’s praise by a gift
    that will be talked about, but are you meeting the
    needs of those who have the first claim on you?
    If you are not, you are like a person who defrauds
    creditors: it is no charity.
    Every gift is judged by its unselfish character: the
    degree of need or claim is a factor which you should
    consider; if you disregard it, there is something selfish
    behind it.
    How should it be given?
    As in the sight of Allah; thus shuts out all pretence,
    show, and insincerity.

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (pg. 142-144). Microsoft Word – 002 Baqarah.doc (quran4u.com)

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