And the likeness of those who spend their substance, seeking to please Allah and to strengthen their souls, is as a garden, high and fertile: heavy rain falls on it but makes it yield a double increase of harvest, and if it receives not Heavy rain, light moisture sufficeth it. Allah seeth well whatever ye do.

to strengthen their souls (tathbītan min anfusihim)

The word tathbīt means to strengthen, to consolidate and to make firm. Believers spend their money in the cause of Allāh to seek His pleasure as well as to prepare and train themselves in such a manner that they are fully ready and able to obey the injunctions of the way of life of Islām.

Purpose and conditions for acceptable charity Just as the purpose of fasting is to train and prepare humans to attain to piety and pious living, so also is infāq – spending in Allāh’s s cause – an exercise in self-discipline that makes it easier for them to attain closeness to Allāh. This shows, firstly, that like all other rites of worship, the real beneficiaries of infāq are human beings themselves. Secondly, the best form of spending is the one that is provided in times of scarcity and famine and notwithstanding one’s own poverty and need. To give preference to others, sacrificing one’s own needs and spending out of one’s most cherished wealth, especially when spent on near relatives against whom one might have had some grievance – it is this kind of spending that really prepares and trains a person to persevere on the straight path. The more one is able to resist one’s desires and the more one is adept in restraining them, the easier it is for him to gain closeness to his Sustainer. Rabwah means an elevated or high ground which, in the light of its usage, is also characterised by evenness and smoothness. In sūrah al-Mu’minūn, verse 50, the Qur’ān describes it as dhāta qarārin wa ma‘īn – a high ground, affording rest and security, which shows that along with elevation, levelness is also its essential characteristic. The weather associated with such a high and level ground is comfortable and pleasant. A garden enhances its beauty and also secures it against dangers such as floods. As it is on a smooth and level surface there is also no danger of being ruined by any landslides to which gardens and farms on hilly slopes are exposed. Its clement weather makes it abundantly productive in normal times, but if it receives rain and the weather is suitable its produce is increased manifold. Even if conditions are adverse, such land brings forth its fruits without fail. This is the example of those who spend their wealth seeking Allāh’s pleasure and is meant to train and prepare themselves for it. They shall, we are told, receive their reward for whatever they spend in the cause of Allāh. Instead of having their gardens on a ground exposed to landslides, they had chosen a high, even ground for this purpose. It enjoyed pleasant weather, and the rain instead of ruining their crops only increased their yield. And if there was no rain, because of the clement weather the harvest still remained abundant.

And of what you do, Allāh is fully aware (Wa-llāhu bimā ta‘malūna baṣīr)

This conveys a message of comfort and assurance, implying that whatever hard work Allāh’s pious servants do in order to seek His pleasure and to prepare and train themselves, Allāh is fully aware of it. He sees and hears all, and He will give the fullest reward to each and every one of His servants for their good deeds and sacrifices.

References:

Islahi, Amin Ahsan. Pondering Over The Qur’an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah (Kindle Location 15172-15174). Islamic Book Trust. Kindle Edition.

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