Surah al-Baqarah (The Cow) 2 : 272

۞ لَّيْسَ عَلَيْكَ هُدَىٰهُمْ وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ ۗ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَلِأَنفُسِكُمْ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُونَ إِلَّا ٱبْتِغَآءَ وَجْهِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ


 Muhsin Khan
 Yusuf Ali
Quran Project
Not upon you, [O Muhammad], is [responsibility for] their guidance, but Allāh guides whom He wills. And whatever good you [believers] spend is for yourselves, and you do not spend except seeking the countenance of Allāh. And whatever you spend of good - it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.

1. Lessons/Guidance/Reflections/Gems

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Explanatory Note

At this point the sūrah addresses the Prophet personally, setting out a number of essential facts bearing on the formulation of Islamic principles and scope of behaviour.

It is not for you to make people follow the right guidance. It is God who guides whom He wills.” Prophet Muĥammad is directed to open his heart to people, to show kindness, and to offer all possible help, leaving judgement and reward to God Almighty.

With such tenets and principles, Islam opens the widest possible horizons of compassion and tolerance. It goes beyond the recognition of religious freedom and rejection of compulsion and coercion. It demands universal human compassion and establishes the right of all needy members of society to help and support, regardless of their religious faith, as long as they do not pose any threat to the community. It further asserts that the rewards of those who give for the sake of God are safely guaranteed. No other religious faith has risen to or achieved such high standards of human or social morality.

The sūrah emphasises that: “Whatever good you may spend in charity is for your own good. You should only spend out of pure dedication to God. And whatever good you give in charity will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” Only a believer gives for the sake of God and no other. He does not give to charity in order to gain influence or praise, nor does he exploit his generosity to achieve personal ends or satisfy his ego, nor does he seek the favour or pleasure of people in power or authority. A believer gives to charity in the full knowledge and satisfaction that he will be rewarded by God; and that his life, character, and standing will be enhanced and that, furthermore, God’s generosity in the hereafter is guaranteed and will be all the more fulfilling.

  • لا تنفقوا إلا لأجل طلب وجه الله تعالى، أو إلا طالبين وجهه سبحانه؛ لا مؤذين، ولا مانين، ولا مرائين، ولا متيممين الخبيثالألوسي: 3/46 [Be the first to translate this....]

2. Linguistic Analysis

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Frequency of Root words in this Ayat used in this Surah *

3. Surah Overview

4. Miscellaneous Information

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5. Connected/Related Ayat

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6. Frequency of the word

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7. Period of Revelation

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The scholars are unanimous that Surah al-Baqarah is Madani and that it was the first Surah revealed in Madinah. [Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Fath al-Bari no. 160/8].

Despite it being the first Surah to be revealed in Madinah, it contains Ayaat from a later period also. In fact, according to Ibn Abbas [as mentioned in Ibn Kathir] the last Ayat revealed to the Prophet was Ayat no. 281 from Surah al-Baqarah and this occurred 8 days or so before his death [which corresponds to the year 11 Hijri].

8. Reasons for Revelation

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Ibn Abī Ĥātim reports on the authority of Ibn `Abbās that until this verse was revealed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to instruct the Muslims to give in charity only to fellow Muslims, but then he ordered that charity should be extended to all who need it, regardless of their religion.

Guidance is a matter for God alone. Not even the Messenger of God could be held responsible for whether individuals heed the truth or not. God is the Creator, and He alone has power over people’s hearts and minds. The mission of God’s Messenger is to convey His message, and then it is up to God how He gives guidance to individual human beings, as they deserve to be guided. In taking this crucial issue out of the human domain, an important principle is established that a believer should seek and receive guidance from God alone. It also impresses upon the Messenger a need to show understanding, tolerance and perseverance in the face of any rejection or resistance he meets in conveying God’s message to the public. He is to appeal to God to grant them guidance and show them the light.

9. Relevant Hadith

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  • The Messenger of Allah said,  قَالَ رَجُلٌ لأَتَصَدَّقَنَّ بِصَدَقَةٍ فَخَرَجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ سَارِقٍ فَأَصْبَحُوا يَتَحَدَّثُونَ تُصُدِّقَ عَلَى سَارِقٍ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى سَارِقٍ لأَتَصَدَّقَنَّ بِصَدَقَةٍ فَخَرَجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ زَانِيَةٍ فَأَصْبَحُوا يَتَحَدَّثُونَ تُصُدِّقَ اللَّيْلَةَ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ لأَتَصَدَّقَنَّ بِصَدَقَةٍ فَخَرَجَ بِصَدَقَتِهِ فَوَضَعَهَا فِي يَدِ غَنِيٍّ فَأَصْبَحُوا يَتَحَدَّثُونَ تُصُدِّقَ عَلَى غَنِيٍّ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَى زَانِيَةٍ وَعَلَى سَارِقٍ وَعَلَى غَنِيٍّ فَأُتِيَ فَقِيلَ لَهُ أَمَّا صَدَقَتُكَ فَقَدْ تُقُبِّلَتْ أَمَّا الزَّانِيَةُ فَلَعَلَّهَا أَنْ تَسْتَعِفَّ بِهِ مِنْ زِنَاهَا وَلَعَلَّ السَّارِقَ أَنْ يَسْتَعِفَّ بِهِ عَنْ سَرِقَتِهِ وَلَعَلَّ الْغَنِيَّ أَنْ يَعْتَبِرَ فَيُنْفِقَ مِمَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ‏"‏

    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.'' [Sunan an-Nasa'i no.2523]
  • The Messenger of Allah said, '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.' [Muslim & Bukhari]
  • The Messenger of Allah said to Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas '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.' [Muslim & Bukhari]
  • The Prophet said 'When the Muslim spends on his family while awaiting the reward for it from Allah, it will be written as charity for him.' [Musnad Ahmad]


10. Wiki Forum

Comments in this section are statements made by general users – these are not necessarily explanations of the Ayah – rather a place to share personal thoughts and stories…

11. Tafsir Zone


12. External Links

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