|Donation of Imam ʿAli (a)|
The Verse of Infāq or Verse of Donation (Arabic: آية الإنفاق) was revealed about giving one’s wealth or donation (infaq) and how it should be practiced under different circumstances. Quranic exegetes believe that the verse was revealed about Imam ʿAli (a) when he donated four dirhams at day and night, both secretly and openly. Some people believe that the verse encompasses everyone who acts upon it.
Verse 274 of Qur'an 2 is called the Verse of Infaq or Donation. Some people believe that the verse summaries its fourteen preceding verses concerning donation. The verse is about how to give one’s wealth, its rewards, and its impact on one’s peacefulness, indicating its virtue under all circumstances and at all times.
The Verse of Infaq talks about those who give their wealth at all times and under all circumstances, their readiness for donation in all conditions, as well as worldly and afterlife effects of donation.
Occasion of Revelation
By citing certain hadiths, Shi'a exegetes believe that the Verse of Infaq was revealed about Imam ʿAli (a) who donated four dirhams, one at night and the other during the day, a third secretly, and a fourth openly.
Sunni exegetes offer two accounts of the occasion of revelation of this verse. Some believe that it was only revealed about Imam ʿAli (a). Others note its revelation about Imam ʿAli (a), but point out that there are other possibilities such as the verse being revealed about 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and Abu Bakr. For example, they mention ʿAbd al-Rahman b. ʿAwf as the one who gave his wealth during the day, and ʿAli (a) as the one who gave his wealth at night. Some say that the verse was revealed about everyone who gave his wealth on the path of God without wastefulness, or even those who provide fodder for war horses.
Some Sunni exegetes have mentioned different possible accounts of the occasion of revelation of the verse, and then suspended judgment about it.
Some exegetes hold that although the verse was revealed about a particular person, what is says is not limited to that person, and indeed, it includes everyone who donates in this way, although Imam ʿAli’s donation is more virtuous because he was the first person to do so.
The Verse of Infaq points out various ways of giving one’s wealth: if there is no need for the donation to be public, then it should be done secretly so that the receiver’s dignity is protected, and if there are exigencies such as encouraging others to donation or honoring the rituals, then it can be done openly and publicly, although it had better be done at night than during the day and secretly than openly. Infaq is to donate one’s money and possession to fulfill someone else’s financial needs.
The verse also points to the divine rewards of donation such as the forgiveness of one’s sins and immunity to punishments. Some exegetes believe that when one donates, God prepares the ground for the peace of his mind and removal of his griefs and remorse. This is because one might refuse to donate out of anxieties about the future or fears of losing one’s wealth. In this way, donators are described as those who have no anxieties about the future nor would they grieve over the loss of part of their property. However, al-Tabrisi in his Majma' al-bayan as well as other exegetes interpret the grief in the verse as having no horrors on the day of resurrection.
The verse is said to involve messages such as immunity to griefs, having a donating spirit, peace of mind, and security.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه انفاق in Farsi WikiShia.