الآية رقم (224) - وَلاَ تَجْعَلُواْ اللّهَ عُرْضَةً لِّأَيْمَانِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّواْ وَتَتَّقُواْ وَتُصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

(224) - (And do not make [your oath by] Allah an excuse against being righteous and fearing Allah and making peace among people. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.)

The previous verses are about establishing a family, family relationships under marriage and the relationship with the woman, and the value and importance of women in Islam which have been stated in the previous verses and will be stated in the verses to come. However, Allah (swt) states high important issues: not to make the oath by Allah (swt) an excuse against three things:

– Being righteous.

– fearing Allah (swt)

– making peace among people

All the three things above should be clear to all people. Sometimes you swear not to give something to some people, as happened with Abu Bakr Asseddiq’ (may Allah be pleased with him) in the ‘Ifk’ incident when he swore not to give one of his relatives whose name was ‘Mastah’ who was among the people involved in the ‘Ifk’ incident. This was among the reasons of revelation. Keep in mind that the Quranic verses have a certain reason for revelation while their wording is general. Thus, the meaning is that don’t make your oaths by Allah against being righteous, fearing Allah and making peace among people, so never make oaths by Allah; when you make such oath you have to be back to the right track and present ‘Kaffara’ to the oath (to fulfill it): First:

( أَن تَبَرُّوا  ..  ) (..being righteous…): Righteousness is not a mere word to say; it was stated clearly in the verse of righteousness:

 لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

(Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.)  (Al-Baqara: 177)

Thus, righteousness is a broad term with many aspects. It should be like a slogan within the society. Anyhow, the most important element of righteousness is to spend in the way of Allah (swt). That’s why the above verse mentions that righteousness is not about turning your faces east or west but rather to believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives…….. i.e. spending money. Spending and righteous deeds should be encouraged nowadays as our society is in urgent need at the time of the crisis. Among the most important righteous deeds is giving to the poor and donating to them. The Prophet (saws) said:

“Protect your money with Zakat, heal your patients with charity, and repel distress with supplication which benefits with what has hit and not hit: it cures the former and prevents the latter[1]

How wonderful, sublime, and great are those three concepts. Spend if you want to protect your money; give to the poor, the helpless, orphans, relatives, and the needy. The aim is not to have a society where there is a big gap between the rich and the poor since Allah (swt) has made enough portion for the poor within the money of the rich. A poor man only strives when a rich man refrains from spending. That is, spending and the talk on spending and righteousness is a major headline in Islam. Zakat, for example, is one of the main pillars and part of Islam. It’s such a great Sharia law that makes you protect your money by spending part of it on the poor.

Islam is accused of cruelty, violence and terror, whereas it is a religion of kindness, mercy, giving, goodness, and sympathizing with the conditions of others. Allah (swt) is the healer; when you give away to the poor they supplicate for you; and such supplication protects you. That’s why prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “and repel distress with supplication.” Such supplication is the only active tool to turn back the decree as the Prophet (saws) said:

“Nothing turns back the Decree except supplication.”[2]

On the other hand, one of the toughest and the ugliest things during crises and unrest in the society is the monopoly by traders. Islam has taught us how to fight such monopoly. During the time of Omar Bin Al-Khattab’s (may Allah be pleased with him) Caliphate there was a year of drought and hunger that left no food for the people of Al-Madina. Then came a trade convoy, and traders wanted to purchase all the goods of the convoy to sell it to people at high prices. Othman Bin Affan (may Allah be pleased with him), however, bought all the goods of the convoy, so the traders came to him and said: “You have bought all the goods of the convoy; we want to buy from you and can pay you double what you’ve paid.” Othman said: “He has got me more.” They said: “we can pay you three folds.” Yet, he said: “He’s got me more.” They wondered: “Who has got you more than three folds? We can pay you five folds, Othman.” But Othman said: “Allah (swt) has got me ten folds and a good deed is multiplied by ten. And I made Allah witness that I bought the goods to donate it to poor Muslims with no account or reminder.” This is how traders should act in crises times. Othman monopolized in favor of the poor by purchasing all the goods of the convoy to give away to the poor and, thus, prevent monopoly. This is what Islam is about, and this is how the men of Islam used to be. We don’t want to say: ‘there are more males and less men.’ True men are of manhood and generosity and act in crises times:

 {مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا}

(Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration -.)  (Al-Ahzaab:23)

When a crisis hits a country, the society consolidates and cooperates. In this case, traders and rich people have to stand at the side of righteous as stated by Allah (swt):

 { أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَأْخُذُ الصَّدَقَاتِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ }

(Do they not know that it is Allah who accepts repentance from His servants and receives charities and that it is Allah who is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.)  (At-Tawba: 104)

Allah (swt) accepts repentance because He says:

 مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

(Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.)  (Al-Baqara: 245)

( وَلَا تَجْعَلُوا اللَّهَ عُرْضَةً لِّأَيْمَانِكُمْ…) (And do not make [your oath by] Allah an excuse against being righteous.…): Never ever swear by Allah (swt) to go against three things: First:

( أَن تَبَرُّوا  ..  ) (..being righteous…): don’t stick to your oath on whatever righteous things you swear not to do. Pay the expiation for and resume the righteous deeds; second:

( وَتَتَّقُوا  ..  ) (..and fearing Allah…): Fearing Allah (swt) means any good deed that pays off with the good as such for the person and the society. Thus, no one should swear to do something that is against the fear of Allah (swt); and the third:

( وَتُصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ  ..  ) (..and making peace among people…): Making peace among people is so important. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said:

“Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, prayer and almsgiving (sadaqah)?

The people replied: Yes, Prophet of Allah! He says:

It is putting things right between people, spoiling them is the shaver (destructive)[3].”

Spoiling people destructs the society, and that’s why reconciliation should be made among people. Moreover, such reconciliation starts by reconciling the man and his wife:

 {…وَالصُّلْحُ خَيْرٌ…}

(..and settlement is best..)  (An-Nisaa: 128)

Relation of people with their neighbors and surrounding, and reconciling the relation between the individuals and the society. All of that is under the same title: Making peace and reconciliation among people.

( وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ) (….And Allah is Hearing and Knowing): Allah (swt) hears and knows what you do. So, when you take the oath against the three things, you should turn back to them: righteousness, fearing Allah and making peace among people.

[1] Masnad Ashamiyeen, Ibrahimn Bin Abi Abla, Hadith no. 18.

[2] Sunan At-Tirmithi, Vol. fate, Hadith No. 2139.

[3] Sunan Abi Dawud, General Behavior Volume, Chapter: Reconciliation, Hadith no. 4919.