or fewness and reinforce it. Thus, the words, But if signify doubt, and doubt looks to littleness or fewness. The word touches means to touch lightly and expresses a small amount. And just as the word a breath is merely a whiff, so is it in the singular form. Grammatically it is a masdar marra and signifies once. Also the tanwin indicating indefiniteness in a breathe expresses littleness or fewness and means it is so insignificant that it can scarcely be known. The word of signifies division or a part; it means a bit and indicates paucity. The word punishment points to a light sort of punishment in relation to chastisement (nakal) or penalty (i’qab), and suggests a small amount. And by alluding to compassion and being used in place of Subduer, All-Compelling, or Avenger, the word Sustainer indicates littleness or fewness. It says, if the small amount of punishment suggested in all this paucity has such an effect, you can compare how dreadful Divine chastisement would be. How much then do the small parts of this sentence look to one another and assist one another! How each reinforces the aim of the whole! This example looks to the words and aim to a small degree.
And spend [in God’s way] out of what We have bestowed on them as sustenance.1
The parts of this sentence point out five of the conditions which make almsgiving acceptable.
First Condition: This is to give only so much alms as will not cause the giver to be in need of receiving alms himself. It states this condition through the division or parts signified by out of in the words out of what.
Second Condition: It is not to take from ‘Ali and give to Wali, but to give out of a one’s own property. The words We have bestowed on them as sustenance express this condition. It means: “Give out of the sustenance that is yours.”
Third Condition: This is not to place an obligation on the recipient. The word We in We have bestowed on them as sustenance states this condition. That is to say: “I give you the sustenance. When you give some of My property to one of My servants, you cannot place them under an obligation.”
Fourth Condition: You should give it to a person who will spend it on his livelihood, for alms given to those who will squander it idly is not acceptable. The word spend points to this condition.
Fifth Condition: This is to give in God’s name. The words We bestow on them as sustenance states this. That is to say: “The property is Mine; you should give it in My name.”