• One should not give in the hope of gain.
• One should not fear poverty.
• Almsgiving should not be restricted to property; knowledge, ideas, and actions may also be given.
• The recipient of almsgiving should not spend it on frivolities, but on necessities and basic needs.
The Qur’an preferred “And spend out of what We have provided for them (Wa mimmā razqnāhum yunfiqūn)” to ‘they give alms’ (yataṣaddaqūn) or ‘they give the alms-tax’ (yazakkūn) and so on in order to make the following points and infer these conditions:
With “out of (min)” it indicates that wastefulness [in the giving of almsgiving] should be avoided;
By putting “out of what (mimmā)” first it infers that it should be given out of the donor’s property;
And by “We have provided (razzaqnā),” it disallows it being a favour; that is, “it is Allah who is the Giver and you are merely the means.”
And by the “We (-nā),” it alludes to the meaning of the Hadith: “Never fear scarcity from the Lord of the divine throne.”1
And because rizq [the noun ‘sustenance,’ derived from the verbal root] here is absolute and not specific, it infers that almsgiving includes the giving of knowledge, ideas, and other things.
And by “spend (yunfiqūn)” it infers the condition that the recipient should spend the alms on his livelihood and essential needs.
It is stated by a sound Hadith: “Zakāt is the bridge of Islam.”2 That is, zakāt is a bridge; the Muslim helps his brother Muslim to pass over it. For it is the means enjoined [by religion] whereby [people] may assist one another; indeed, it is a highway in the ordering of human society, and a link or artery by which the substance of life may flow between its members. Indeed, it is the antidote to the very real poisons impeding human progress. Yes, there is vast wisdom in the obligation of zakāt and prohibition of usury and interest, and lofty benefits and extensive mercy. For if you take a historical look at the page of the world and study the evils of human society, you will see that the underlying reasons for all revolutions and corruption, and the source of immorality are only two sayings:
The First: “Once I’m full, what is to me if others die of hunger?”
al-Jāmi‘ al-Saghīr, no: 1508; al-Mundhirī, al-Targhīb wa’l-Tarhīb, no: 912. See, Nursi, Ishārāt al-I‘jāz [Iḥsān Qāsim], 53.
See, note 9 above.