In the Quranic verse 64:17 Allah (swt) says:
‘If you lend to Allah a goodly loan (i.e. spend in Allah’s cause), He will double it for you and forgive you. And Allah is Most Ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forbearing’.
Unlike the several other verses in which Allah (swt) has Commanded us to spend in His way, this verse has described charity as giving a ‘goodly loan’ to Allah (swt). The verse also states that Allah (swt) will forgive those who give Him a goodly loan and He will also repay the loan by increasing it manifold. This verse depicts the Generosity of Allah (swt) as He asks us for a loan in order to encourage us to give charity. Everybody is aware of the truth that Allah (swt) is Self-Sufficient. He is our Creator and also it is He who gives wealth to the rich in order to test them in this worldly life. So why would He ask for something which He has Himself bestowed on us? Moreover, the goodly loan is not going to be offered to Him but to the poor and needy. Last but not the least, the loan which He has asked us to give to Him is not an ordinary, worldly loan but a beautiful loan (Qarz-e-hasana). This loan is dissimilar from the general concept of loan in the Muslim world, in which the rich gives a loan to a poor person and takes it back without charging any interest. The loan which Allah, The All-Merciful asks us to give to Him is the one that is given selflessly and not selfishly; it is given willingly and not grudgingly and it is given with pure and noble intentions and not for show-off before the world. In the worldly loans, there is a risk involved and we may not be sure about its return. However, where the goodly loan given to Allah (swt) is concerned, we will not only assuredly get it back, but it will also be multiplied and besides this, our sins will be forgiven by Allah (swt), who is All-Forgiving.
Comparing the loan which Allah (swt) asks from us in verse 64:17 to this worldly concept of a Qarz-e-Hasana would be a foolish mistake. The Jews, at the time of the Prophet (saw), actually committed this foolish mistake since they lacked the intellect which is needed for understanding the real essence of the Quranic verses. They misinterpreted the verse, 64:17 and concluded that Allah (swt) has asked for a loan which shows that He is poor whereas we are definitely rich because, generally speaking, the poor ask the rich people for help. Allah (swt) has replied to the evil Jews in verse 3:181 of the Quran in the following words:
‘Allah has certainly heard the statement of those (Jews) who said, ‘Indeed, Allah is poor while we are rich’. We will record what they said and their killing of the Prophets without right and will say, ‘Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire’.
So we find that the words, ‘goodly loan’ were used only as a metaphor in verse 64:17 to describe charity or spending in the Way of Allah (swt). However, the ignorant Jews misconstrued the meaning of this verse and started making preposterous and nasty statements due which verse 3:181 was revealed in which Allah has warned them of the blazing Fire of Hell.
We, as true Muslims, should be on the look out of opportunities where we can get the honor of offering Allah (swt), our Creator, a goodly loan. The Compulsory charity (zakat) is compulsory as its name suggests. However, apart from that if we see someone is distress then we should go ahead and spend in the Way of Allah (swt) through voluntary charity or a donation.
The amount which we spend in a donation for a noble cause, whether small of big, will help us to appease our Creator, Allah (swt) and to get multiple benefits from Him in both the worlds.
May Allah (swt) show us the right path, Ameen.