2:3 Those who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them.
This ayah and the next explain the characteristics of the muttaqin.
This ayah covers spiritual and physical aspects of the religion i.e. the complete way of life.
Belief in the Unseen is spiritual (belief and faith). Spending is the relationship between man and his society (economy/trade, good attitudes and cooperation). Prayers combined both spiritual and physical aspects of man with himself (discipline, self control and focus).
Belief in the unseen
The first trait of muttaqin is believing (mu‘minuna means those who have peace/ have come to terms with) in the unseen/supernatural (ghaybiyyat).
The unseen here means everything that the messenger reported which are beyond the scope of human intellect.
This refers to a spiritual trait.
One way belief in the unseen will increase our taqwa is that we know Allah is always aware and His angels are recording all of our deeds which will all be rewarded or punished later in the Hereafter. Thus the belief will help mankind to adhere to guidance from Allah and abstain from evil either to attain the Garden or to avoid the Hellfire.
The supernature of one thing depends on the knowledge or assumptions at the time or by whom it is being referred to.
During the black plague, people referred to it as wrath of God i.e. supernatural. But when human knowledge developed, we know that the plague was caused by microorganisms carried by vectors which spread the symptoms of the disease thus it is no more supernatural. Similar to Allah, angels, the Hereafter etc, all is unseen, but when the Reckoning comes and men can see all of the ghaybiyyat mentioned in the Quran, we can no longer deny them but faith/belief after death is not beneficial if we denied them during lifetime i.e. during the period of test.
On another note, human still dont know why and how something happened at a specific place and time, and this is still supernatural. In Islam it is called qada‘ wa qadar (matters preordained by Allah, Allah’s plan and execution) based on His attributes of qudrat wa iradah (able and freewill).
The second trait of muttaqin is yuqiiimuuna assolah meaning they develop/establish the solah (prayers).
This refers to a physical trait, in the relationship between individual and Allah.
Those who are God conscious will always long for His attention and love, and this is attained in solah.
This trait is not limited to performing solah (both obligatory and optional) but includes perfecting the purification before performing solah, the lines, the congregation, the facilities for solah and actively urging the community towards performing solah.
Spend in God’s Way
The third trait of muttaqin is that they spend (in Allah’s cause) from what Allah provided them.
This is a physical trait, affecting relationship between individual and his community.
1. Allah stated “from what We provided”.
This is to teach us that all that we have are provided by Him, not from our own efforts.
Allah is the one who determined whether our efforts will be beneficial or otherwise based on His decreed sunnatullah, i.e. His laws of nature and sciences, and His iradah i.e. His freewill.
Furthermore even when all of our efforts are in line with sunnatullah to be successful, there are so many aspects which are out of our control but lie in the domain of Allah’s control.
2. Infaq means spend
Islam encourages wealth to be circulated. Assets which are left idle are liable for zakah, i.e. compulsory almsgiving, because the assets are supposed to be used for the benefit of all e.g. idle lands, minimum cash balance in bank etc.
Islam prohibits the accumulation of wealth by certain groups. This has caused injustice in society and made the economy susceptible to major downturn caused by small group of people or one industry.
This concept shouldnt be confused with consumerism, as Islam discouraged overspending and lavish lifestyle. Consume what we need, spend the rest in Allah’s way.
This world is only a stopover on our way to the hereafter. Eat when we are hungry and stop before we are full. Those who spent lavishly are siblings of shaytan.
In a smaller scale, we will be rewarded for our deeds in this world. Included is our spending in a good way e.g. to sustain the family, almsgiving, etc.
The wealth that we accumulate wont give us any good if we dont spend them because they will be bequeathed to our offsprings. The portion that we spent in Allah’s cause will be our eternal wealth as these will aid us in attaining salvation.