There are different opinions on the phrase “and a man who gives charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given.”

In the hadith which is agreed upon, Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His ….” He mentioned the hadith, and in it, “a man who gives charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given.”  Agreed upon.

 Here are some of the opinions:

  1. Some of the scholars said that this phrase “his left hand does not know what his right hand has given” was used for exaggeration, meaning if the left hand had the ability to comprehend how much the right hand spent in charity then it wouldn’t have been able to.

  2. Another opinion is that it means that if his left hand was actually a man then it wouldn’t know how much was spent.

  3. Other scholars mentioned that in the context itself there is a word missing, which is “so that the people on his left do not know how much he has spent with his right”. this opinion is held to be strong by many of the scholars.

  4. Others said that the word missing is not “people” it is “angel” so the context will be like this “so that the angel on his left side does not know what was spent by his right”. This opinion seems weak.

  5. Another opinion is that this phrase means that this charity had no riya’ in, therefore the angel on his left will not write a bad deed for him.

  6. It was also said that he himself -the person giving the charity- does not know how much he spent and a part of him was mentioned here but it means he himself, and some of the scholars considered this opinion weak.

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