From among these ayat is His statement
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain which grows seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. Allah is All Embracing, All Knowing.” (Surah Al-Baqarah:261)
Allah likens spending for His sake to a person planting grains. Every grain grew seven ears and in every ear there were one hundred grains, and Allah multiplies the reward depending upon many factors: the sincerity, the level of iman of the spender, the extended benefit resulting from such spending, the amount of money that was spent and spending the money in the right place. This is because the reward varies according to the sincerity and iman in the spender’s heart and the firmness at the time of spending the money, i.e. spending the money with a firm heart, happily and willing and without any attachment to it, so that the hand gives it away unshaken without hesitation. It also varies depending upon the level of benefit achieved and whether the money is spent appropriately. From this example, we may understand that Allah has likened spending, to the growth of grains, because the person who spends his lawful wealth for the sake of Allah is like the one who plants his grain into fertile land.
The harvest depends upon the quality of the grain, the fertility of the land, irrigation, and the removal of harmful plants and pests. When all these acts are performed and no fire has incinerated the grains, the harvest will come in the size of mountains and will be like a grain that has been planted on a hill that is exposed to sun and wind, which provides the best conditions for the growth of plants. Then heavy rain falls down continuously causing the plant to give double the harvest of other plants and even if the rain was little, it will suffice it to grow a little, and its growth will double with more water. The use of heavy and light rain was a similitude of those who spend a little and those who spend a lot and Allah never overlooks even an atom’s worth of good deeds.
Thus, when someone spends for the sake of Allah and then does something that nullifies his good deeds, he is like a person who has a garden of palms and vines with rivers flowing underneath, with many fruits therein; and he is very old and has feeble off-spring – then a fiery windstorm strikes it, consuming it all with fire so that upon the day in which deed are judged and rewards are given, what happened to the owner of the garden will happen to him, though his grief and regret will surpass the suffering of the owner of the garden. This example has been set by Allah to illustrate the grief and regret that occurs when a blessings that is very beneficial and great is taken away at the time when it is most needed, similar to the man who is old and weak and has feeble off-spring who cannot look after him and are under his care, yet cannot benefit from the grace and blessings he possessed. If this is the case of a person who owns a garden of all kinds of fruit including the best fruit; palms and vines suffice him and his off-spring, then all of a sudden his garden is consumed by fire, what sorrow and grief is greater than this!
Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “This is the example of a person whose last deeds at the end of his life were corrupted.”
Mujahid said, “This is the example of a person who remains unmindful of obedience to Allah until his death.”
Al-Sari said, “This is the example of a show-off whose spending is not for the sake of Allah; therefore he is prevented from its reward when he is most in need of it.”
Once, Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, asked the Companions about this ayah so they said, “Allah knows best.” So Umar got upset and said, “Either you say we know or we do not know.” Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “O chief of the Believers, I may know what it means.” Umar said, “O my nephew, say it and do not keep it to yourself.” Ibn Abbas said, “It is an example of a deed.” Umar asked, “What deed?” Ibn Abbas said, ” A rich man who does good deeds then Allah sends him the Shaytan, so he starts to commit wrongdoings until these wrongdoings destroy all his good deeds.”
Al-Hasan said, “This is the example that only few can comprehend, it is the example of an old, weak man with many children who is need of his garden and by Allah, all of you are more in need of the reward of good deeds after death. So, when his charitable deeds are affected by showing off or reproaching the ones receiving charity, the rewards of the charity are nullified.” Therefore the likeness of this person and the nullification of his good deeds are like a rock upon which lies dust of earth that is struck by a rainstorm, leaving it smooth and bare. When one contemplates the results of the acts mentioned in this example, and the depths of the parables, the greatness of the Qur’an will be realised.
A rock is likened to the heart of a show-off who reproaches or mocks the ones who receive his charity, therefore the heart in terms of iman, sincerity and ihsan is like a rock – and insincere deeds are likened to the dust of earth upon a rock. Yet the hard surface of the rock prevents the dust sticking to it, and prevents plants from growing from it when there is a rainstorm. There is also the condition of a show off, who is stubborn in the face of Commandments, thus the small amount of dust covering him is removed, revealing a bare rock underneath. This is a good example of the good deeds and spending of a show-off who will not attain their reward on the Day of Judgement, when they are most in need of it. And with Allah is all success.
Paragons of the Qur’an by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah Pages 97-100