And worship God, and associate nothing with Him. Be kind to parents, and near kindred, and to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbor who is near, and to the neighbor who is a stranger, and to the friend at your side, and to the wayfarer, and to what your right hands own. Surely God loves not the conceited, and the boastful.
Those who are niggardly, and bid other people to be niggardly, and conceal what God has bestowed upon them of His bounty. And We have
prepared for those that disbelieve a humbling chastisement.
And worship God: Servanthood is attaching yourself closely to the com- mand (al-ʿubūdiyyatu muʿānaqatu al-amr) and separating yourself from the rebuke (wa-mufāraqatu al-zajr).
And associate nothing with Him: The outward form of associating another with God (shirk) is to believe in objects of worship other than Him (iʿtiqādu maʿbūdin siwāhi), while its hidden form is looking to any existing thing other than Him (mulāḥaẓatu mawjūdin siwāhi). Declaring His unity is to recognize that all contingent things are brought into being by God and subsist through Him. He is the One who causes things to happen, brings things forth, and causes them to remain. There is not an atom, a splinter, a particle or the slightest trace that belongs to anyone [other than Him that has the capacity to] bring things into existence or orginate new things.
The subtle forms of showing off, the hidden acts of guile, the secret places of pride, acting to be seen by created beings, seeking the pleasure of their praise and wilting at their rejection and censure-all that is hidden idolatry (shirk khafī).
Be kind to parents: Acting kindly (iḥsān) follows degrees of association, for you have been commanded to observe [your parents'] rights first because they are your kin, and you were raised by them, and reached your full maturity and knowledge through them. When your association and companionship have become sound and good with your near kindred, the poor, the needy, the orphans and those of their class, you will be raised up from that to become worthy of His companionship (سبحانه).
And to the neighbor who is near, and to the neighbor who is a stranger, and to the friend at your side: Among your neighbors are your two angels, so do not annoy them with your disobedience (bi-ʿiṣyānika) and observe their right in what you give them to record in your acts of kindness (min iḥsānika).
If the neighbor next to your home is entitled to your kindness and the observation of his right, then the neighbor next to your self (nafs), which is your heart (qalb), deserves even more that you do not neglect or disre- gard it, and that you do not enable vile thoughts to come to it. And if this
applies to the neighbor of your self, then the neighbor of your heart, which is your spirit (rūḥ), is even more deserving that you protect its right and do not enable that which is in discord with it from the familiar comforts and things close [to the lower self]. The neighbor of your spirit, which is your innermost self (sirr), is even more deserving that you watch over its right and do not enable its absence from the homesteads of witnessing (awṬān al-shuhūd) at all times. The allusion in His words, “And He is with you wherever you are” [57:4] is unambiguous to the hearts of those who possess realization.
Those who are niggardly. . . In scholarly terms, niggardliness is holding back from what is obligatory. According to the explanation by allusion (bayān al-ishāra), [niggardliness] is not showing a preference for others (īthār) in times of need.
To bid others to niggardliness is to shield them from the sacred demands (muṬālabāt al-ḥaqāÌiq) by showing sympathy for them with regard to the law. For example, a spiritual traveler might have stripped himself of all attach- ments and cut himself off from all that is not necessary, but then someone advises him, saying, “Maybe you are not strong enough for this and, with your circumstances, it would be permissible and more appropriate for you to become a beggar. Maybe you should go out and ask from others. That would not be a burden on other Muslims.” And [this person] relates reports, traditions, and the like on this topic. If it were not for the niggardliness residing in his heart, he would assist [the traveler] in the aspiration that has come to his heart instead of holding him back with his counsel. Whoever is like this quickly becomes despicable inasmuch as he has extinguished the sparks of the spiritual desire of this weak soul through what he thinks is good advice and sympathy with respect to the law.
And conceal what God has bestowed upon them of His bounty, that is, if God has freed them from seeking bounty by what He has granted and given them, they conceal that, coveting more without warrant.
It is said they conceal what God has bestowed upon them of His bounty
when an aspirant comes before them and asks for something that would
save him, and they are stingy with him in giving him guidance (irshād). It is said that the niggardliness of the rich is holding back wealth (niʿma)
and the niggardliness of the poor is holding back aspiration (himma).