وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تُنفِقُوا۟ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِلَّهِ مِيرَٰثُ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا يَسْتَوِى مِنكُم مَّنْ أَنفَقَ مِن قَبْلِ ٱلْفَتْحِ وَقَٰتَلَ ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنۢ بَعْدُ وَقَٰتَلُوا۟ ۚ وَكُلًّا وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ
Asad Quran Translation
And why should you not spend freely in the cause of God, seeing that God's [alone] is the heritage of the heavens and the earth?8
Not equal are those of you who spent and fought [in God's cause] before the Victory9
[and those who did not do so]: they are of a higher rank than those who would spend and fight [only] after it - although God has promised the ultimate good to all [who strive in His cause].10
And God is aware of all that you do.
I.e., "that to God belongs all that is...", etc.: see note  above; also Note  on 15:23 .
I.e., before the conquest of Mecca in 8 H., when the Muslims were still weak and their future uncertain.
The above principle applies, of course, to the relative merits of believers of all times who strive in God's cause before and/or after success has been achieved.
Malik Quran Translation
What is the matter with you that you do not spend in the Way of Allah, whereas to Allah belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those of you who spent and fought in the Cause of Allah before the victory, shall receive higher ranks of honor than the others who spent and fought thereafter. Yet Allah has promised you all a good reward, and Allah is aware of all your actions.
Yusuf Ali Quran Translation
And what cause have ye why ye should not spend in the cause of Allah? For to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth. Not equal among you are those who spent (freely) and fought before the Victory (with those who did so later). Those are higher in rank than those who spent (freely) and fought afterwards. But to all has Allah promised a goodly (reward) and Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. 5285 5286
"To Allah belongs the heritage of...": see n. 485 to iii. 180; also n. 988 to vi. 165; and n. 1964 to xv. 23.
This is usually understood to refer to the Conquest of Makkah, after which the Muslims succeeded to the power and position which the Pagan Quraish had so misused at Makkah. Thereafter the Muslims had the hegemony of Arabia, and in a few centuries, for a time, the hegemony of the world. But the words are perfectly general, and we must understand the general meaning also: that the people who fight and struggle in Allah's Cause and give of their best to it at any time are worthy of praise: but those are worthy of special distinction who do it when the Cause is being persecuted and in most need of assistance, before victory comes.
Mustafa Khattab Quran Translation
And why should you not spend in the cause of Allah, while Allah is the ˹sole˺ inheritor of the heavens and the earth? Those of you who donated and fought before the victory ˹over Mecca˺ are unparalleled. They are far greater in rank than those who donated and fought afterwards.1
Yet Allah has promised each a fine reward. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.
Prior to the victory over Mecca, Muslims were outnumbered and perceived as weak. Once Mecca surrendered to the Muslims, many tribes either accepted Islam or made peace agreements with the Muslim victors. Therefore, the believers who donated and strived at the time of hardship and weakness deserve more rewards than those who did so at the time of ease and prominence.
Piktal Quran Translation
And what aileth you that ye spend not in the way of Allah, when unto Allah belongeth the inheritance of the heavens and the earth? Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you). Such are greater in rank than those who spent and fought afterwards. Unto each hath Allah promised good. And Allah is Informed of what ye do.
Wama lakum alla tunfiqoo fee sabeeli Allahi walillahi meerathu alssamawati waalardi la yastawee minkum man anfaqa min qabli alfathi waqatala olaika aAAthamu darajatan mina allatheena anfaqoo min baAAdu waqataloo wakullan waAAada Allahu alhusna waAllahu bima taAAmaloona khabeerun