Sharing Wealth and Giving to Others

(Keywords: Obligatory charity, Sharing with others, alms giving, generosity, Miserliness, Stinginess, Reward of actions)

 

         Following is a true story of three men who were favored with certain blessings.  Then they were tested whether they shared the blessings with a poor man.  Two of them withheld from giving to the poor and denied God’s favor, so they were punished and lost their entire wealth.  The third man gave to the poor generously, attributing the blessing to God, so he was rewarded and was blessed in his wealth.

عن أَبَي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: «  إِنَّ ثَلاَثَةً فِي بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَبْرَصَ وَأَقْرَعَ وَأَعْمَى بَدَا لِلَّهِ أَنْ يَبْتَلِيَهُمْ، فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِمْ مَلَكًا. ـ

فَأَتَى الأَبْرَصَ‏،‏ فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: لَوْنٌ حَسَنٌ وَجِلْدٌ حَسَنٌ، قَدْ قَذِرَنِي النَّاسُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ، فَذَهَبَ عَنْهُ، فَأُعْطِيَ لَوْنًا حَسَنًا وَجِلْدًا حَسَنًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ: أَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الإِبِلُ ـ أَوْ قَالَ الْبَقَرُ هُوَ شَكَّ فِي ذَلِكَ، إِنَّ الأَبْرَصَ وَالأَقْرَعَ، قَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا الإِبِلُ، وَقَالَ الآخَرُ الْبَقَرُ ـ فَأُعْطِيَ نَاقَةً عُشَرَاءَ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: يُبَارَكُ لَكَ فِيهَا‏.‏

وَأَتَى الأَقْرَعَ، فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: شَعَرٌ حَسَنٌ وَيَذْهَبُ عَنِّي هَذَا، قَدْ قَذِرَنِي النَّاسُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ فَذَهَبَ، وَأُعْطِيَ شَعَرًا حَسَنًا‏.‏ قَالَ: فَأَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الْبَقَرُ‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَعْطَاهُ بَقَرَةً حَامِلاً، وَقَالَ: يُبَارَكُ لَكَ فِيهَا‏.‏

وَأَتَى الأَعْمَى، فَقَالَ: أَىُّ شَىْءٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: يَرُدُّ اللَّهُ إِلَىَّ بَصَرِي، فَأُبْصِرُ بِهِ النَّاسَ‏.‏ قَالَ فَمَسَحَهُ، فَرَدَّ اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ بَصَرَهُ‏.‏ قَالَ: فَأَىُّ الْمَالِ أَحَبُّ إِلَيْكَ؟ قَالَ: الْغَنَمُ‏.‏ فَأَعْطَاهُ شَاةً وَالِدًا.   فَأُنْتِجَ هَذَانِ، وَوَلَّدَ هَذَا، فَكَانَ لِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنْ إِبِلٍ، وَلِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنْ بَقَرٍ، وَلِهَذَا وَادٍ مِنَ الْغَنَمِ‏.‏

ثُمَّ إِنَّهُ أَتَى الأَبْرَصَ فِي صُورَتِهِ وَهَيْئَتِهِ، فَقَالَ: رَجُلٌ مِسْكِينٌ، تَقَطَّعَتْ بِيَ الْحِبَالُ فِي سَفَرِي، فَلاَ بَلاَغَ الْيَوْمَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ ثُمَّ بِكَ، أَسْأَلُكَ بِالَّذِي أَعْطَاكَ اللَّوْنَ الْحَسَنَ وَالْجِلْدَ الْحَسَنَ وَالْمَالَ بَعِيرًا أَتَبَلَّغُ عَلَيْهِ فِي سَفَرِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُ: إِنَّ الْحُقُوقَ كَثِيرَةٌ‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُ: كَأَنِّي أَعْرِفُكَ، أَلَمْ تَكُنْ أَبْرَصَ يَقْذَرُكَ النَّاسُ فَقِيرًا فَأَعْطَاكَ اللَّهُ؟ فَقَالَ: لَقَدْ وَرِثْتُ لِكَابِرٍ عَنْ كَابِرٍ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: إِنْ كُنْتَ كَاذِبًا فَصَيَّرَكَ اللَّهُ إِلَى مَا كُنْتَ. ـ

وَأَتَى الأَقْرَعَ فِي صُورَتِهِ وَهَيْئَتِهِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ مِثْلَ مَا قَالَ لِهَذَا، فَرَدَّ عَلَيْهِ مِثْلَ مَا رَدَّ عَلَيْهِ هَذَا، فَقَالَ: إِنْ كُنْتَ كَاذِبًا فَصَيَّرَكَ اللَّهُ إِلَى مَا كُنْتَ‏.ـ

‏ وَأَتَى الأَعْمَى فِي صُورَتِهِ، فَقَالَ: رَجُلٌ مِسْكِينٌ وَابْنُ سَبِيلٍ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِيَ الْحِبَالُ فِي سَفَرِي، فَلاَ بَلاَغَ الْيَوْمَ إِلاَّ بِاللَّهِ، ثُمَّ بِكَ أَسْأَلُكَ بِالَّذِي رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ بَصَرَكَ شَاةً أَتَبَلَّغُ بِهَا فِي سَفَرِي‏.‏ فَقَالَ: قَدْ كُنْتُ أَعْمَى فَرَدَّ اللَّهُ بَصَرِي، وَفَقِيرًا فَقَدْ أَغْنَانِي، فَخُذْ مَا شِئْتَ، فَوَاللَّهِ لاَ أَجْهَدُكَ الْيَوْمَ بِشَىْءٍ أَخَذْتَهُ لِلَّهِ‏.‏ فَقَالَ: أَمْسِكْ مَالَكَ، فَإِنَّمَا ابْتُلِيتُمْ، فَقَدْ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْكَ وَسَخِطَ عَلَى صَاحِبَيْكَ». رواه البخاري ومسلم.ـ

True Story:

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that he heard Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- say:

There were three men among the Children of Israel, one leper, one bald and one blind.  God wanted to test them.  He therefore, sent to them an angel.

The angel came to the leper and asked him: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He replied: ‘Good color and fine skin, for people have a strong aversion to me.’  The angel wiped him and his illness was cured, and he was given a good color and beautiful skin.  The angel asked him: ‘What kind of property do you like best?’  He replied: ‘Camels (or cows -The narrator was in doubt, for either the leper or the bald-headed man demanded camels and the other demanded cows).’  So the leper was given a pregnant she-camel, and the angel said to him: ‘May God bless you in it.’

The angel then went to the bald-headed man and said: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He said: ‘I like good hair and wish to be cured of this disease, for people have a strong aversion to me.’  The angel wiped him and his illness was cured, and he was given good hair.  The angel asked him: “What kind of property do you like best?’ He replied: ‘Cows.’  The angel gave him a pregnant cow and said: ‘May God bless you in it.’

The angel then went to the blind man and asked: ‘What thing do you like most?’  He said: ‘I like that God may restore my eyesight so that I may see people.’  The angel wiped him and God restored to him eyesight.  The angel asked him: ‘What kind of property do you like best?’  He replied: ‘Sheep.’  The angel gave him a pregnant sheep.

Afterwards, all the three pregnant animals gave birth to young ones, and multiplied and brought forth so much that the first man had a valley full of camels, the second man had a valley full of cows, and the third man had a valley full of sheep.

 

Then the angel, disguised in the shape and appearance of a leper, went to the leper and said: ‘I am a poor man, who has lost all means of livelihood while on a journey. So none will satisfy my need except God and then you. In the Name of Him Who has given you such nice color, beautiful skin and so much property, I ask you to give me a camel so that I may reach my destination.’  The man replied: ‘I have many obligations (so I cannot give you).’  The angel said: ‘I think I know you; were you not a leper to whom people had a strong aversion? Were you not a poor man, and then God gave you (all of this property)?’  He replied: ‘I rather inherited this property from my forefathers.’  The angel said: ‘If you are telling a lie, then may God return you to your former condition.’

The angel then, disguised in the shape and appearance of a bald man, went to the bald man and said to him the same as he told the first one, and the bald-headed man answered the same as the first one did. The angel said: ‘If you are telling a lie, then may God return you to your former condition.’

Then the angel, disguised in the shape of a blind man, went to the blind man and said: ‘I am a poor man and a traveler, who has lost all means of livelihood while on a journey.  I have nobody to help me except God, and after Him you.  I ask you in the Name of Him Who has given you back your eyesight to give me a sheep, so that I may reach my destination.’  The man said: ‘No doubt, I was blind and God gave me back my eyesight; I was poor and God made me rich, so take anything you wish from my property.  By God, I will not stop you from taking anything (you need) of my property which you may take for God’s sake.’  

The angel replied: ‘Keep your property, for the three of you have been tested, so God is pleased with you but displeased with your two companions.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Thus, the first two men, the leper and the bald, not only denied God’s favor and attributed it to their own, but also refused to share their wealth with the poor and needy.  The result was that God was displeased with them, and they were punished, so they lost all of those blessings and were returned to their former condition of sickness and poverty.

But the third and blind man, admitted God’s favor on him and truly thanked God for the blessing by sharing it with the poor.  Not only that, but he generously offered the poor man to take as much as he wanted.  The result was that he attained God’s pleasure so that his blessing was continued, and he was blessed in it.


 

 

   قال الله عز وجل: { الَّذِينَ يَبْخَلُونَ وَيَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبُخْلِ وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا} سورة النساء 37. ـ

             God -the Exalted- says: { Those who are stingy and encourage people to be stingy, and hide what God has bestowed upon them of His bounties. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment} (Surah 4, verse 37).

  قال ابن كثير في تفسيره: ( يقول تعالى ذامًّا الذين يبخلون بأموالهم أن ينفقوها فيما أمرهم الله به -من بر الوالدين، والإحسان إلى الأقارب واليتامى والمساكين، والجار ذي القربى، والجار الجُنُب، والصاحب بالجنب، وابن السبيل، وما ملكت أيمانكم من الأرقاء- ولا يدفعون حق الله فيها، ويأمرون الناس بالبخل أيضا. وقد قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “وأي داء أَدْوَأ من البخل؟”. وقال: “إياكم والشّحَ، فإنه أهلك من كان قبلكم، أمرهم بالقطيعةِ فقطعوا، وأمرهم بالفجور فَفَجَرُوا”. رواه أبو داود. ـ

وقوله { وَيَكْتُمُونَ مَا آتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ}: فالبخيل جَحُود لنعمة الله عليه لا تظهر عليه ولا تبين، لا في أكله ولا في ملبسه، ولا في إعطائه وبذله، ولهذا توعَّدهم بقوله {وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُهِينًا}، والكفر هو الستر والتغطية، فالبخيل يستر نعمة الله عليه ويكتمها ويجحدها، فهو كافر لنعم الله عليه). ـ

The Scholar Ibn Katheer said in his Exegesis: “The Almighty God chastises the stingy; those who do not spend their money on what God has obligated upon them, such as spending on the parents, the relatives, the orphans, the poor, the relative who is also a neighbor, the companion during travel, the needy wayfarer, and the slaves and servants. These stingy people do not give God’s share of their wealth; moreover, they ask others to be stingy as well.

Therefore, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “What illness is more severe than miserliness!

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- also said: “Beware of stinginess for it destroyed those before you; it incited them to sever relations with their relatives so they did so, and it incited them to commit sins and they did so.” (Related by Abu Dawood)

Furthermore, These stingy people, {hide what God has bestowed upon them of His bounties}: So the miser is ungrateful for God’s blessings upon him, and the effects of these blessings do not appear on him, neither in his food, nor clothes, nor in his spending or giving to others.

Therefore, the Almighty God has promised the miserly: {And We have prepared for the disbelievers a disgraceful torment}.  Kufr or disbelief means to conceal something, and the miser conceals God’s favors upon him, covers them and denies them. So the miser is ungrateful for the blessings that God has favored him with.” End quote.

———————-

 

              The Almighty God has dispraised the miserly and the stingy; those who are tight-fisted and do not share their wealth with their relatives, the poor and needy.  Indeed, that wealth is only a blessing of God upon them, and a favor that can be taken away any moment.

        The believers are urged to recognize God’s blessings upon them and be thankful to God for them.  Being thankful includes two things: First, thanking God for His blessings and recognizing His favor; and second sharing that wealth with the relatives, the poor and needy. 

     God has obligated giving away a portion of one’s wealth and money to the poor and needy.  Whoever withholds that portion and keeps it to himself, then he is described as stingy.  Such a person is promised severe consequences both in this life with decrease or loss of his wealth and in the Hereafter with severe torment.

Thus, giving to the poor and needy is an obligation, not an option.  Giving to the needy and poor is a shield that protects one’s wealth and ensures its continuity.  Sharing wealth with the relatives, the poor and needy brings about stability and more blessings.  Withholding the poor’s share of the wealth, on the other hand, brings about doom, adversity and calamity.

Indeed, as the following Hadith shows, withholding the poor’s share can result in the loss of the blessings:

عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما قال: قالَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « إنَّ للهِ أَقْوَاماً اخْتَصَّهُمْ بِالنِّعَمِ لِمَنَافِعِ العِبَادِ، يُقِرُّهُمْ فِيها ما بَذَلُوها، فَإذَا مَنَعُوها نَزَعَها مِنْهُم فَحَوَّلَها إلَى غَيْرِهِمْ» .  رواه ابن أبي الدنيا والطبراني. ـ

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Omar -may Allah be pleased with them- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him said:

There are for God groups of people whom He favors with blessings for people’s needs. He establishes these blessings with them as long as they fulfill people’s needs. However if they withheld them from people, then He removes these blessings away from them, and gives them to other people (who would do so).”  Related by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya and Al-Tabarani with Sahih or authentic narration.


 

             Then, the believer should always recognize and admit God’s favors on him and attribute those blessings to their real giver, God.  The believer should thank God for these blessings.  And second, the believer should pay the poor’s due of his wealth by sharing it with the poor and needy.  Thanking God for the blessing and sharing it with the poor and needy result in God’s pleasure and ensure its continuity and increase.  On the other hand, denying the favor of God, attributing the blessing to one’s own effort and fortune, and withholding it and being stingy with it result in God’s displeasure and may lead to decrease and loss.   The above true story is a proof of that.  And God knows best.

 

 

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