Generosity of Prophet Muhammad

(Keywords: The Prophet’s Generosity, Kindness and Compassion, Muhammad’s Generosity, Muhammad’s Kindness and Compassion, Generosity in Islam, Kindness and Compassion in Islam, Prophet Muhammad’s Morals, Reward of Generosity)

 

   قال الله عز وجل: { وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَى * أَلَمْ يَجِدْكَ يَتِيمًا فَآَوَى * وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَى * وَوَجَدَكَ عَائِلًا فَأَغْنَى * فَأَمَّا الْيَتِيمَ فَلَا تَقْهَرْ * وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلَا تَنْهَرْ * وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ} سورة الضحى 5-11. ـ

    God -the Exalted- says: { And verily your Lord will give you, and you shall be satisfied.

  1. Did He not find you (O Muhammad) an orphan and gave you refuge?
  2. And He found you lost and guided you;
  3. And He found you poor and made you self-sufficient.
  4. Then as for the orphan, do not oppress him;
  5. And as for the beggar, do not repulse him;
  6. And as for the favor of your Lord, proclaim it} (Surah 93, verses 5-11).

     قال الله عز وجل: { وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيم} سورة القلم 4. ـ

     Allah -the Exalted- says: {And Verily, you (O, Muhammad) are of a high moral character} (Surah 68, verse 4).

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             Almighty God enumerates to His Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, His many blessings on him.  God reminds him that it was God Who moved Prophet Muhammad from the state of insecurity to the state of security, from the state of no parents to the state of kin’s support, from the state of no shelter to the state of shelter and home, from the state of lack of knowledge to the state of guidance, from the state of a righteous slave to the state of a Prophet and Messenger of God, from the state of lack of wealth to the state of self-sufficiency, and from the state of persecution and fear to the state of rule, stability and security.

Then God instructs His Prophet and Messenger to recognize these blessings, appreciate them, and reciprocate them with other people.  God instructs His Prophet to treat the orphan and weak with kindness and compassion, to treat the poor and needy with support and generosity, and to admit and report God’s favors upon him.

In the second verse, Almighty God describes the high Moral code of Prophet Muhammad, and how Prophet Muhammad had the best moral characteristics.  A praise from God is a praise indeed.

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                  There is a difference between having knowledge of something, and really experiencing it.  When we read the biography of Prophet Muhammad, we find that he experienced the hardships of losing his parents at a young age, he experienced the hardship of lack of food until he tied a stone over his stomach, of lack of sufficient knowledge to deal with his people’s lawlessness and worship of idols, and later the hardship of persecution and aggression toward the Divine Message God sent him with.  All of that created in the Prophet a great sense of compassion and kindness that distinguished him among all men.  Not only that, but that same great degree of mercy, kindness and great moral character endeared him to his friends and foes alike so that they became loyal followers and adherent disciples.

     Here is a very brief account of Prophet Muhammad’s early life and some of the hardships he experienced.

       Prophet Muhammad’s parents, Abdullah and Aminah, used to live in Makkah.  Both belonged to the noblest families of the tribe of Qureish.  Prophet Muhammad’s father was the youngest son of Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham who was one of the most honorable chiefs of the tribe of Qureish. 

Abdul-Muttalib, Muhammad’s grandfather, was distinguished with both noble lineage and high social status.  As for his noble lineage, Abdul-Muttalib was a direct descendant of Prophet Ismael son of Prophet Abraham.  And as for his high social status, it was due in part to his re-discovery of the Well of Zamzam near the ka’bah in Makkah. 

When Prophet Abraham left Hajar and baby Ismael in the deserted valley of Makkah, they ran out of water.  So Hajar went looking for water, running seven times back and forth between the two hills of Safa and Marwa.  Baby Ismael cried for water and hit the ground with his feet.  God sent an angel and water sprang forth from that same spot baby Ismael hit the ground.  When Hajar came back and saw the water flowing from that spot, she surrounded it with stones, so it became a well.  Soon an Arab tribe joined her and started living in the valley, as mentioned in the following authentic hadith:

     عن ابْنٍ عَبَّاسٍ رضى الله عنهما قَالَ: قال النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «‏ يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ أُمَّ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، لَوْ تَرَكَتْ زَمْزَمَ ـ أَوْ قَالَ لَوْ لَمْ تَغْرِفْ مِنَ الْمَاءِ ـ لَكَانَتْ عَيْنًا مَعِينًا، وَأَقْبَلَ جُرْهُمُ فَقَالُوا: أَتَأْذَنِينَ أَنْ نَنْزِلَ عِنْدَكِ؟ قَالَتْ: نَعَمْ وَلاَ حَقَّ لَكُمْ فِي الْمَاءِ‏،‏ قَالُوا: نَعَمْ»‏‏.‏  رواه البخاري. ـ

Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

May God have mercy on the mother of Ishmael!  If she had left the water of Zamzam (fountain) as it was, (without constructing a basin for keeping the water), (or said, “If she had not taken handfuls of its water”), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an Arab tribe) came and asked her: ‘May we settle at your dwelling?’ She said: ‘Yes, but you have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

      The opening of the Well of Zamzam was obliterated with time, though the water remained intact within.  Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham, Muhammad’s grandfather, saw the location of the well in a dream.  When he woke up he re-dug it, thus gaining the privilege of providing water to people and pilgrims, and attaining social recognition.

Prophet Muhammad’s mother was Aminah daughter of Wahb Ibn Abdi Munaf.  Aminah’s father was the chief of Bani Zahrah, a clan of Qureish.  Thus, Aminah too enjoyed a noble lineage and high social status.

When the Prophet’s mother, Aminah, became pregnant with him she saw in a dream as if a light came out of her and illuminated the palaces of Al-Sham (the Levant).  Aminah told her father-in-law Abdul-Muttalib about the dream, and he concluded that his grandson was going to be someone of importance.

Aminah’s husband, Abdullah went on a business journey to Al-Sham (now Syria), but became sick on the way back and died near Al-Medinah before his son’s birth.  Abdullah Ibn Abdil-Muttalib was around 25 when he died.  When Muhammad was born, his mother and his grandfather took care of him.

   When Muhammad was near six years old, his mother Aminah took him to visit his uncles in Al-Medinah.  She took his nanny Umm Ayman with her.  On the way back, Aminah died near Al-Medinah; she was around 20 years old.  Thus, Muhammad became an orphan at age six, having lost his father before birth and his mother at six.  Muhammad’s nanny Umm Ayman then took him back to Makkah to his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib Ibn Hisham.

Since Abdullah was his youngest and most beloved son, Abdul-Muttalib took great care of his grandson and would allow him to sit with him when no one else was allowed close.  But Abdul-Muttalib died when Muhammad was eight years old.  Just before his death, Abdul-Muttalib asked his son Abu Talib and Muhammad’s uncle to take care of him.

Abu Talib had six children and wasn’t wealthy, but he gave a great example of altruism in taking care of his nephew, Muhammad.  First, Abu Talib used to take special care of young Muhammad until he grew up.  And second Abu Talib always supported Muhammad and protected him when Qureish tried to stop his message and did everything in its power to harm him and his followers, even though he didn’t embrace Islam.

When Prophet Muhammad was around twenty-four years old, Khadeejah Ibn Khuwailid, a rich lady from Qureish who enjoyed both high lineage and social status, heard of Muhammad’s honesty and integrity and decided to send him to Al-Sham on a business journey.  Khadeejah, who was around forty, sent with him her male servant, Mayserah.  They came back with double the profit, and Khadeejah who was a much sought-after rich lady was impressed with him. Her servant Mayserah confirmed her conviction by describing the high noble character of Muhammad.  She then sent to him asking what he thought of marriage, to which Muhammad agreed and both were married.

Muhammd and Khadeejah had six children, 3 sons and 3 daughters (Al-Qasim, Al-Tahir, Al-Tayyeb, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom, and Fatimah).  The three sons died at a young age, and all daughters died in their twenties during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, except for Fatimah who died six months after his death.  Khadeejah proved to be the perfect ideal wife, providing moral, emotional, and financial support.  She always stood with her husband, even when his people later opposed and persecuted him.

When Muhammad was forty years old, he saw Angel Gabriel in his original form, filling the horizon with his 600 wings for the first time.  Muhammad was overcome with dread and rushed home asking his wife to wrap him in warm clothes.  After he calmed down, she asked him what happened.  When he told her about the angel, she took him to her cousin, Waraqah Ibn Nofal who had knowledge of the Scriptures. Waraqah Ibn Nofal asked Muhammad to describe what he saw, and when he did, Waraqah told them that was the same angel that came to Prophet Moses, and that Muhammad was the promised next and last Prophet.  Once Khadeejah realized the truth of the Divine message that came to Prophet Muhammad, she was the first one of this nation to embrace Islam after her husband, and the first to encourage and support her husband.

After Prophet Muhammad started receiving the Divine Message from God through Angel Gabriel, the Prophet was instructed to spread the message of Islam among people.  The tribe of Qureish were pagans and used to worship idols of stones, wood and trees that they carved and named.  So when Prophet Muhammad called them to worship One God, they rejected his call.  But little by little, many tribesmen and women started embracing Islam recognizing its true message, and rejected worshipping idols.

But the pagan chiefs of Qureish started a campaign against the Muslims and started persecuting anyone who accepted Islam.  They harmed the Prophet and his followers with every means and at every opportunity.  Finally, they boycotted the Muslims and banned selling or distributing any food to them.  The boycott lasted for three years, and the Muslims didn’t have any food to eat so they started eating tree leaves and grass to stay alive.  At the end of the three years, the boycott was ended, but Abu Talib became sick and died.  Soon after, Khadeejah died too.  Three years later, Prophet Muhammad migrated to Al-Medinah where he enjoyed some level of security and self-sufficiency.

Then God reminds Prophet Muhammad of His favor upon him when He moved him from a state of insecurity to a state of security, from a state of lack of wealth and food to a state of self-sufficiency, and from a state of lack of knowledge to a state of guidance and prophet-hood.

Thus, after learning from these hard experiences, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- was the best of people in moral character, as stated by his followers and foes.  Prophet Muhammad was the most generous of people, the kindest, the most merciful, the most compassionate, the most forbearing, and the most patient of people.

Here are some instances that show Prophet Muhammad’s Generosity:

1)

 ‏    عَن ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رضي اللَّه عنهما ‏قَالَ: ( كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدَ النَّاسِ، وَكَانَ أَجْوَدُ مَا يَكُونُ فِي رَمَضَانَ حِينَ يَلْقَاهُ ‏جِبْرِيلُ، وَكَانَ يَلْقَاهُ فِي كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْ رَمَضَانَ فَيُدَارِسُهُ الْقُرْآنَ، فَلَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَجْوَدُ بِالْخَيْرِ مِنْ الرِّيحِ الْمُرْسَلَةِ). ‏رواه البخاري.  ‏

Narrated Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with them- said:Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- was the most generous of all people.  And he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Angel Gabriel met him. Angel Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Qur’an with him.  The Messenger of God then used to be more generous than the fast wind.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

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 2)

    عن أَنسٍ رضي اللَّه عنه قال: ( ما سُئِلَ رسُولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عَلَى الإِسْلامِ شَيئاً إِلا أَعْطاه، وَلَقَدَ جَاءَه رَجُلٌ فَأَعطَاه غَنَماً بَينَ جَبَلَينِ، فَرَجَعَ إِلى قَومِهِ فَقَالَ: يَا قَوْمِ أَسْلِمُوا فَإِنَّ محمَّداً يُعْطِي عَطَاءَ مَنْ لا يَخْشَى الفَقْرَ.  وَإِنْ كَانَ الرَّجُلُ لَيُسْلِمُ مَا يُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الدُّنْيَا، فَمَا يَلْبَثُ إِلاَّ يَسِيراً حَتَّى يَكُونَ الإِسْلامُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيه منَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا) .  رواه مسلم. ـ

   Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, never withheld anything he was asked for the sake of Islam.

And there came to him a man, so Prophet Muhammad gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) spread between two mountains.  The man went back to his people and said: ‘O My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of want.’  Indeed, the man would embrace Islam for the sake of worldly possession, but soon afterwards Islam would become dearer to him than the world and everything on it.”  Related by Imam Muslim.

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 3)

  عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه قَالَ: ( دَخَلْتُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَوَجَدَ لَبَنًا فِي قَدَحٍ فَقَالَ: «‏‏ أَبَا هِرٍّ، الْحَقْ أَهْلَ الصُّفَّةِ فَادْعُهُمْ إِلَىَّ‏»، قَالَ فَأَتَيْتُهُمْ فَدَعَوْتُهُمْ، فَأَقْبَلُوا فَاسْتَأْذَنُوا فَأُذِنَ لَهُمْ، فَدَخَلُوا‏).  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

   Narrated Abu Huraira -may God be pleased with him- said:I entered (the house) along with Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him. There he found milk in a basin. He said: ‘O Abu Hirr, go and call the people of Suffa to me.’  I went to them and invited them. They came and asked permission to enter, and when it was given, they entered.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

Thus,  as soon as the Prophet found any food and drink, he would share it with the poor and needy.  He would share even the little he had with the poor, and God would bless it and make it enough for all.

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 4)

       وعن سهل بن سعد رضي الله عنه: ( أن امرأة جاءت إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ببردة منسوجة فقالت‏:‏ نسجتها لأكسوكها، فأخذها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم محتاجاً إليها، فخرج إلينا وإنها إزاره، فقال فلان: اكسونيها ما أحسنها‏!‏ فقال‏:‏ «‏ نعم»، فجلس النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فى المجلس ثم رجع فطواها ثم أرسل به إليه‏، فقال له القوم‏:‏ ما أحسنتَ‏، لبسها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم محتاجاً إليها ثم سألته وعلمت أنه لا يرد سائلاً، فقال‏:‏ إنى والله ما سألته لألبسها وإنما سألته لتكون كفني، قال سهل‏:‏ فكانت كفنه)‏.‏  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

 Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d -May God be pleased with him- said: “A woman brought a woven piece of cloth to the Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, and said to him: ‘I have woven this sheet with my own hands for you to wear.’  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- accepted it as he was in need of it.  He later came out wearing it as a lower garment. Someone said: ‘How nice it is! Kindly give it to me.’ The Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him-said: ‘Very well.’  He remained in our company for some time, then he went back, folded it and sent it to the man.

The people said (to that man): ‘You did not do well. Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- wore it and he was in need of it, and you asked him for it when you are well aware that he never refuses a request.”  The man said: ‘I swear by God that I did not ask it for wearing, but I asked him for it so that it might be my shroud after my death.’  Sahl (the narrator of this Hadith) said: And in fact it was used as his shroud.”  Related by Al-Bukhari.
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 5)

 عَنْ أَنَسٍ رضى الله عنه قَالَ: ( أُتِيَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِمَالٍ مِنَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ فَقَالَ: «‏‏ انْثُرُوهُ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ»،‏ وَكَانَ أَكْثَرَ مَالٍ أُتِيَ بِهِ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم، فَخَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ، وَلَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ إِلَيْهِ، فَلَمَّا قَضَى الصَّلاَةَ جَاءَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَيْهِ، فَمَا كَانَ يَرَى أَحَدًا إِلاَّ أَعْطَاهُ. ـ

فَمَا قَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَثَمَّ مِنْهَا دِرْهَمٌ)‏.  ‏رواه البخاري. ـ

          Narrated Anas -may God be pleased with him- said: “Some goods came to the Messenger of God, Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, from Bahrain.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- ordered the people to spread them in the mosque, and it was the biggest amount of goods the Messenger of God had ever received.  Prophet Muhammad left for prayer and did not even look at it. After finishing the prayer, he sat by those goods and gave from those to everybody he saw.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- did not get up till the last coin was distributed.” Related by Al-Bukhari.

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 6)

     ذكر علي بن برهان الدين الحلبي في سيرته عن غزوة حنين: ( وعند وصوله – صلى الله عليه وسلم- إلى الجعرانة أحصي السبي فكان ستة آلاف رأس، والإبل أربعة وعشرين ألفا، والغنم أكثر من أربعين ألفا، وأربعة آلاف أوقية فضة. ـ

فأعطى للمؤلفة، أي من أسلم من أهل مكة، فكان أولهم أبا سفيان بن حرب رضي الله عنه أعطاه أربعين أوقية ومائة من الإبل، وقال: ابني يزيد، ويقال له يزيد الخير فأعطاه كذلك، وقال: ابني معاوية فأعطاه كذلك، فأخذ أبو سفيان رضي الله عنه ثلاثمائة من الإبل ومائة وعشرين أوقية من الفضة. وقال: بأبي أنا وأمي يا رسول الله، لأنت كريم في الحرب وفي السلم، أي وفي لفظ: لقد حاربتك فنعم المحارب كنت، وقد سالمتك فنعم المسالم أنت، هذا غاية الكرم جزاك الله خيرا. ـ

وأعطى حكيم بن حزام رضي الله عنه مائة من الإبل ثم سأله مائة أخرى، فأعطاه إياها، أي وفي الامتاع: وسأله حكيم بن حزام مائة من الإبل فأعطاه، ثم سأله مائة فأعطاه ثم سأله مائة فأعطاه، وقال له: «يا حكيم هذا المال خضر حلو من أخذه بسخاوة نفس بورك له فيه، ومن أخذه باشراف نفس لم يبارك له فيه، وكان كالذي يأكل ولا يشبع، واليد العليا خير من اليد السفلى» فأخذ حكيم المائة الأولى وترك ما عداها، أي وقال: يا رسول الله والذي بعثك بالحق نبيا لا أرزأ أحد بعدك شيئا حتى أفارق الدنيا.  وأعطى الأقرع بن حابس مائة من الإبل. وأعطى عيينة مثله). السيرة الحلبية. ـ

           Ali Ibn Burhanuddin Al-Halabi describes the Battle of Hunayn in his book:When Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- reached a place called Al-Ju’ranah (after the battle), the war booty was counted and it consisted of 6000 captives, 24,000 camels, more than 40,000 sheep and 4000 ounces of silver.

Prophet Muhammad distributed his share among the new Muslims of Makkah.  The first one to receive his gift was Abu Sufyan Ibn Herb, the leader of the tribe of Qureish; Prophet Muhammad gave him 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  Abu Sufyan said: ‘What about my son, Yazeed (also called Yazeed Al-Kheir)?’  So Prophet Muhammad gave him another 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  Abu Sufyan again asked: ‘What about my youngest son, Mu’awiyah?’  So Prophet Muhammad gave him another 40 ounces of silver and 100 camels.  In total, Abu Sufyan was given 300 camels and 120 ounces of silver.  On receiving that gift, Abu Sufyan exclaimed: ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you, O Messenger of God!  Indeed, you have been generous both during war and peace.’ 

And in another narration, Abu Sufyan said: ‘Indeed, I have fought you and found you a noble warrior, and I have made peace with you and found you a noble peacemaker. This is indeed the utmost of generosity, may God reward you.’

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then gave Hakeem Ibn Hizam 100 camels.  Hakeem asked for more, so the Prophet added another 100 camels.

And it is related in the book of Al-Imta’ that Hakeem Ibn Hizam asked Prophet Muhammad for 100 camels, so the Prophet gave it to him.  Hakeem asked him for another 100 camels, so the Prophet gave it him.  Then Hakeem asked him for a third 100 camels, and the Prophet gave it to him and then said: ‘O Hakeem, this wealth is pleasant and sweet. Whoever takes it without being greedy, he will be blessed in it; but whoever takes it with avarice and greed, he will not be blessed in it. Then he is like one who goes on eating but his hunger is not satisfied. And the upper hand is better than the lower hand.’  So Hakeem only took the first 100 camels and left the rest, and said: ‘O Messenger of God, by the One Who sent you with the Truth (God), I shall never accept anything from anybody after you till I leave this world.’ [Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- then gave Al-Aqra’ Ibn Habis 100 camels, and gave ‘Uyeinah Ibn Husein another 100 camels.”  Thus related in the book Al-Seerah Al-Halabiyah.

 

 After the Conquest of Makkah, the pagans of the city of Ta’if (the tribes of Hawazin, Thaqeef, Banu Sa’d and Banu Jashm) decided to attack the Muslims in Makkah.  They appointed the chief of the tribe of Hawazin, Malik Ibn Awf, as their leader.  Prophet Muhammad heard about their advancing troops and left the city of Makkah to meet them. The two armies met at the Valley of Hunayn (south east of Makkah) and engaged in a fierce battle.  The Muslims were ambushed at first and met with an onslaught of arrows and stones, which made many run for their lives.  But the Prophet stood firm and little by little, people gathered around him and finally the Muslims were victorious.

The leader of the opposition, Malik Ibn Awf, had ordered his people to bring all their cattle and family members to the battlefield as a boost to their morale.  But when they were defeated, the Muslims captured all of that as war booty.  By the end of the battle, the Muslims had captured 6000 captives, 24,000 camels, 40,000 sheep and 4000 ounces of silver.  One fifth of that belonged to the Prophet, and the rest was to be distributed on those who participated.

The generosity of Prophet Muhammad appears in the fact that he gave away all of his share and kept nothing to himself.  His share was hundreds of cattle heads, and had he cared for worldly possessions and wealth he would have kept some of the war booty.  But Prophet Muhammad generously distributed all of his own share among the new Muslims and gave freely until they accepted Islam sincerely, marveling at his unique generosity.  As one leader of Qureish put it, that kind of generosity only indicated a true Prophet of God:

    روى الواقدي في مغازيه: ( ويقال إن صفوان طاف مع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يتصفح الغنائم إذ مر بشعب مما أفاء الله عليه، وفيه غنم وإبل ورعاؤها مملوء فأعجب صفوان، وجعل ينظر إليه فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: أعجبك يا أبا وهب هذا الشعب؟ قال: نعم، قال: هو لك وما فيه. فقال صفوان: أشهد ما طابت بهذا نفس أحد قط إلا نبي وأشهد أنك رسول الله). ـ

         Al-Waqidi mentioned in the Book of Battles: “It is related that Safwan Ibn Umayyah accompanied Prophet Muhammad while he was inspecting the war booty.  They came across a mountain pass, that was in the Prophet’s share, filled with camels and sheep and their shepherds. Safwan stared at it, admiring what he saw.  Prophet Muhammad asked him: ‘Do you like this mountain pass, O Aba Wahb?’  He replied: ‘Yes.’  Prophet Muhammad said: ‘Then it is and whatever in it is yours.’  Safwan said: ‘I bear witness that none whosoever can give this much except a true a prophet, and I bear witness that you are the true Messenger of God.’”

           Not only that, but after the booty was distributed, a group of the tribe of Hawazin embraced Islam and came to ask the Prophet to release the 6000 captives.  A wet nurse from this tribe (Haleemah Al-Sa’diyyah) had nursed Prophet Muhammad when he was young, so the tribe appealed to the Prophet’s compassion and to this foster relationship.  Again, Prophet Muhammad showed his great generosity and compassion and released all 6000 captives.

Finally, the Prophet promised amnesty to the leader of the enemy, Malik Ibn Awf, who had run away and took refuge with the tribe of Thaqeef.  Prophet Muhammad promised him one hundred camels and the return of his family who were captured during the battle.  Malik Ibn Awf embraced Islam and went to the Prophet.  Prophet Muhammad forgave him all, returned his family to him, gave him the hundred camels and re-appointed him leader of his tribe.

 

Thus, these incidents truly depict Prophet Muhammad’s great generosity, kindness and compassion.  These true stories show the highest level of altruism and sacrifice, of generosity and magnanimity where Prophet Muhammad gave preference to other people over himself, even when he was in need.  These episodes show how the Prophet of God was devoid of greed and selfishness, but instead cared about his people and their well-being.  God the Almighty knew that of him and thus praised Prophet Muhammad in Qur’an with the best description:

   قال الله عز وجل: { لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ} التوبة 128. ـ

    God the Exalted says: {Verily, there has come to you a Messenger from among yourselves (Muhammad). It grieves him what you suffer.  He is concerned over you, and to the believers he is kind and merciful} (Surah 9, verse 128).

 

        Then, we should take the Messenger of God as an ideal to emulate, and an example to follow.  Indeed, his morals and manners were of the highest level, and shown equally to all, that both friends and foes were amazed by it.  The Muslim should strive to have a semblance of that morality and should endeavor to treat others with a like attitude and manner.  The Muslim should be distinguished with the highest level of generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, and other morals.  The reward of these acts of generosity and kindness will be tended not only in this world with peace and blessings, but also on the Day of Judgment by the Most Merciful God, and their reward will be the highest levels in Paradise.  And God knows best.

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Effects of Altruism – Real Story

       عن مُجَاهِدٍ، أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، كَانَ يَقُولُ: ( آللَّهِ الَّذِي لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ إِنْ كُنْتُ لأَعْتَمِدُ بِكَبِدِي عَلَى الأَرْضِ مِنَ الْجُوعِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتُ لأَشُدُّ الْحَجَرَ عَلَى بَطْنِي مِنَ الْجُوعِ، وَلَقَدْ قَعَدْتُ يَوْمًا عَلَى طَرِيقِهِمُ الَّذِي يَخْرُجُونَ مِنْهُ، فَمَرَّ أَبُو بَكْرٍ، فَسَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ، مَا سَأَلْتُهُ إِلاَّ لِيُشْبِعَنِي، فَمَرَّ وَلَمْ يَفْعَلْ، ثُمَّ مَرَّ بِي عُمَرُ فَسَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ، مَا سَأَلْتُهُ إِلاَّ لِيُشْبِعَنِي، فَمَرَّ فَلَمْ يَفْعَلْ، ثُمَّ مَرَّ بِي أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَتَبَسَّمَ حِينَ رَآنِي وَعَرَفَ، مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَمَا فِي وَجْهِي ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَبَا هِرٍّ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ الْحَقْ ‏”‏‏.‏ وَمَضَى فَتَبِعْتُهُ، فَدَخَلَ فَاسْتَأْذَنَ، فَأَذِنَ لِي، فَدَخَلَ فَوَجَدَ لَبَنًا فِي قَدَحٍ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ مِنْ أَيْنَ هَذَا اللَّبَنُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا أَهْدَاهُ لَكَ فُلاَنٌ أَوْ فُلاَنَةُ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَبَا هِرٍّ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ الْحَقْ إِلَى أَهْلِ الصُّفَّةِ فَادْعُهُمْ لِي ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ وَأَهْلُ الصُّفَّةِ أَضْيَافُ الإِسْلاَمِ، لاَ يَأْوُونَ إِلَى أَهْلٍ وَلاَ مَالٍ، وَلاَ عَلَى أَحَدٍ، إِذَا أَتَتْهُ صَدَقَةٌ بَعَثَ بِهَا إِلَيْهِمْ، وَلَمْ يَتَنَاوَلْ مِنْهَا شَيْئًا، وَإِذَا أَتَتْهُ هَدِيَّةٌ أَرْسَلَ إِلَيْهِمْ، وَأَصَابَ مِنْهَا وَأَشْرَكَهُمْ فِيهَا، فَسَاءَنِي ذَلِكَ فَقُلْتُ وَمَا هَذَا اللَّبَنُ فِي أَهْلِ الصُّفَّةِ كُنْتُ أَحَقُّ أَنَا أَنْ أُصِيبَ مِنْ هَذَا اللَّبَنِ شَرْبَةً أَتَقَوَّى بِهَا، فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَمَرَنِي فَكُنْتُ أَنَا أُعْطِيهِمْ، وَمَا عَسَى أَنْ يَبْلُغَنِي مِنْ هَذَا اللَّبَنِ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ مِنْ طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ وَطَاعَةِ رَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بُدٌّ، فَأَتَيْتُهُمْ فَدَعَوْتُهُمْ فَأَقْبَلُوا، فَاسْتَأْذَنُوا فَأَذِنَ لَهُمْ، وَأَخَذُوا مَجَالِسَهُمْ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ قَالَ ‏”‏ يَا أَبَا هِرٍّ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ خُذْ فَأَعْطِهِمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَ فَأَخَذْتُ الْقَدَحَ فَجَعَلْتُ أُعْطِيهِ الرَّجُلَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى، ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَىَّ الْقَدَحَ، فَأُعْطِيهِ الرَّجُلَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى، ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَىَّ الْقَدَحَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى، ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَىَّ الْقَدَحَ، حَتَّى انْتَهَيْتُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَقَدْ رَوِيَ الْقَوْمُ كُلُّهُمْ، فَأَخَذَ الْقَدَحَ فَوَضَعَهُ عَلَى يَدِهِ فَنَظَرَ إِلَىَّ فَتَبَسَّمَ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ أَبَا هِرٍّ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ بَقِيتُ أَنَا وَأَنْتَ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ صَدَقْتَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ اقْعُدْ فَاشْرَبْ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَعَدْتُ فَشَرِبْتُ‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ اشْرَبْ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَشَرِبْتُ، فَمَا زَالَ يَقُولُ ‏”‏ اشْرَبْ ‏”‏‏.‏ حَتَّى قُلْتُ لاَ وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ، مَا أَجِدُ لَهُ مَسْلَكًا‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَأَرِنِي ‏”‏‏.‏ فَأَعْطَيْتُهُ الْقَدَحَ فَحَمِدَ اللَّهَ وَسَمَّى، وَشَرِبَ الْفَضْلَةَ)‏. رواه البخاري.

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   Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- said: “By God  except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, sometimes I used to lay (sleep) on the ground on my abdomen because of hunger, and sometimes I used to tie a stone over my belly because of hunger.  One day I sat on the path where the companions used to come out (seeking food).

When Abu-Bakr Al-Siddeeq passed by, I asked him about a verse from God’s Book (Qur’an) and I asked him only that he might invite me and satisfy my hunger, but he answered me and moved on without doing so.  Then Omar Ibn Al-Khattab passed by me and I asked him about a verse from God’ Book, and I asked him only that he might invite me and satisfy my hunger, but he answered me and moved on without doing so.

Finally Abu Al-Qasim (Prophet Muhammad) -prayer and peace be upon him- passed by me and he smiled when he saw me, for he recognized what was in my heart and on my face (of hunger).  He said: ‘O Aba Hirr (Abu Hurairah)!’  I replied: ‘Say your command, O Messenger of God.’  He said to me: ‘Follow me.’  He left and I followed him.  Then he entered the house and asked permission for me to enter and I was admitted.  He found milk in a bowl and asked: ‘From where is this milk?’  They said: ‘It has been presented to you by such-and-such man (or by such and such woman).’ [Prophet Muhammad used to accept the gift, but not the charity which he would distribute].

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘O Aba Hirr!’  I said: ‘Say your command, O Messenger of God.’  He said: ‘Go and call the people of As-Suffa to me.’  The people of As-Suffa were the guests of Islam who had neither families, nor money, nor anybody to depend upon, and whenever an object of charity was brought to the Prophet, he would send it to them and would not take anything from it, and whenever any present was given to him, he used to send some for them and take some of it for himself. The order of the Prophet upset me, and I said to myself: How will this little milk be enough for the people of As- Suffa?, though I am more entitled to drink from that milk in order to strengthen myself, and it was I who used to take the milk to them by the prophet’s order.  And I wondered what will remain of that milk for me [after they finish], but I could not but obey God and His Messenger so I went to the people of As-Suffa and called them.  They came and asked the Prophet’s permission to enter. They were admitted and took their seats in the house.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘O Aba-Hirr!’  I said: ‘Say your command, O Messenger of God.’  He said: ‘Take it and give it to them.’  So I took the bowl (of milk) and started giving it to one man who would drink his fill and return it to me, whereupon I would give it to another man who, in his turn, would drink his fill and return it to me, and I would then offer it to another man who would drink his fill and return it to me.

Finally, after the whole group had drunk their fill, I reached Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- who took the bowl and put it on his hand, looked at me, smiled and said: ‘O Aba Hirr!’  I replied: ‘Say your command, O Messenger of God’  He said: ‘There remain only you and I.’  I said: ‘You have said the truth, O Messenger of God.’  He said: ‘Sit down and drink.’  I sat down and drank. He said: ‘Drink more,’ and I drank. He kept on telling me repeatedly to drink, till I said: ‘No, by God Who sent you with the Truth, I have no space for it [the quantity was doubled by the will of God for His Prophet].’  Then Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘Hand it to me.’  When I gave him the bowl, he praised God, mentioned God’s Name on it and drank the remaining milk.”  Related by Al-Bukhari with authentic narration.

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