» His Character » Generosity
Muhammad was by nature a very generous and charitable man. According to Ibn Abbas, God's Messenger was the most generous of all people, especially in the month of Ramadan, when he became more generous. Muhammad never said 'no' to any request from anyone all his life. Once he said that he was only a distributor and a treasurer and God was the bestower of everything. Once a man came to him and saw his herd of goats stretching over a vast area. He requested help and Muhammad gave him the whole herd of goats. He went back to his people and told them to accept Islam for Muhammad was so generous that there was no fear of poverty. Once a man asked him for help when he had nothing to give, so he told the man to borrow on his behalf and he would repay the loan. Umar, who was present, asked Muhammad whether God had not burdened him more than he could bear. The Prophet kept quiet. However, a man was present there who offered to help. Muhammad smiled with great joy at his offer. Once he borrowed half a was-t of cereal for a beggar. When the lender came to ask for his loan he was given one was-t of cereal, half for the loan and half as a gift from the prophet.
Muhammad was generous to such an extent that he always gave something to anyone who asked him for help, but if he had nothing, he promised help later on. Sometimes it so happened that Muhammad purchased an article for himself, then gave it as a gift to the seller. Once he bought a camel from Umar and straightaway gave it as a gift to Abdullah ibn Umar. Once he bought something from Jabir and gave it back to him as a gift.
He used to invited his companions for an ordinary meal. In one battle, there were 130 companions with him. He bought one goat, slaughtered it and ordered its liver to be roasted. When it was ready, he distributed it among all the companions, and kept a share for those who were not present. Whenever he received anything, he did not sit in peace until it was finished. Umm al-Mu'minin Umm Salma reports that one day God's Messenger came home looking disturbed. Umm Salma asked God's Messenger what the matter was. He replied that the seven diners he had received the day before had remained on the bed until evening and had not been distributed. He did not rest until they were given away.
Abu Dhar reported that one evening he was walking with God's Messenger when he said, "Abu Dhar, if the mountain of Uhud were turned into gold for me, I would not like three nights to pass and one diner still be left with me, excepting what I would leave for paying my debts." He would never rest until all the cash in the house was completely finished. Once the Prophet went home in harry after the pray and then immediately came out again. The people were surprised, but he told them that he had remembered during the prayer that there was some gold in his house. He thought that he might forget and the gold might remain there all night. He went back home to ask that it might immediately be given in charity."
When the prophet was resuming after distributing the spoils of the battle of Hunain, some bedouins found out that God's Messenger was coming that way. They came from all sides and clung to the Messenger of God and asked for charity. Embarrassed by the crowd, he stood in the shelter of a tree. They held his cloak and, in their struggle, it came off his body into their hands. The Prophet said, "Give me my cloak; by God! If I had camels equivalent to the trees of this jungle, I would have given them all to you. Then you would not have found me miserly, nor a liar, nor unmanly." He always paid the debts of the dead and issued instructions to the effect that if anyone] dies leaving any debt, he should be informed of it, so that he could pay it off.'
Once he was sitting among his companions when a Bedouin came and pulled a corner of his cloak and said, "Muhammad! This wealth is neither your's nor your father's, give me one camel load." He got his camel loaded with barley and dates. Once large sums of money were received in tribute from Bahrain. Muhammad ordered the money to be spread in the compound of the mosque. After the prayer, he began . to distribute it giving some to every person who came before him. He gave so much to Abbas, who had become so poor after the battle of Badr, that he could not get up and walk. In the same way, he gave to all beyond measure. When nothing was left, he shook off his cloak and got up.'
Muhammad was so generous that no person could ever equal him in generosity. Whatever he received he gave away to other people and felt more pleasure than those who received the gift. He never fumed anyone away empty-handed from his house and always gave preference to the needy over his own needs. His charity was of various kinds; sometimes he gave a gift, sometimes he borrowed something and resumed more or better than his loan; sometimes he bought a thing and paid more than the price to the seller; and sometimes, sometimes donations and sometimes alms. He accepted gifts from other people but always gave more gifts and presents in return for them. He gave gifts and presents to others and told them to do the same. Whenever he met any miserly person he advised him to be more generous and charitable.
Muhammad was generous and taught his followers, by his example to be charitable and generous.
God's Messenger's whole life was a perfect example of generosity and charity towards mankind. He practiced it and asked his followers to practice it in their lives.
Ibn Abbas said that he heard God's Messenger say, "The believer is not the one who eats when his neighbour beside him is hungry," Abu Hurairah reported God's Messenger as saying, "The believer is simple and generous, but the wicked person is deceitful and ignoble." In short, Muhammad was generous and charitable to the extent that he never kept anything surplus for himself, but gave all to those who came to him for help.