‘Abdullah, the nephew of Muslim bin Sa’d (rahimahullah), narrates the following incident:
I once intended to perform hajj. On learning of my intention, my mother’s brother, Muslim (rahimahullah), handed me ten thousand dirhams (silver coins) and said, “Seek the poorest household from the people of Madeenah Munawwarah and give these dirhams to them.”
When I entered Madeenah Munawwarah, I asked the people to show me the poorest household among them. They directed me to a certain home which I then proceeded to. On reaching the home, I knocked on the door and it was answered by a woman who asked me who I was. I replied, “I am a man from Baghdad who has been entrusted with ten thousand dirhams and instructed to give them to the poorest household from the people of Madeenah Munawwarah. Please take this wealth, as your household has been described as the poorest household in Madeenah Munawwarah.”
The woman replied, “O ‘Abdullah! The person who entrusted you with this wealth specified that you should give it to the poorest household. The household that is next to us is more in need than we are.”
I thus left the first home and made my way to the second home. On arriving at the door, I knocked, and my knock was soon answered by a woman. I informed her of the wealth that had been entrusted to me and similarly told her of the condition that the owner of the wealth had stipulated. When I had explained my errand to her, the woman said, “O ‘Abdullah! We and our neighbours are equal in poverty. Thus, divide the wealth between us equally.”
(Sifatus Safwah vol. 1, pg. 411)
1. Although the first household was in a state of great need and want, as they were one of the two poorest homes in Madeenah Munawwarah, they valued honesty to the extent that they were prepared to forego the wealth rather than acquire it in exchange of their honesty.
2. The second household could have taken all the wealth for themselves and appeased their conscience by thinking, “We are technically the ‘poorest household’ (as there were two poorest households in this situation).” However, they were also unwilling to sell their honesty.
3. Both households displayed a remarkable quality – the quality of wishing well for others. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has explained that wishing well for others and hoping for their progress and success is an integral part of imaan.
4. The pious people of the past would endeavor to spend on the poor people of Madeenah Munawwarah, as these are the neighbours of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, when travelling for ‘umrah or hajj, just as money is allocated for our various expenses, we should also set aside a portion of our wealth (whatever amount we can manage) for spending on the people of Madeenah Munawwarah.