Imaam ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) was an extremely comprehensive personality. Together with the various other virtues and excellences that he enjoyed, Allah Ta‘ala also blessed him with abundant wealth and a very generous heart. Such was his generosity that he would spend an annual amount of 100 000 dirhams (silver coins) on the poor. (Al-‘Ibar fi Khabari man Ghabar vol. 1, pg. 217) Many amazing incidents of his generosity have been recorded in the books of history. One such incident is as follows:
Once, a few people interceded to ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) to assist a person to pay his debt of seven hundred dirhams. ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) wrote a letter to his agent instructing, “When you receive this letter of mine and have read it, then give the person who delivered the letter seven thousand dirhams.” When the agent received the letter, he turned to the person who delivered it and asked, “What am I supposed to do for you?” The man replied, “‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) was requested to fulfil my debt of seven hundred dirhams.” The agent remarked, “I have discovered an error in the letter. Remain seated here while I assist you with the amount that you require. In the meantime, I will write to ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) (informing him of his mistake and asking him what should be done).” He thus wrote to ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah), “I received your letter, read it and understood its contents. I then asked the person who delivered it (what he required,) and he replied that he had asked you for seven hundred dirhams. However, (instead of seven hundred dirhams,) the letter stated seven thousand dirhams. If you have made a mistake, then inform me so that I can act accordingly.”
When ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) received this letter, he wrote the following reply, “When you receive this letter of mine, and you have read it and understood it, then give fourteen thousand dirhams to that person.” When the agent received this reply, he wrote back, “If you are going to conduct in this manner (and give so much of wealth to people), you will have to sell your properties (which are a source of income) very quickly and the income will come to an end.” ‘Abdullah bin Mubaarak (rahimahullah) sent the agent the following answer, “If you are my agent then fulfil my instructions (and do not question me). If I am your agent, then switch places with me so that you can tell me what to do. If (you fear that) this wealth is coming to an end, then this life is also coming to an end. So give him as I have told you to.” (Sifatus Safwah vol. 2, pg. 328)
1. When a person’s focus is on the temporary and fleeting nature of this life and the everlasting nature of the Aakhirah, his outlook to the world and its possessions is totally different. He views it to be merely an ocean to cross over to his ultimate destination – the Aakhirah. Hence, he endeavours to do as many righteous actions as possible, since he regards these actions to be the vessels that will transport him to the other side safely.
2. When Allah Ta‘ala blesses a person with additional wealth, he should not use it only for his personal benefit, comfort and luxury. Rather he should understand that it is a trust from Allah Ta‘ala which brings upon him additional duties and responsibilities. Hence, he should assist people in need and alleviate their sufferings to the best of his ability, without fearing poverty. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Spend O Bilaal! And do not fear poverty from the One of the throne (i.e. Allah Ta‘ala). (Shu‘abul Imaan #1283)