The title of this article may seem a bit strange for those who don’t know the story behind it. The title is a quote said by a man who had an incident with Prophet Muhammad -may the peace and blessings of Allah (God) be on him-. I thought to write a simple article sharing that story and a humble comment on it, especially with our non Muslims readers, because there is a lot to learn from such a story about Islam and about the manners of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
It never happened that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was asked anything for the sake of Islam and he did not give that. There came to him a person and he gave him a large flock (of sheep and goats) and he went back to his people and said: My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of want. [Sahih Muslim] (1)
Beginning is Here
This incident mentioned in this hadith happened after the battle of “Hunain” when a man named “Safuan Ibn Umaiah” was present, he was one of the heads of Qurish (the tripe of Makkah) and he was still not a Muslim at that time even after Makkah had come under the Islamic ruling. And after the battle, he was looking into the valley that is filled with cattle and it was such a sight to behold. When the Prophet peace be upon him noticed this, he asked him: (Do you like what you are seeing?) he answered (Yes) and the prophet said: (take it, It is yours) and then he replied in amazement: (Only a prophet could have given this) and he said the Shahadah and went back to his people and said the famous words.
Whole Different View to World
And for those who don’t know, cattle at that place and time was the most valuable possession one could have. To illustrate, you could actually compare it to gold if you want. Prophet Muhammad had a whole valley filled with that. Just imagine the value of that. And then what happened? Someone just liked how it looks? Isn’t that how anyone would feel?
Or at least that is how our secular capitalistic material worldview shaped our minds.
We are all competing over these material benefits and posing it up for others to admire, and whenever we receive such an admiration, we say in ourselves:
“That is mine, I am better than you in that way, I have something valuable,” and we become so proud of it, right?
But what did Prophet Muhammad do?
He simply said: “Oh, you like what you are seeing?? Then go ahead, take it.“
As if it was nothing!
A whole valley filled with cattle which is as valuable as gold if not more, and he is saying “You like it? take it, it’s yours.”
Can you imagine such a thing!
Give Expecting Nothing Materialistic in Return
If you give away anything to someone, he becomes grateful to you, even if it was so little. But prophet Muhammad didn’t even want anything in return, not even gratitude. If the guy was grateful or wasn’t, that would have been the same to him. He just gave it away like that; a valley filled with cattle that is even by our standards today would have been so valuable. He gave it away without a second thought, expecting nothing materialistic in return. Just imagine that!
The value of that, which is by Materialistic or secular measurements is immensely valuable, was in the eyes of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him nothing. There is a great lesson here for all of humanity. For all of those from us who got lost in this materialistic world and the desire to get it, this kind of acts really shakes these materialistic shackles and wakes us up to see other things.
New Aspect in the Story
In Islam, there is a special kind of giving and charity. It is giving for the people still unfamiliar with Islam or recently accepted it. Indeed, the purpose of this isn’t the money itself, but rather “the Hearts.” For those who are still affected by the dark shackles of the materialistic world, it brings them closer to the light of Islam by giving them what they yearn for.
At the same time, it shows them the example of what it means not to be enslaved by it. And the third and most important reason of all, is to show them that there isn’t all there is, that in the hear after there are much more greater incomparable rewards for the good deeds so that giving away like this is dwindled by it. And the prophet set the best example in this in many cases and not just this one.
The Other Man’s Perspective
But imagine how the guy felt when that happened? How did this affect his whole perspective of reality? What happened to him was so shocking that he has forgotten about what he was just given, and was trying to comprehend how did this even happen? How can this man give me all this just like that, without batting an eye, while people may go to war and spill tons of blood just to get something like that?
He must have things more valuable than this. Moreover, he must be truthful in what he is claiming. Consequentially, he must be a true Prophet of Allah, and what Allah has reserved for him is more than this. That is how he can give all of that away like this.
That was the conclusion that the guy had. As a result, he went back to his people saying this profound quote:
O people, Be Muslims, for Muhammad gives away as someone who doesn’t fear poverty.”
He went to him seeking materialistic benefits, and went back with faith in his heart. That is who Muhammad was. And still, if someone reflects upon this incident and a lot more, he will realize that the only way for this to happen, is that this man is telling the truth.
To conclude, I would like to remind you of a few simple facts about the Prophet peace be on him; factors to keep in mind while reflecting on this incident.
Narrated Anas (The one who served the prophet) :
The Prophet (ﷺ) did not eat at a table till he died, and he did not eat a thin nicely baked wheat bread till he died.” [Sahih al-Bukhari] (2)
Narrated `Aisha (the wife of the prophet):
the bedding on which. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) slept was made of leather stuffed with palm fibre.” [Sahih Muslim] (3)
Never did the family of Muhammad (ﷺ) eat to the fill, since their arrival to Al-Madinah, the bread of wheat for three successive nights until his death.” [Riyad as-Salihin] (4)
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died when my house was void of any edible thing except for a small quantity of barley I had on a shelf and from which I kept eating it for a long time. Then when I measured what was left of it, it soon finished.” [Riyad-as-Salihin] (5)
Prophet Muhammad could have gained a lot; yet, he didn’t. Indeed, this incident is just a casual sample from his life. They show how he valued materialistic gains even though he was in dire need of it.
I know that there are a lot of lies and hatred out there, that preachers full of hatred spout to taint the image of this magnificent man. But all I am asking you is to put aside all the prejudice, and to learn about this man’s life for yourself. Just see how he really was.
You will see for yourself why did the man who came to him seeking the materialistic scraps of this world went back with faith and serenity in his heart!
Read, know and choose for yourself.
Be Muslim, For Muhammad gives away as someone who doesn’t fear poverty.
Curios to know more about Islam. you can start [one to one conversation] right now!
(1) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith) from Sahih Muslim.
(2) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith) from Bukhari.
(3) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith) from Sahih Muslim.
(4) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith) from Riyad as-Salihin.
(5) Prophet’s Saying (Hadith) from Riyad as-Salihin.