The Asr-u Saadah society knew very well that giving charity in the way of Allah, glory unto Him, would shield a person from many dangers and troubles, as well as helping him attain to the love of the Almighty. After all, the Quran had declared:“And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.” (al-Baqara, 195)
Umm Bujayd -Allah be well-pleased with her-, a female Companion, had once come to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, lamenting:
“The blessings of Allah unto you, Messenger of Allah. Many a time, a needy person comes and stands in front of my door, yet I am not able to find anything to give!”
“Even if you cannot find anything else than a burnt sheep’s nail” said the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, “give it to the poor and do not let him return empty handed.” (Abu Dawud, Zakat, 33/1667; Tirmidhi, Zakat, 29/665; Nasai, Zakat, 70/2566; Ahmed, VI, 383)
Even if a Muslim does not have anything to give, he should at least console the needy with a few kind words. In a situation like this, the Almighty advises to say ÞóæúáðÇãóíúÓõæÑðÇ: that is sweet and gentle words that will impart a feeling of peace and joy.
In underlining the abundance that comes with giving, Abu Masud al-Ansari -Allah be well-pleased with him- says:
“After the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- commanded us to give charity, some began going to the bazaar to carry loads on their backs in return for a payment of a mudd, which they would then give away in charity. Some of those people today have as many as a hundred-thousand dinars.” (Bukhari, Zakat, 10)
“Each person will be shaded by the charities he gave until the verdict is passed (in the Hereafter)”, says the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.
Abu’l-Khayr, one of the transmitters of the above hadith, used to make sure he donated something every day, even if it meant it was in the form of a loaf of bread, an onion or little things like that. (Ahmed, IV, 147-8; Haythami, III, 110)
Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- recounts:
“The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had ordered us to donate. I possessed a reasonable amount of wealth at the time, too. ‘If there was ever a time I could outdo Abu Bakr’, I thought to myself, ‘it is today’. So I brought half of my entire wealth and handed it over to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.
‘What have you left for your family’, asked the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.
‘Around the same amount as what I have brought’, I replied.
But then Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- turned up with his entire wealth.
‘What have you left for your wife and kids?’ asked the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.
‘I have left Allah and His Messenger’, he replied.
It was right there and then that I realized I could not outdo him in anything!” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 16/3675)
According to Abdurrahman ibn Abu Amra, one night her mother declared she would free a slave come morning, only to die the same night. So he later went to Qasim ibn Muhammad, asking him whether he could set a slave free on behalf of her mother.
Qasim said, “Saad ibn Ubadah -Allah be well-pleased with him- once asked the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- whether her deceased mother would receive any benefit if he freed a slave on behalf of her. ‘Yes’, was his reply.’” (Muwattaa, Itq, 13)
Aisha -Allah be well-pleased with her- reports that a man once came to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and said, “My mother suddenly passed away. I am sure that if she could have spoken, she would have certainly given charity. Could I give charity on her behalf?”
“Yes”, assured the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-. “Do give charity on her behalf.” (Bukhari, Wasaya, 19; Abu Dawud, Wasaya, 15/2881)
Harithah ibn Numan -Allah be well-pleased with him-, a Companion, had lost his sight. He had a rope tied to his door and kept a basked full of dates and other things by his side. Whenever a needy person walked past and greeted him, he would grab something from the basket, and holding onto the rope, he would guide himself to the threshold of his door and personally give to the needy what he had in his hands. Time and again, his family would say to him, “There is no need for you to do that…we can give it on your behalf” but he would respond, each time:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- say, ‘Giving to the needy with his own hands will protect a person from an awful death!” (Ibn Saad, III, 488; Tabarani, Kabir, III, 229, 231; Haythami, III, 112)
Aisha -Allah be well-pleased with her- explains:
“The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- once said to his wives, ‘The quickest to reunite with me from among you is she with the longest arms.’ We then began measuring our arms to see who had the longest. But it turned out that what was meant by ‘the longest arms’ was the arms that extended the most towards charity…and those belonged to Zaynab -Allah be well-pleased with her- who worked and donated with her own hands.” (Muslim, Fadailu’s-Sahabah, 101)
Rich or poor, ill or healthy, they all used to rally to donate.
One day, a poor person came to Othman -Allah be well-pleased with him-, complaining, “You rich people are dominating all the rewards by donating, freeing slaves and performing pilgrimage using your wealth!”
“Do you really envy us?” asked Othman -Allah be well-pleased with him-.
“Yes”, replied the poor man. “By Allah, we do!”
“I promise by Allah” Othman -Allah be well-pleased with him- then began to explain, “that a dirham donated amid hardships is much better than ten-thousand dirhams donated from a greater wealth!” (Bayhaki, Shuab, III, 251; Ali al-Muttaqi, VI, 612/17098)