His charity was of various kinds. Sometimes he gave a gift; sometimes he borrowed something and repaid it generously; sometimes he bought a thing and paid more than the price to the seller; and sometimes he gave charity. He accepted gifts from other people but always gave more gifts in return for them.
Muhammad never said no to any request from anyone in his life. He used to say that he was only a distributor and a treasurer and that Allah 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. Another 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 Allah 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.
Muhammad was so generous 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 `Umar’s son `Abdullah. Once he bought something from Jabir and gave it back to him as a gift.
Sometimes Allah blessed the food that the Prophet shared so that it multiplied to feed many. During one battle, there were 130 Companions with the Prophet. 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 Salmah, the Prophet's wife, reported that one day Allah's Messenger came home looking disturbed. She asked him what the matter was. He replied that the seven dinars 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 Dharr reported that one evening he was walking with Allah's Messenger when he said, "Abu Dharr, if the mountain of Uhud were turned into gold for me, I would not like three nights to pass and one dinar 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 a hurry after the prayer 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.
He always paid the debts of the dead and issued instructions to the effect that if anyone died leaving any debt, he should be informed of it so that he could pay it off.
Whenever Muhammad met any miserly person, he advised him to be more generous and charitable. Ibn `Abbas said that he heard Allah's Messenger say, "The believer is not the one who eats when his neighbor beside him is hungry," Abu Hurayrah reported Allah's Messenger as saying, "The believer is simple and generous, but the wicked person is deceitful and ignoble." In short, Muhammad was so generous and charitable that he never kept anything surplus for himself but gave all to those who came to him for help.
"Allah's Messenger (s.a.a.w.) used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing his own chores." (Narrated by al-Tirmathi).
She also said:
"He would patch his garments and sole his sandals" She was once asked: "How was he with his family?", she responded: "He was in the service of his family until it was time for prayer, at which time he would go and pray."
Allah Subhanuhu wa-T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّالِحَاتِ يَهْدِيهِمْ رَبُّهُمْ بِإِيمَانِهِمْ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهِمُ الأَنْهَارُ فِي جَنَّاتِ النَّعِيمِ
دَعْوَاهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَانَكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلاَمٌ وَآخِرُ دَعْوَاهُمْ أَنِ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
Surely those who believe (in the truths revealed in the Book) and do righteous deeds their Lord will guide them aright because of their faith. Rivers shall flow beneath them in the Gardens of Bliss. Their cry in it will be: 'Glory be to You, Our Lord!', and their greeting: 'Peace!'; and their cry will always end with: 'All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe. (10:9-10)
The sequence of ideas presented here is quite significant because answers have been systematically provided to a number of highly relevant basic questions. Let us look at these answers in their sequence. Why will the righteous enter Paradise? The answer is: because they have followed the straight way in their worldly life. That is, in all matters and in every walk of life, in all affairs relating to the personal or collective life they have been righteous and have abstained from false ways.
This gives rise to another question: how were the righteous able to obtain a criterion that would enable them to distinguish, at every turn and crossroad of life, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between fair and unfair? And how did they come to have the strength to adhere to what is right and avoid what is wrong? All this, of course, came from their Lord Who bestowed upon them both the guidance which they needed to know the right way and the succour required to follow it. In answer to why their Lord bestowed upon them this guidance and succour, we are reminded that all this was in consideration for their faith.
It is also made clear that this reward is not in lieu of merely a verbal profession to faith, a profession that is no more than a formal acceptance of certain propositions. Rather, the reward is in consideration for a faith that became the moving spirit of a believer's character and personality, the force that led him lo righteous deeds and conduct. We can observe in our own physical lives that a person's survival, state of health, level of energy, and joy of living all depend upon sustenance from the right kind of food. This food, once digested, provides blood to the veins and arteries, provides energy to the whole body and enables the different limbs to function properly.
The same holds true of man's success in the moral domain. It is sound beliefs which ensure that he will have the correct outlook, sound orientation and right behaviour that will ultimately lead to his success. Such results, however, do not ensue from that kind of believing which either consists of a mere profession to faith, or is confined to some obscure corner of man's head or heart. The wholesome results mentioned above can only be produced by a faith which deeply permeates man's entire being, shaping his mental outlook, even becoming his instinct; a faith which is fully reflected in his character, conduct and outlook on life. We have just noted the importance of food. We know that the person who, in spite of eating remains like one who has not partaken of any food, would not be able to enjoy the healthy results that are the lot of the person who has fully assimilated what he ate. How can it be conceived that it would be different in the moral domain of human life? How can it be that he who remains, even after believing, like the one who does not believe, will derive the benefit and receive the reward meant for those whose believing leads to righteous living?
"...their cry will always end with: 'All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe."
This should remove any misconceptions about Paradise which seem to have been formed by some people of frail understanding. Subtly, the verse suggests that when people are admitted to Paradise, they will not instantly pounce upon the objects of their desire as the starved and hungry are wont to do when they observe food. Nor will they frantically go about giving vent to their lusts, impatiently demanding their cherished objects of enjoyment - beautiful women, wine, dissolute singing and music.
The fact is that the men of faith and righteousness who are admitted to Paradise will be those who, during their life in the world, have embellished their lives with sublime ideas and noble deeds, who have refined their emotions, who have oriented their desires in the right direction, and who have purified their conduct and character. Thus, the nobility which they have developed in their personalities will shine in even greater splendour when they set their feet in the pure and clean environment of Paradise. Those same traits which characterized their behaviour in the world will appear with even greater lustre.
The favourite occupation of such people in Paradise will be the same as during their life on the earth - to celebrate the praise of God. Likewise, their relationships in Paradise will be imbued with feelings of mutual harmony and concern for each other's well-being as had been the case in this world.
"Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth . . . "[1. Qur'an (24:35).]
The Light is one of the ninety-nine Beautiful Names of Allah. Light is that by which things become known. Things may exist in the dark, but they cannot be seen. Light may be physical, such as the light of the sun or the moon, or intelligible, like the light of the intellect. The latter is that which illuminates the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. Total darkness is non-existence, thus light is that which brings created beings out of non-existence into existence. It is the creative act of Allah and this is one of the meanings of "Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth . . . " The other meaning is that every light in the universe is but a reflection of His mercy, every knowledge a reflection of His knowledge and so on. "Allah created His creation in darkness," said the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, "then He sprayed them with His light. Those whom this light reached became rightly guided, while those it did not went astray."[2. Tirmidhi.] And he also said, as recorded by Muslim, "Allah, August and Majestic is He, wrote the destinies of creation fifty thousand years before He created the Heavens and the earth. His throne was on the water. Among what He wrote in the Remembrance, which is the Mother of the Book, was: Muhammad is the Seal of the Prophets."Read more...
The present barren period of classical scholarship, together with the increasing paucity of our knowledge of ancient languages, has crippled modern taste in its efforts to appreciate any such attempts as I intend to make in that direction. The following pages have produced a series of most able articles from the Rev. Professor 'Abdu 'l-Ahad Dawud, but I wonder if there are many, even among the hierarchy of the Christian Church, who could follow the erudite exposition of the learned Professor. All the more do I wonder when he seeks to carry his readers into a labyrinth of languages, dead and done with thousands of years ago. What about Aramaic, when very few even among the Clergy are able to understand the Vulgate and the original Greek version of the New Testament? More especially when our researches are based simply upon Greek and Latin etymology! Whatever may be the value of such dissertations in the eye's of others we, nowadays, are absolutely incapable of appreciating them from the angle of erudition; for the oracular ambiguity attached to the prophetic utter- ances to which I allude makes them elastic enough to cover any case. The "least" in the prophecy of St. John the Baptist may not be the son of Mary, though he was looked upon as such contemptuously by his own tribe. The Holy Carpenter came from humble parentage. He was shouted down, mocked and discredited; he was belittled and made to appear the "least" in the public estimation by the Scribes and Pharisees. The excess of zeal displayed by his followers in the second and third centuries A.D., which was ever prone to jump at anything in the form of a prophecy in the Bible, would naturally induce them to believe that their Lord was the person alluded to by the Baptist.
However, there is another difficulty in the way. How can a person rely on the testimony of a book admittedly filled with folk-lore? The genuineness of the Bible has univer- sally been questioned. Without going into the question of its genuineness, we may at least say that we cannot depend on its statements concerning Jesus and his miracles. Some even go so far as to assert that his existence as an historical person is questionable, and that on the authority of the Gospels it would be dangerous to arrive at any apparently safe conclusion in this matter. A Christian of the Funda- mentalist type cannot well say anything against my statement of the case. If "stray sentences" and detached words in the Old Testament can be singled out by synoptic writers as applicable to Jesus, the comments of the learned writer of these erudite and absorbing articles must command every respect and appreciation even from the Clergy. I write in the same strain, but I have tried to base my arguments on portions of the Bible which hardly allow of any linguistic dispute. I would not go to Latin, Greek, or Aramaic, for that would be useless: I just give the following quotation in the very words of the Revised Version as published by the British and Foreign Bible Society.
We read the following words in the Book of Deuteronomy chapter xviii. verse 18: "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth." If these words do not apply to Prophet Muhammad, they still remain unfulfilled. Prophet Jesus himself never claimed to be the Prophet alluded to. Even his disciples were of the same opinion: they looked to the second coming of Jesus for the fulfillment of the prophecy. So far it is undisputed that the first coming of Jesus was not the advent of the "prophet like unto thee," and his second advent can hardly fulfill the words. Jesus, as is believed by his Church, will appear as a Judge and not as a law-giver; but the promised one has to come with a "fiery law" in "his right hand."
In ascertaining the personality of the promised prophet the other prophecy of Moses is, however, very helpful where it speaks of the shining forth of God from Paran, the mountain of Mecca. The words in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter xxxiii. verse 2, run as follows: "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints; from his right hand went a fiery law for them."
In these words the Lord has been compared with the sun. He comes from Sinai, he rises from Seir, but he shines in his full glory from Paran, where he had to appear with ten thousands of saints with a fiery law in his right hand. None of the Israelites, including Jesus, had anything to do with Paran. Hagar, with her son Ishmael, wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba, who afterwards dwelt in the wilder- ness of Paran (Gen. xxi. 21). He married an Egyptian woman, and through his first-born, Kedar, gave descent to the Arabs who from that time till now are the dwellers of the wilderness of Paran. And if Prophet Muhammad admittedly on all hands traces his descent to Ishmael through Kedar and he appeared as a prophet in the wilderness of Paran and re- entered Mecca with ten thousand saints and gave a fiery law to his people, is not the prophecy above-mentioned fulfilled to its very letter?
The words of the prophecy in Habakkuk are especially noteworthy. His (the Holy One from Paran) glory covered the heavens and the earth was full of his praise. The word "praise" is very significant, as the very name Muhammad literally means "the praised one." Besides the Arabs, the inhabitants of the wilderness of Paran had also been promised a Revelation: "Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare His praise in the islands. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war, he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies" (Isaiah).
In connection with it there are two other prophecies worthy of note where references have been made to Kedar. The one runs thus in chapter 1x. of Isaiah: "Arise, shine for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee ... The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come.. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory" (1-7). The other prophecy is again in Isaiah "The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail: And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished" Read these prophecies in Isaiah in the light of one in Deutero- nomy which speaks of the shining forth of God from Paran. If Ishmael inhabited the wilderness of Paran, where he gave birth to Kedar, who is the ancestor of the Arabs; and if the sons of Kedar had to receive revelation from God; if the flocks of Kedar had to come up with acceptance to a Divine altar to glorify "the house of my glory" where the darkness had to cover the earth for some centuries, and then that very land had to receive light from God; and if all the glory of Kedar had to fail and the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, had to diminish within a year after the one fled from the swords and from the bent bows - the Holy One from Paran (Habakkuk iii 3 ) is no one else than Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad is the holy offspring of Ishmael through Kedar, who settled in the wilderness of Paran. Muhammad is the only Prophet through whom the Arabs received revelation at the time when the darkness had covered the earth. Through him God shone from Paran, and Mecca is the only place where the House of God is glorified and the flocks of Kedar come with acceptance on its altar. Prophet Muhammad was persecuted by his people and had to leave Mecca. He was thirsty and fled from the drawn sword and the bent bow, and within a year after his flight the descen- dants of Kedar meet him at Badr, the place of the first battle between the Meccans and the Prophet, the children of Kedar and their number of archers diminish and all the glory of Kedar fails. If the Holy Prophet is not to be accepted as the fulfillment of all these prophecies they will still remain unfulfilled. "The house of my glory" referred to in Isaiah lX is the house of God in Mecca and not the Church of Christ as thought by Christian commentators. The flocks of Kedar, as mentioned in verse 7, have never come to the Church of Christ; and it is a fact that the villages of Kedar and their inhabitants are the only people in the whole world who have remained impenetrable to any influence of the Church of Christ. Again, the mention of 10,000 saints in Deutero- nomy xxx 3 is very significant. He (God) shined forth from Paran, and he came with 10,000 of saints. Read the whole history of the wilderness of Paran and you will find no other event but when Mecca was conquered by the Prophet. He comes with 10,000 followers from Medina and re-enters "the house of my glory." He gives the fiery law to the world, which reduced to ashes all other laws. The Comforter - the Spirit of Truth - spoken of by Prophet Jesus was no other than Prophet Muhammad himself. It cannot be taken as the Holy Ghost, as the Church theology says. "It is expedient for you that I go away," says Jesus, "for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart I will send him unto you." The words clearly show that the Comforter had to come after the departure of Jesus, and was not with him when he uttered these words. Are we to pre- sume that Jesus was devoid of the Holy Ghost if his coming was conditional on the going of Jesus: besides, the way in which Jesus describes him makes him a human being, not a ghost. "He shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that he shall speak." Should we presume that the Holy Ghost and God are two distinct entities and that the Holy Ghost speaks of himself and also what he hears from God? The words of Jesus clearly refer to some messenger from God. He calls him the Spirit of Truth, and so the Qur'an speaks of Prophet Muhammad, "No, indeed, he has brought the truth, and confirmed the Messengers." Ch.37:37