16 September 2009

Feeding the guest in darkness

A Sahabi came to the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and complained of hunger and distress. Just then, the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) had nothing in hand, or in his home to feed him. He asked the Sahabah:

"Would anybody entertain him as a guest tonight on my behalf?"

One of the Ansaar said:

"O, Prophet of Allah, I will do that."

The Ansari took the person to his house and instructed his wife:

"Look here, this man is a guest of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam). We will entertain him as best as we can, and won't spare anything in doing so."

The wife replied:

"By Allah! I have got no food in the house, except a very little--something just enough for the children."

The Ansari said:

"You lull the children to sleep without feeding them, while I sit with the guest over the meagre meal. When we start eating, put out the lamp pretending to set it right, so that the guest may not become aware of my not sharing the meal with him."

The scheme worked out nicely, and the whole family, including the children, stayed hungry to enable the guest to eat to his fill. It was over this incident that Allah revealed the verse:

Allah said,
[وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَى أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ]

(and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that.) meaning, they preferred giving to the needy rather than attending to their own needs, and began by giving the people before their own selves, even though they too were in need. An authentic Hadith stated that the Messenger of Allah said,
َفْضَلُ الصَّدَقَةِ جُهْدُ الْمُقِل»
(The best charity is that given when one is in need and struggling.)

Subhanallah! Such love they had for one another.

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