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.
"By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people;
if you had been stern and harsh-hearted, they would have dispersed from round
about you" The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):159
Even with all of his concerns and obligations, Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)
never became unmindful of his people. He had a special place in his heart for
each one of them and he was known among them for his soft-spokenness, his
generosity, his tolerance, and his friendliness.
He would joke with his companions, sit and talk with them,
play with their children and sit them on his knee. He would respond to the call
of the free man or the slave, or the young girl or the poor. He would visit the
sick on the opposite end of the city and he would attend their funerals. He
would accept the people's apologies and their excuses, and he was the most
humble among them.
Abdullah ibn Al-Haritha narrated:
"I have never seen anyone who smiled more continuously than
the Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.)" (Narrated by Al-Tirmathi)
Usamah ibn Zayd narrated:
"The daughter of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) sent (a messenger) to
the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) requesting him to come as her child was dying. However, the
Prophet (s.a.a.w.) returned the messenger and told him to convey his greeting to her
and say: "Whatever Allah takes is for Him and whatever He gives is for Him.
Everything with Him has a limited fixed term (in this world) and so she should
be patient and hope for Allah's reward." She again sent for him, swearing that
he should come. The Prophet (s.a.a.w.) stood up, and so did Sa'id ibn Ubadah, Mu'ath
ibn Jabal, Ubay ibn Ka'ab , Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men. [When he
arrived,] the child was brought to Allah's Apostle (s.a.a.w.), his chest heaving. On
that the eyes of the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) began shedding tears. Sa'd said, "O Allah's
Apostle! What is this?" He replied, "It is mercy which Allah has lodged in the
hearts of His slaves, and Allah is merciful only to those of His slaves who are
merciful (to others)." (Narrated by Al-Bukhari)
Ibne Malik narrated that
"the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) used to mix with us (the children) to
the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine, 'O abu-Umayr! What
did the Nughayr (a kind of bird) do?' " (Narrated by
Abu Dawood narrated that the Messenger of Allah would say:
"Let none of you transmit to me [evil news] about my
companions, for I like to meet with you with a pure heart"
Ibn Masood narrated that Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) said to a group he sent to teach and advise:
"Be lenient and do not make [this religion] difficult.
Bring glad tidings and do not repel"
AbuMalik al-Ash'ari said:
"The Messenger of Allah (s.a.a.w.) said: 'Cleanliness is half
of faith, and [saying] 'Praise be to God' fills the scale, and [saying] 'Glory
be to God' and 'Praise be to God' fill up what is between the heavens and the
earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof [of one's faith], and
patience is a brightness, and the Qur'an is a proof for or against you. All men
go out early in the morning and sell themselves, some setting themselves free
and others destroying themselves.' " (Narrated by
Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
وَلاَ تَكُونُواْ كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُواْ مِن دِيَارِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَاء النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ
(8:47) And be not like those who came forth from their homes exulting, with a desire to be seen of people, and hindering others from the way of Allah. Allah encompasses all that they do.
This alludes to the army of the disbelieving Qurayash, which, when it proceeded on a military expedition against the Muslims, was accompanied by singing and dancing minstrels. (See Ibn Sa'd. vol. 2, p. 13 ) Whenever the army halted, dancing and drinking parties were held. Also the army arrogantly vaunted its military power and numerical strength before the tribes and localities which fell on the way, and boasted of its invincibility. (See al-Waqidi, vol. 1, p. 39 ) This much is about the moral state of the Quraysh army. What was even worse was the object of their fighting. They were not fighting for any lofty ideal. What they aimed at was merely to defeat the forces of truth and justice, to suppress and obliterate the only group which sought to uphold the truth. They simply did not want any one to champion the cause of truth and justice.
This occasion was considered appropriate to warn the Muslims not to let themselves degenerate into a group like the Quraysh. God had favoured them with faith and devotion to the truth. And gratitude to God for this favour required that they should purify both their conduct and their reason for fighting.
This directive was not meant just for the time in which it was revealed. It is equally applicable today, and will remain applicable in all times to come. The forces of Unbelief today are no different from those in the time of the Prophet (peace he on him) for the moral state of the present-day armies is no better than of armies in the past. Arrangements for prostitution and drinking are as much a part of the present-day armies of unbelievers as ever before. The soldiers in these armies feel no shame in openly demanding the maximum amount of alcoholic drinks and as many call-girls as possible. Without any sense of shame the soldiers virtually ask their compatriots to make available to them their daughters and sisters for the gratification of their lust. That being the case how can one expect that the soldiers of today would not go about committing debauchery and polluting the life of the people in the lands which they happen to conquer?
Apart from moral corruption, the soldiers of the present-day armies are known for their arrogance and affrontery to the conquered peoples. Their gestures and conversation - both of ordinary soldiers and officers - bespeak of their arrogance. Arrogance is also reflected in the statements made by the statesmen of the militarily-strong and triumphant nations who in effect boastfully say to their people, in the words of the Quran: 'No one shall overcome you today' (al-Anfal 8: 48) and challenging the whole world in their vainglory: 'Who is greater than us in strength?' (Fusilat 41: 15).
These powers are evidently wicked, but the purposes for which they wage war are even more so. These powers are keen, out of sheer trickery, to assure the rest of the world that in waging war they are prompted only by the welfare of mankind. In actual fact, they might have either one motive for waging war or another, but it is absolutely certain that the motive is not the welfare of mankind. Their purpose is to establish their exclusive control and to exploit the resources created by God for all mankind. Their goal is to reduce other nations to the position of hewers of wood and drawers of water and to subject them to thraldom and servitude. Here Muslims are being told, in effect, that they should eschew the ways of non-Muslims and desist from devoting their lives, energy, and resources to the evil purposes for which non-Muslims engage in warfare. (Tafheemul Quran)
It has been narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) that eighty persons from the inhabitants of Makka swooped down upon Allah's Messenger (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) from the mountain of Tan'im. They were armed and wanted to attack the Holy Prophet (may Allah's blessings and peace be upon him) and his Companions unawares. He (the Holy Prophet) captured them but spared their lives. So, Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) revealed the verse:
"And It is He Who restrained your hands from them and their hands from you in the valley of Makkah after He had given you a victory over them." (48:24)
Allah, the Exalted, says:
"Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess.'' (4:36)
303. Ibn `Umar and `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Jibril kept recommending treating neighbours with kindness until I thought he would assign a share of inheritance".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith illustrates the importance of nice treatment to neighbours in Islam.
304. Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) commanded me thus, "O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and and give some of it to your neighbours".
In another narration of Muslim, narrated Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him): My friend, (Messenger of Allah (PBUH)) advised me saying, "Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and give some to your neighbours and then give them out of this with courtesy.''
Commentary: This Hadith makes it clear that Islam does not like a Muslim to ignore his poor neighbour and eat up everything himself. It stresses that one must take care of his poor neighbours. If a person is not in a position to do more, he should at least add some water in the broth he cooks for his own food and send a portion of it to his deserving neighbour. It leads us to the conclusion that a Muslim should in no case be unmindful of his neighbour and if he is well-to-do, he should be all the more charitable to his neighbours.
305. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.'' It was asked, "Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?'' He said, "One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration of Muslim is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He will not enter Jannah whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct".
Commentary: This Hadith reveals that hurting or troubling a neighbour is such a serious offence that it causes Allah's Wrath, and thus punishment in Hell.
306. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "O Muslim women! No one of you should consider insignificant (a gift) to give to her neighbour even if it is (a gift of) the trotters of a sheep".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith means that neighbours should present gifts to each other. The rich men and the poor according to their means. One who is poor should not think that what he is presenting to his neighbour is not worthy of giving. Even his humble gift, provided it is presented with sincerity, will find acceptance with Allah. According to the Noble Qur'an: "So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an ant (or a small ant) shall see it.'' (99:7)
It is, however, better for a rich person to present a gift which goes well with his means. He should not give anything to his neighbour which is stale or which he does not like for himself because apart from insincerity, such a thing shows his contempt for the neighbour while gift is, in fact, a token of sincerity and brotherhood.
307. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "No one should prohibit his neighbour from placing a peg in his wall". Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) added: Now I see you turning away from this (Sunnah), but by Allah, I shall go on proclaiming it.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: The importance of the injunction contained in this Hadith comes into prominence in localities comprising huts and tents, or at places where the two neighbours still have common walls between their houses. (In big cities each house has its own independent walls.) In any case, it is evident from this Hadith that a Muslim should be considerate of his neighbours. Islam ordains us to co-operate and sympathize with them. All Muslims are likened to a body each organ of which is linked with the other. In the light of this injunction, one can very well understand the rights of the neighbours in Islam.
308. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him not harm his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith unfolds the fruits of Faith. One who does not have the qualities mentioned in it, is deprived of the blessings of the Faith. Faith of such a person is like a fruitless tree, or a flower without fragrance, or a body without soul.
309. Abu Shuraih Al-Khuza`i (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him be kind to his neighbour; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him show hospitality to his guest; and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him either speak good or remain silent".
310. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I said, "O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), I have two neighbours, to which of them should I send a present?'' He (PBUH) replied, "To the one whose door is nearer to you".
Commentary: When a Muslim does not have the means to present gifts to his neighbours and wants to present a gift only to one of them, he should go by the principle laid down in this Hadith. The principle enunciated here is: "One who is the nearest neighbour, should have precedence over all others.''
311. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The best of companions with Allah is the one who is best to his companions, and the best of neighbours to Allah is the one who is the best of them to his neighbour".
Commentary: Companion is a common word which covers companions in journey and stay. Muslims are ordained to treat all of them nicely. But one's neighbour has precedence over others. Nice treatment to him is the best means to attain a distinctive place with Allah.
Reference: Riyadus-Saleheen, Chapter 39