Self denial and forbearance


Hadith & Seerah, The Noble Traits of His Character, The Ways of the Prophet (SAWS) / Saturday, August 16th, 2008

It is narrated that Zaid lbn Sha’na was formerly a Jew. Once he narrated: There remained no sign of prophethood that I had not seen in the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) except two which I had not yet had an occasion to observe: One, that his clemency would have the better of his anger, and the other that howsoever insolently one might behave towards him, he would only become more forbearing. I was looking for a chance to test him on both these points. One day he came out of his apartment Hadrat Ali was with him. A man looking like a bedouin came and said, ‘O Apostle of ALLAAH! My people have become Muslims. I had told them that when they adopted Islam they would get bountiful subsistence. But now a famine has occurred instead. I am afraid they might renounce Islam. If you consider it proper, grant them some help”. The Prophet looked towards someone ‘Ali said, “O Apostle, there is nothing in hand at the moment. I, who was till then a Jew, saw this and said, ‘Muhammad! If you undertake to deliver to me at a fixed time a particular quantity of dates from a certain person’s orchard, I can give you the price in advance.’ The Apostle said, ‘That is not acceptable, but if you do not particularize the orchard, I may agree”. I accepted his suggestion, and gave him 80 misqals (1 misqal = 4.4 gm) of gold being the advance price of dates. He handed over the gold to the bedowin, saying, ‘Be judicious and meet their needs with this gold. When a few days were still left for the payments to fall due, the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) accompanied by his companions, among whom were Abu Bakar, ‘Urnar, ‘Uthman and Ali (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu) was seated near a wall after the funeral prayer over someone. I went to him and catching hold of the corner of his tunic said very harshly, “Muhammad! You have not paid my debt. By God I know all of you, descendants of Abdul Muttalib too well. You are bad payers.” ‘Umar stared at me with ire and said ‘O enemy of ALLAAH! Had I not been mindful of the Apostle I would have struck off your head. But the Apostle was looking at me quite tranquilly. He told Umar with a smile, “Umar! He and I are in greater need of something else. You had better told me to pay back the debt, and him to demand payment in a better manner. Go, take him along with you and pay the money due to him. And as a compensation for your rebuking him give him twenty sa’ (about 2 maunds) more of dates.” I asked him, “Why these 20 sa’ more? ‘Umar replied, “That is by order of the Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Then I said, ‘Do you know me?” He said, “No.” I told him, “I am Zaid lbn Shana.” He asked me, “Do you mean Zaid Ibn Shana who is a great scholar of Jews?” I replied, “Yes, the self same man.” Then he said, “Being such a man of mark, how is it that you behaved so rudely with the Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)?” I told him that of all the signs of prophethood two had remained which I had not by then had an occasion to test – namely that his clemency would have the better of his anger and that howsoever insolently one might behave towards him, he would only become more forbearing. Now I have tested both. Now I make you witness of my accepting Islam. Half of my riches I give away as charity to the Muslim community. Then he (Zaid lbn Shana) came back to the Apostle and embraced Islam. Zaid participated in many Ghazwahs and attained martyrdom in the battle of Tabuk. [Jami-ul-Fawa’id, Khasa’il-e-Nabawi]

Imam Bukhari (ALLAAH’s mercy be on him) narrated on the authority of Hadrat Anas (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu) as follows: Once I was going with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) who had around his neck a hard bordered Yamani mantle. An Arab approached him and seizing hold of the mantle began to tug and twist it hard. I saw that the Prophet’s neck had become bruised by the hard border. The Arab then said: “O Muhammad! Order something to be given to me out of ALLAAH’s assets under your control”. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) looked at him with a smile and commanded me to give something to him. [Madarij-un- Nubuwah]

Once famine befell Makkah. People began to fall to even bones and carrion. Abu Sufyan, who as at that time was one of the dire enemies of the Prophet, came to him and said, ‘Muhammad, you preach good treatment of kinsfolk. Your people are now dying of starvation. Why do you not pray to ALLAAH for them?” Although his persecution at the hands of the Quraish and their mischief had crossed all limits, the Prophet, on hearing Abu Sufyan’s words, raised his hands at once to pray. ALLAAH, the Magnificent, then caused a torrential rainfall, putting an end to the famine.[Bukhari]

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