On preferring others and helping others

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

62. Chapter: On preferring others and helping others

Allah Almighty says, "They prefer them to themselves, even if they themselves are needy," (59:9)

and the Almighty said, "They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives..." (76:8 to the end)

564. Abu Hurayra said, "A man came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'I am famished.' He sent to one of his wives and she said, 'By the One who sent you with the truth, I have nothing but water.' Then he sent to another and she said the same thing, until they had all said the same thing: 'By the One who sent you with the truth, I have nothing but water.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Who will give hospitality tonight?' A man of the Ansar said, 'I will, Messenger of Allah.' He took him to his place and said to his wife, 'Honour the guest of the Prophet.'"

In one variant, "He said to his wife, 'Do you have anything?' She said, 'No, only the children's food.' He said, 'Divert them with something else. When they want supper, put them to sleep. When our guest comes in, put out the lamp and I will look as if I'm eating.' So they sat down and the guest ate and they spent the night hungry. In the morning, they went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'Allah was pleased with what you did with your guest last night." [Agreed upon]

565. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Food for two is enough for three, and food for three is enough for four." [Agreed upon]

566. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri said, "Once when we were on a journey with the Prophet, a man came on a camel of his and began to look to his right and left. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Anyone who has a spare mount should prepare it for someone who does not have a mount to ride, and anyone who has extra provision should prepare it for someone who does not have any provision,' and he mentioned the different categories of property until we thought that none of us had any right to anything in excess of our needs." [Muslim]

567. Sahl ibn Sa'd said, "A woman brought the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, a woven cloak (burda) with a border and said, 'I wove it with my own hands so that you could wear it.' The Prophet took it as he was in need of it. He came out to us using it as a waist-wrapper. Someone admired it and said, 'Give it to me to wear. How beautiful it is!' He said, 'Yes,' and the Prophet sat down in the assembly and then went back and folded it and sent it to him. The people said, 'You have not acted rightly. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wore it out of need for it and then you asked him for it knowing that he never refuses a request.' He said, 'By Allah, I have not asked for it in order to wear it, but I have asked for it only so that it can be my shroud.'" Sahl said, "It was indeed his shroud." [al-Bukhari]

568. Abu Musa reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The Ash'arites ran short of food on a raid - or their families in Madina ran short of food. They gathered together what they had in one cloth and then divided it among themselves equally using the same container. These people are from me and I am from them." [Agreed upon]