6 years ago
The mercy of the Prophet (saw) extended to encompass the poor. He was born an orphan, and led the life of the poor.
There was a portion in his heart for everyone, but the poor and the distressed were given the largest portion, especially those who were spiritually poor. His mercy and support to the poor was never broken, even if he had no money.
As a jurist, he enacted laws- by the inspiration of God- that helped the poor; as a ruler, he never forgot them despite his responsibilities; as a rich person, he would give them all he had till he had nothing for himself and as a prophet, he died poor and even indebted. He had just two dirham when he died. These two dirham were his chief concern when he was dying, every time he came to sense, he would ask his wife, "Have you given that two dirham as alms? Have you given that two dirham as alms? Have you given that two dirham as alms?" They forgot to give them in charity because of the heavy grief overwhelming them.
In his life he adopted a very significant concept that only people of foresight could fathom; he used to pray to his Lord saying, "O' God, give me the life of the poor and let me die poor and resurrect me among the poor."
The following hadith unravels the mystery behind that concept. It is narrated that God offered him to change Makkah's mountains into gold, but he refused saying,
He wasn't an ascetic, who abhorred life and riches, but it was something that he chose for himself, he would let nothing to distract his attention away from his Lord.
One day someone gave him a new pair of shoes as a present; when he put on the shoes, he kept looking at them a while admiring them. Then suddenly he took them off putting them aside and called people to bring back his old worn out shoes.
He would refuse any allurement of this mundane life that would distract his attention, heart and feelings towards anything other than God. We should always bear in mind that he never held life in abhorrence, nor did he reject the enjoyments in this life, but rather he always chose a mid-way between the two extremes.
The Prophet's (saw) mercy to the poor was not an accidental attribute, but it was a trait embedded in his nature; we know this from his wife Khadija (ra) when he received the first revelation.
Upon receiving the first revelation, he was trembling with fear; his wife tried to soothe him saying,
One day the Prophet (saw) was distributing the spoil of wars among the needy Muslims; they kept asking him till they cornered him against a tree and snatched his cloak. The Prophet (saw) shouted,
As a ruler, he set the best example for leaders to follow when treating the needy among their nations, though he was not rich, when bounties were placed in his hands, he would distribute them among his nation. He didn't keep anything for himself from the spoils of war.
One day ninety thousand dirham were given to him and put on a straw mat before him, the Prophet (saw) distributed them all among people, and he kept nothing for himself.
As a boy, he led the life of the poor with his paternal uncle's sons, and as a young man he worked as a shepherd to help his uncle, and when he became a Prophet (saw) he never thought about compensating the days of poverty.
Several times the Prophet (saw) received some meals as a present; he would call the poor homeless people to share his meal. He always enshrined the poor and the needy in his heart.