The Prophet's poverty and richness

Q 2: There is a Hadith, I believe it is authentic, that relates: Al-Hasan ibn `Aly once took a date from the dates given in charity and put it in his mouth. Thereupon, the Prophet (peace be upon him) interjected, ‘Kakh! Kakh!’ to make him expel it. According to another Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, The Prophet (peace be upon him) went out at noon and then Abu Bakr came, so he asked, 'What has brought you out, O Abu Bakr?' He replied, 'Nothing brought me out other than hunger.' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, 'Me too; nothing brought me out other than this.' Then `Umar came, and he said the same to him as he had said to Abu Bakr, and he answered him with his same first answer. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) set off with his Sahabah (Companions), Abu Bakr and `Umar, to the house of one of the Ansar (Helpers, inhabitants of Madinah who supported the Prophet), and knocked on his door. The Ansary offered them hospitality, slaughtered a sheep for them, and offered them food. He then went to his orchard and cut some dates and brought them for them. When they had eaten and were satisfied, he (peace be upon him) said, 'By Allah, you will be asked about this blessing on that Day (of Resurrection).' I think this Hadith is also authentic. Similarly, a third Hadith states: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) died, his shield left in pledge with a Jew for thirty Sa‘s (1 Sa‘ = 2.172 kg) of barley. Q 3, 4: I think the third Hadith is also authentic but Allah knows best. Now, do these Hadith conflict with the Ayahs of Surah Al-Duha (93) where Allah says (what means): (Part No. 4; Page No. 388)  And verily, your Lord will give you (all good) so that you shall be well-pleased. And: And He found you poor and made you rich (self-sufficient with self-contentment)? Was this a kind of ascetic life led by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sahabah (Companions, may Allah be pleased with them)? Or was it only at the beginning of Islam, but when Allah granted victory to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he became rich?I also recall the Hadith telling that when one of the Sahabah died while indebted, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would not offer Funeral Prayer for him saying: Offer Salah (i.e. The Funeral Prayer) for your companion. However, when Allah helped the Prophet (peace be upon him) to gain victory (on his expeditions), he said: I am closer to the believers than themselves, so whoever of them dies leaving debt or children, I am the one responsible to repay the debt and look after the children. Is this report true? What is the truth about the austere life of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions? I also recall the following Hadith narrated by ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while he was lying on a mat. I sat down, so he drew close over him his lower garment. He had nothing else over him, and the mat had left its imprint on his side. I gazed with my eyes into the closet of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and I only found a handful of barley about one Sa‘ and an equal amount of mimosa leaves in the corner of the room, and untanned leather hanged, so my tears preceded me. He said, 'What makes you cry, O Ibn Al-Khattab?' I said, 'O Prophet of Allah! Why should I not cry when this mat has left its imprint on your side and this is your closet I see nothing inside it except what I see; and there, Caesar and Chosroes, living in luxury, and you are the Messenger of Allah, His chosen one, and that is your closet!' He said, 'O Ibn Al-Khattab! Would it not please you that we have the Hereafter, and they have worldly life?' I said, 'Yes.' Was all this out of austerity, renunciation of worldly pleasures and seeking the Hereafter? Or was this only at the beginning of Islam and when money was abundant and Muslims became wealthy by the Grace and Favor of Allah upon them things became better as explained? (Part No. 4; Page No. 389) Do these Hadith - if they are authentic - contradict Surah Al-Duha? Indeed, I do not think so. Please, answer us. May Allah reward you!


A: There is no contradiction between the Hadith you mentioned and Surah Al-Duha, for two reasons: First: The Prophet (peace be upon him) was poor but Allah enriched him as stated in Surah Al-Duha. Second: However great were the material good and other blessings that Allah bestowed upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) until he was fully contented and well-pleased, still his responsibility towards his Ummah (nation) and their public as well as their private interest was greater. Therefore, what he (peace be upon him) used to give or spend in this cause was more than what he received. His generous hand (peace be upon him) used to give with no fear of poverty, as a Bedouin once described him for his people while praising his generosity. Among his noble acts were his repaying the debts of those who died in debt and his undertaking full responsibility of looking after and spending on their families. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I am closer to the believers than themselves, so if one of the believers dies in debt, I am responsible for the repayment of his debt, but if he leaves wealth, it will belong to his heirs. Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, and Muslim. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Any believer who dies leaving property, his paternal relatives will inherit him, whoever they are. But if he leaves debt or children, let them (i.e. Creditors and children) come to me (i.e. That I may pay the debt and provide for the children), for I am his (i.e. The deceased’s) Maula (guardian, supporter, patron). Reported by Al-Bukhari. So his lack of money was not due to poverty but due to generosity.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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