Allah’s has been reported by Imam al-Baqir (a.s) to say:
I will not quit five habits until the moment of my death: wearing coarse clothes, riding a mule without packsaddle, eating with the slaves, weaving footwear with my own hands, and saluting children so that it will become a tradition after me.
A Jew Becomes Muslim by the Holy Prophet
Imam Musa (a.s) quoted Imam Ali (a.s) as saying, “Allah’s Messenger owed a few dinars to a Jew, so he asked for it. The Holy Prophet said, “I can’t pay it now.” The Jew said, “I will not leave you until you have paid my money.”The Holy Prophet said, “Then I will sit beside you.” He sat beside that Jew for a long time during which he performed all his prayers.
The Holy Prophet’s companions made an attempt to intimidate him. Looking at them, the Holy Prophet asked, “What are you going to do with him?”They said, “O Allah’s Messenger! A Jew is taking you a hostage like that!” The Holy Prophet said, “Allah has not commissioned me to do any injustice to non-Muslims.”
When the day came to an end, the Jew said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. I give away a portion of my wealth for the sake of Allah, O Messenger! I swear by Allah what I did to you was to see whether you are the same person described in the Torah. I have read your description in the Torah that Muhammad, son of Abdullah, will be born in Mecca; he will migrate to Medina. He is neither rough nor furious. He is neither foul-mouthed nor does he use indecent words. I testify to the oneness of Allah and your Prophethood. This is my wealth at your disposal. Spend it as Allah has commanded.”2
Interest-Free Loan for the Needy
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “A needy came to the Holy Prophet asking for help. The Holy Prophet (S) asked, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man from the Ansar rose up saying, “I have such a loan.” The Holy Prophet said, “Give four vessels of date to this man.” The man did so.
After sometime the man came to the Holy Prophet and asked for the repayment of his loan. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “We will pay it in the coming days.” The man came another time, hearing the same words. But when he came for the third time, the Holy Prophet smiled and said, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man rose up saying, “O Allah’s Messenger! I have it.”The Holy Prophet asked, “How much is that?” The man said, “As much as you wish!” The Holy Prophet said, “Give eight vessels of date to this man.” The man said, “You owe me only four vessels.” The Holy Prophet said, “The other four vessels are for you too.”3
Eating with the Poor
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “During the time of the Holy Prophet, the needy had to spend nights in the mosque because they had no home. One evening, the Holy Prophet broke his fast with the needy in the mosque in a stone vessel. Since the food had been blessed by the Holy Prophet, thirty people ate from it and then took the rest of the food for their wives.”4
Piety and Contentment
Quoting his forefathers, Imam al-Ridha reports: Allah’s Messenger said: An angel came to me saying, “O Muhammad! Your Lord has sent greetings to you saying – I will fill Mecca with gold if you wish so.” But the Holy Prophet raised his head toward the sky and said, “O Lord! I will eat my fill one day to praise You and remain hungry to beg you.”5
Ibn Abbas reports that the Holy Prophet would always sit on the earth; he would eat sitting on the earth; he would milk the sheep; and he would accept the slaves’ invitation to share barley bread on their tablecloth. 6
Sympathy with People
Among the homeless poor people who used to live in the mosque, there was a believer who was poor and indigent. He would follow Allah’s Messenger in praying and never lost congregational prayer. The Holy Prophet (S) had sympathy for him and closely watched his needs. The Holy Prophet (S) kept on saying, “O Sa’d, I will make you needless if I gain something.” A long time passed but the Holy Prophet did not gain anything. Hence, his sympathy for the man increased. Allah Almighty Who was watching this, sent Archangel Gabriel to him with two dirhams saying, “Allah is aware of your sorrow about Sa’d. Would you like to make him needless?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Yes.” “Give these two dirhams to him to start a business.”
Taking the two dirhams, the Holy Prophet (S) left home for the mosque to perform his Noon Prayer where Sa’d waiting for him. He said, “Do you like business?” Sa’d said, “Yes, I do. But I do not have money.” The Holy Prophet gave the two dirhams to him and said, “Start a business with this and seek the Divine food.” After completing his prayer, the Holy Prophet said, “Go after business from now on, for I was very sorry for you”. Sa’d did so in a way that he bought goods for one dirham selling them for two dirhams or bought goods for two dirhams selling them for four dirhams.
In this way, he made a fortune and his business became brisk. He went so far as to find premises near the mosque and set up his business there. He became so engaged in his business that he no longer took heed of Bilal’s call for prayer and would not come to the mosque. One day, the Holy Prophet said to him, “O Sa’d! You are so much preoccupied with the world that you have failed to perform prayer with the Prophet! What has happened to your previous spirituality?” Sa’d said, “Shall I waste my property? I have no option! I have to sell my goods to people and receive the price and to purchase goods from people and pay for them!”
The Holy Prophet (S) thus became sadder for Sad than before when he was poor and indigent. At this time, Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet saying,“O Muhammad! Allah is aware of your sorrow for Sad. Which one do you like best, the former or the present condition?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “The former conditions, for he is in a situation now that this world has ruined his hereafter.” Gabriel said, “Tell Sa’d to return the two dirhams you gave him. When he does so, he will be back to his former conditions.”
So the Holy Prophet (S) went to Sa’d and told him affectionately,“O Sa’d! Don’t you want to return our two dirhams?” Sad said, “Yes, I will, along with two hundred dirhams!” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Only those two dirhams!” Sa’d gave the two dirhams back to the Holy Prophet and soon he lost what he had gained. Thus, he returned to the former situation.7
Kindness against Ingratitude
Quoting Imam Ali, Imam Musa al-Kazim (AS) reports:
The Holy Prophet was always benevolent and benefactor yet he was never appreciated by people. He was kind to Quraysh, Arabs and non-Arabs. We Ahl al-Bayt are the benefactors but our benefaction is not appreciated. The chosen believers too are like us.8
Reporting Imam al-Sadiq, Abu-Basir narrates:
Allah’s Messenger would always eat like a servant; sit on the earth like a servant and act upon the fact that he was a servant of Allah.9