Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

Against Begging

Once a friend of the Prophet came to him and asked for some help. The Prophet asked him whether he possessed anything at all. He replied:

“I have only a cup to drink from, and a sheet of cloth, part of which I use for covering myself, and part of which I utilise for spreading on the bedstead.”

The Prophet sent for both the things and asked if there was anyone who would care to buy those two articles; they were sold for two dirhams (dirham is a coin). The Prophet addressed the friend thus:

“Here are the two dirhams; with one of them buy something to eat, and with the other buy a piece of rope and go into the woods and collect pieces of wood and sell them in the market.”

A fortnight passed, and the friend came to visit the Prophet again and informed him that he had saved fifteen dirhams, some of which he had used to buy cloth and with some he had purchased corn to eat. The Prophet said:

“Which is more commendable and praiseworthy… this or going on the Day of Judgement branded with the mark of begging?”

On another occasion, he said:

“Mind you, the upper hand is better than the one which is beneath it.”