The Needy and the Rich
Prophet Muhammad (S), the Messenger of Allah, was sitting in his house as usual. His companions and friends were sitting around him in such a way that it seemed there was a bezel (Precious stone) in the centre of the ring. At this moment, a poor Muslim, dressed in rags entered the audience of the Prophet (S) keeping in view, the Islamic traditions – in the light of which everyone is considered equal – and as per the etiquette of the session, the newcomer should sit in the vacant place he finds; and he should not think that such and such a place was not suitable according to his status and prestige. Therefore, that poor man started searching for a vacant place.
He looked in all the four directions and then found a vacant place in a corner. So, with perfect silence, he sat at that place. Incidentally, a rich man was already sitting next to him. Seeing this poor Muslim sitting next to him, the rich man pulled his costly clothes and shifted aside. The Messenger (S) of Allah was keenly observing all this.
Seeing this behaviour of the rich man, the Prophet (S) of Islam said to him: “Were you afraid that his poverty and pauperism would cast its shadow on you?”
v “No, O Messenger of Allah! No!”
“Then what was the reason that on seeing this poor man, you shifted aside?” (asked Muhammad (S)).
“O Messenger (S) of Allah! I committed a mistake and I accept my mistake. I am ready to pay a ka f f arah (fine or expiation) for this sin of mine. And in the form of kaffarah, I want to give one-half of my wealth to this poor and needy brother of mine.”
Hearing the remarks of the rich man, the poor man said: “But I am not at all ready to accept this wealth.”
All the people sitting in the audience of the Messenger (SA) of Allah, enquired: “Why after all?!”
(The poor man replied:) “I am afraid that the abundance of the wealth might not make me also so proud that I too start behaving with my poor Muslim brothers in the similar manner as this fellow did with me.”