We’VE all heard stories from the lives of the early Muslims with regard to their patience in poverty, their Zuhd (abstinence) and their general disdain for the trappings of this worldly life.
Yet in this age of plenty, our problem is dealing with excess, not figuring out how to make do with less, and this is why most of us fail to identify with the stories of want and deprivation. An alternative way to relate to the lives of early Muslims and inculcate some of the values they lived by, is to examine the lives of the rich among them.
• Khadijah Bint Khuwailid: Humility and service
She was the Mother of the Believers upon whom Allah Himself sent salutations through the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), who told the Prophet (peace be upon him): “ Khadijah is coming to you with a dish (of seasoned food or drink). When she comes to you, offer her greetings from her Lord, the Exalted and Glorious, and on my behalf, and give her glad tidings of a palace of jewels in Paradise wherein there is no noise and no toil. (Sahih Muslim) Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was among the wealthiest women of her time, who spent her considerable fortune in providing succor and support to the emerging community of Muslims.
During the three years of boycott suffered by the Muslims in Shi’b Abi Talib (a ravine near Makkah where the Muslims were isolated), she almost single-handedly got her agents to procure food and other essentials. Certainly, she must not have lacked for household help or servants, yet the fact that she carried the Prophet’s meal to him herself, speaks volumes about her humility and the esteem and love she had for her husband, the Prophet (peace be upon him).
• Uthman Bin Affan: Transactions with Allah
He was the Companion about whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “From this day on, nothing will harm Uthman (regardless of what he does).” What prompted the Prophet (peace be upon him) was that Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) outfitted a woefully under-equipped army (called the Jaysh Al-Usrah, Army of Hardship) that was setting out to confront the Romans who were amassing near Tabuk in the year 9 AH, with around 300 camels, a hundred horses and weapons (besides contributing thousands of dinars in money and gold).
In another instance, Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the rescue of the community when there was a severe shortage of water in Madina and the Muslims were obliged to purchase water at very high prices. He purchased a well of sweet water, called Ar-Rumah, and placed it at the disposal of the Muslims. For more read here.