A Thousand Camels of Grain

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following story is related by Shaykh Habibullah Mukhtar (r.a.) in his book, in the chapter of Generosity.

In the time when ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) was caliph, there was a severe famine.  The people of Madina were suffering due to a shortage of food.  A caravan made up of a thousand camels loaded with a large stock of food grain belonging to ‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) arrived from Sham.  Several merchants offered to buy all of it.  He asked them what profit they would pay.  “Five per cent,” they said.  He answered that he could get higher profit than that.  They began to argue with him, saying that they did not know of any merchant who would offer him more than their quote.

He said to them, “I know of one who repays a profit of more than seven hundred to a dirham.”  He then recited the following verse of the Noble Qur’an:

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain of corn: it groweth seven ears, and each ear hath a hundred grains.  Allah Giveth manifold increase to whom He Pleaseth; and Allah Careth for all and He Knoweth all things. (Surah al-Baqarah:261)

“O traders!  Bear witness with me that I donate all this to the poor people of Madina,” said ‘Utsman (r.a.).


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