Umar RA reports that once a needy person came to ask Rasulullah SAW for his need.
Rasulullah SAW replied:
"I do not have anything at present. Go and purchase something on my behalf. When something arrives I will pay for it."
Umar RA said:
"O Messenger of Allah, whatever you possessed you have already given away. Allah Ta'ala did not make you responsible for that which is not in your means."
Rasulullah SAW felt annoyed at this saying of Umar RA.
Thereupon a person from among, the Ansar said:
"Ya Rasulullah, spend whatever you wish, and do not fear any lessening from the Lord of the Arsh (Throne)". (That Great Deity that is the Lord of the Arsh, nothing will decrease in His Bounties by giving you.)
Rasulullah SAW smiled and the happiness could be seen on his face due to the saying of the Ansari.
Rasulullah SAW then said:
"Allah Ta'ala has commanded me to do this."
Rasulullah SAW also commanded Bilal bin Rabah RA to do this. Abu Hurairah RA says Rasulullah SAW once saw a heap of dates made by Bilal RA.
Rasulullah SAW asked, "what is this?"
Bilal RA replied: "I have kept it for my future needs".
Rasulullah SAW said:
"Do you not fear that because of this, tomorrow on the Day of Qiyamah, the smoke of Jahannam will reach you."
After this Rasulullah SAW also said:
"Spend O Bilal, and do not fear the Lord of the 'Arsh, that it will become less."
Verily O Muslims, brothers and sisters!
Who has the strength to cover all the incidents of the generosity of Rasulullah SAW?
For his (SAW) generosity it was not necessary that he possessed something. It was the general practice of Rasulullah SAW to take a loan and spend on the needy, as is mentioned in the Hadith under discussion.
Bilal RA was once asked:
"What was the method of the expenditure of Rasulullah SAW?"
He replied: "Rasulullah SAW did not keep anything. Till the end I was responsible for handling it. It was his (SAW) noble habit that when a person accepted Islam and came to him and if he saw this person unclothed, he (SAW) commanded me to clothe that person. I would obtain a loan from somewhere and purchase clothing and food for that person.
Once a person from the mushrikeen (polytheists) came to me, and began saying that I have a lot of wealth, whatever loan you may need take it from me, and it is not necessary to take a loan from anyone else. I began to obtain loans from him. One day I performed wudhu and as I was preparing to call out the adhaan, I saw that mushrik (polytheist) coming with a few merchants.
Upon seeing me he began to say: "O Habshi."
I replied: "I am present."
He began to swear at me in a cynical manner, and asked: "How many days are left till the end of this month?"
I replied: "The month is nearly ending."
He said: "Four days are left. If you do not pay your loans by that time. I will make you a slave in lieu of my debt. The way you were grazing sheep before in slavery, your position will become the same."
Bilal bin Rabah RA says: "Whatever becomes of a person as a result of such threats, the same overtook me."
After Isyak I came in the presence of Rasulullah SAW and narrated the whole incident to him, then I said: "There is no way to pay this debt so quickly, nor do you have anything nor do I have anything - I will (therefore) hide away. When you pay the debt I will come out, otherwise, that mushrik will disgrace me very much."
Before the morning prayers a person came running to me and said that Rasulullah SAW is calling you. When I presented myself, Rasulullah SAW said: "Allah Ta'ala has made a means to pay your debt. These four camels are standing, and are laden with gifts sent by the ruler of Fadak. I paid the full debt that morning, and informed Rasulullah SAW that Allah Ta'ala has freed you from debts.
Rasulullah SAW asked: "Is there anything left from the gifts or not?"
I replied: "A little is left'."
Rasulullah SAW said: "Distribute it, so that I may be at ease."
The evening fell and yet there was some left. After Ishak (solat) Rasulullah SAW inquired again, upon which I replied: "The needy ones did not arrive, there is still some left."
Thereupon Rasulullah SAW spent the night in the masjid and did not go home.
The next day after Isyak he (SAW) inquired again, whereupon I replied:
"Allah Ta'ala has freed you from its responsibilities. Everything has been distributed."
Rasulullah SAW then thanked Allah, and went to his (SAW) home.
(Riwayat Abu Dawud)