Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tells us a very interesting story. This story is narrated by Abu Hurayrah in Sahih Muslim. One day, there is a man walking out in the wilderness. As he’s walking, he looks up and he notices that there is a cloud all by itself.
Then, what makes this even more interesting is that he hears a voice coming from that cloud saying:
“Irrigate the garden of so and so.”
So he says:
“I followed this cloud and I saw it stopped at a certain area. So all of the sudden, it started to pour down rain. What’s interesting about this is that the water came down on a flat surface, but it bounced off of that flat surface and it formed a stream.”
As he followed that stream down, he saw a man with a hatchet channeling the water into the different parts of his garden to make sure that each part of his garden got what it was supposed to get in regards to its portion.
So he said:
“I went to the man and asked about his name.”
The man said: “My name is so and so. Why are you asking?”
He said: “Because it’s the same name I heard from the cloud! What do you do with your garden?”
He said: “I look to see what comes out of it. I gave in charity one-third of it and keep a third of it for me and my family, then I reinvest the last third of it.”
Lessons from the Story
We can take so many lessons from this:
– There is no sustenance that will come to you without the permission of Allah, not a dollar in your bank account, or in your piggy bank even when you’re younger. Not a single drop of rain, not a single leaf will fall from a tree, nothing will come to you except by the permission of Allah.
Your sustenance is written down and it will come to you in ways that you don’t even know; and it will come to you from avenues that you possibly don’t even recognize. But Allah will continue to give sustenance to a person who is doing good.
– This person didn’t really have much. It wasn’t that this man had a huge garden, he wasn’t multi-millionaire… Because traditionally, when we talk about charity, you might be thinking to yourself, “I only make a few hundred dollars, and I’m still going to school, I’m not really doing much.”… You might be thinking to yourself, “How does this apply to me?”
Everyone looks at the doctor in the fundraisers and see how much the doctors are going to give. So we have to have these gory images and this sensationalism, or these really fancy masjids so a person can be motivated to give…
Obviously we can take from this hadith that this man is simple, but at the same time, with his giving, Allah continues to give him as he goes forward in life and his investment continues to grow. So Allah blesses him as He says in a sacred Hadith:
O son of Adam give and I will give you.
So the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us:
Whoever is not grateful with small things, will not be grateful for major things.
If you’re only making 20.000 $ a year and you’re not grateful with that, you’re not going to be grateful when you make a quarter of a million dollar a year…
That’s not the point here of generosity, the point here is that any time something good happens to you, give something for the sake of Allah; and at the same time you’re disciplined with your money, you invest it.
This hadith is teaching us that it’s Sunnah to invest; it’s Sunnah to build for your future in this world as well and not be reckless with your money.
This man is incredibly disciplined.
Prophet Muhammad said:
No one should receive a gift except that they give a portion of that gift for the sake of Allah. (Abu Dawud)
So whether it’s a gift, whether it’s an increase in your salary, whether you just got admitted into a really good program in school or college, make sure that you have a consistent charity that’s coming out of your income, no matter how small it is.
When anything good happens to you, or any increase comes in your life, make sure you have a set portion to give for the sake of Allah. That will keep you removed from greed; even as you move forward and as you grow into your careers and as you become more successful.