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Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:29 am

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In pre-Islamic Arabia, people were divided into tribes and clans continually at war with one another. The rivalry among them was so intense that, for example, Abu Jahl, the arch-enemy of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, once acknowledged:

'I know that Muhammad is a Prophet. However, we—the Banu Makhzum—and the Hashimites have competed in all affairs. They have commanded armies, so have we. They have offered food and drink to pilgrims, so have we. They have carried the standard of the Quraysh, so have we. But now, they have one who claims that he receives tidings from the heavens. Since another similar one will not arise among us, I will never believe in him.

However, the Qur'an came, forbidding discrimination on the basis of race or color or tribe, and enjoining all believers to be as brothers: Surely, all believers are brothers, so reconcile your brothers and fear God, so that you may deserve mercy.

History has never seen another era more blessed than the age of the Prophet when people treated one another more lovingly and sincerely than brothers in blood.

When the Makkan Muslims had to emigrate to Madina, the Madinan Muslims, who would be called the Helpers, welcomed their Makkan brothers in religion so warmly that they shared with them whatever they had. The Messenger established brotherhood among them. He made Sa'd ibn al-Rabi' a brother with 'Abd al-Rahman ibn 'Awf. Sa'd ibn al-Rabi' took 'Abd al-Rahman to his house and, presenting his two wives, said:

— Brother, you came here only for God's sake leaving whatever you had in Makka. This is my house and these are my wives. You can use my house and whatever is in it just as you wish. You may also choose one of my wives. If she agrees, I will divorce her so that you may marry her.

'Abd al-Rahman answered:

— Brother, may God bless your house and your wives! Please show me the way to the market. There I'll buy a rope and use it to bundle wood to sell in the market.

Abu Talha, who was among the Helpers, was in the Mosque while the Messenger was communicating to his Companions the newly revealed verse: You will never be able to attain (the rank of) perfect goodness unless you give (as charity) out of what you love. Abu Talha stood up and said: 'What I love the most among my worldly belongings is my orchard of 600 date-palm trees, which you know. As of now, it is no longer mine; I put it at your disposal. You can use it as you wish. You can share it among the poor just as you wish.'

Then he left for home. His wife Umm Sulaym was sitting under a tree in that same orchard. She called to her husband who remained standing outside the wall surrounding the orchard:

— Abu Talha, why are you standing there? Come here!
— I cannot. You must take your things and leave the orchard!
— Why?
— This orchard is no longer ours. It belongs to the poor people of Madina.
— Did you give it as charity only on your own behalf or on behalf of us both?
— On behalf of us both.
— May God be pleased with you. Whenever I saw the poor, I wondered whether we ought not to give this orchard as charity to them, but I dared not say that to you as I did not know whether you would be willing to do that. May God accept good from us. I am just leaving.



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