Story 11: The Holy Prophet (S) And The Bedouin

A nomadic, rough Arab arrived in Madinah and made his way towards the mosque in the hope of getting some gold and silver from the Messenger of Allah (S). When he entered the mosque, the Holy Prophet (S) was among a group of friends and companions. The man put forward his request and asked for charity.

The Holy Prophet (S) gave him something, but he was not pleased and considered it less than what he expected. In addition, he uttered harsh words and yelled out, insulting the Messenger of Allah (S). The companions lost their temper and were about to harm him, but the Holy Prophet (S) prohibited them.

Later, the Prophet (S) took the bedouin to his own home and extended him hospitality. The bedouin noticed the status of the Holy Prophet's (S) living conditions, which did not resemble that of any of the chiefs or governors that he had ever seen before. Neither gold nor wealth accumulated there.

Thus, the bedouin expressed his thanks and satisfaction.

Meanwhile the Holy Prophet (S) said to him, “You uttered harsh words yesterday, which provoked the anger of my companions. I am afraid you may be violated by them. Now that you have thanked me and said kind words in my presence, could you repeat the same words in front of my companions so as to ease the anger and the wrath which they had towards you?”

The bedouin said, “I have no objection.”

The following day he came to the mosque, while all were present. The Holy Prophet (S) turned the face towards his companions and said, “This man claims that he is pleased with me. Am I right?”

The bedouin replied, “Yes! You are right.” And he repeated the same words that he uttered privately with the Holy Prophet (S). The companions of the Holy Prophet (S) started smiling and were happy.

The Holy Prophet (S) then, turned to his companions and said, “My example with such persons is like the man whose camel was startled and ran away. People began shouting and running after the camel, thinking that this would help the camel’s owner, but the camel kicked more and ran away faster. The owner of the camel said, “I ask of you to let my camel be at ease. I know better how to calm it.” Once he kept people back from its pursuit, he picked up a handful of herbs and stood calmly in front of the camel. Without running or shouting, he slowly moved towards the camel and showed the herbs. Then he easily grasped the bridle of his camel and set off on his way.”

The Holy Prophet (S) added, “If I had let you free yesterday, surely you would have killed this poor bedouin and with such a bad attitude! But I stood between you and him, and treated him kindly and gently.”1

  • 1. Kuhl Al-Basar Fi Sirat Sayyid Al-Bashar, Muhaddith al-Qummi, p. 70.