Reflecting on his own painful past, full of afflictions, a man recalled how those bitter days had slipped away. The days when he was not even in a position to provide sustenance for his wife and innocent children. He mused on how a few words, which fell upon his ears three times, invigorated his soul, changed the course of his life, and rescued his whole family from being overwhelmed by poverty and calamity.
He was a companion of the Holy Prophet. Poverty and indigence had the upper hand on him. One day after reaching a dead end, he consulted with his family, and decided to go to the Holy Prophet (S), as his wife had suggested, to explain his situation and ask for financial assistance. With this intention he left his home, yet before he was able to make his request, the following words fell upon his ears, “We help whoever asks us for assistance, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel enriched and refrain from stretching out their hands to others.”
He returned home without uttering a single word. He found himself again face to face with the awful shadow of poverty over his dwelling. The next day, he hurriedly rejoined the assembly of the Holy Prophet (S) with the same intention. He heard the same words from the Holy Prophet (S), “We help whoever asks us for assistance, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel enriched and refrain from stretching out their hands to others.”
He returned home once again without putting forward his request. For the third time, he saw himself deep in the web of poverty, debility, misery, and helplessness. He decided once again to go to the assembly of the Holy Prophet (S) in order to put forward his request. Once again, the lips of the Prophet (S) moved and the same words were repeated, invigorating the heart and giving certainty to the soul.
This time, by hearing those words, the man felt more confident and realized that he had found the key to his problem. He left with more determination, thinking, “I will never ask for someone else’s help. I will rely on Allah and take advantage of the energy and capacity which exists in me, and I will pray to Him (Allah) for success in whatever I undertake and to provide for me.”
He thought about what kind of work would be suit him best. In such circumstances, he decided to go to the desert to gather firewood and sell it. He borrowed an axe, then he left for the desert. By gathering the firewood and selling it, he relished the fruits of his own labour. He continued working hard for the following days until he managed to buy an axe of his own, a beast of burden, and other tools with the money he gained. He continued working until he gained more capital and hired servants.
One day the Holy Prophet (S) met him with a smile on his lips. He (S) said, “We help whoever asks us for assistance, but Allah preserves the needs of those who feel free from want.”1
- 1. Usul al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 139 (Al-qina’a) and Safinat ul-Bihar (qana’a).