‘Umaarah bin Hazm (rahimahullah) narrates the following incident from Sayyiduna Ubayy bin Ka’b (radhiyallahu ‘anhu):
On one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent me to collect the zakaat that was due on the people’s wealth. While collecting zakaat from the people, I passed by a Sahaabi who also needed to discharge his zakaat. Accordingly, this Sahaabi gathered all his camels and presented them to me so that I could calculate the zakaat due on the camels. After examining the camels, I determined that his zakaat on the camels amounted to a single one-year old she-camel.
I thus said to him, “You need to discharge a single one-year old she-camel as this is the zakaat due on your camels.” Hearing this, the man replied, “A one-year old she camel neither gives milk, nor can it be used as a conveyance (hence, there is very little benefit in it). Instead of a one-year old she camel, here is a young, strong, large and fat she camel. Take this camel.” I replied, “I cannot take that which I was not instructed to take. However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is nearby. If you wish to go to him and present to him what you presented to me, you may do so. If Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) accepts your offer (to give a better camel in zakaat), I will take the camel from you, but if he does not accept your offer, I will not take the camel.”
The man replied, “I will do as you suggest.” He thus accompanied me to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), bringing with him the superior camel that he wished to give in zakaat. When we came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he addressed him saying, “O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Your messenger came to me to collect the zakaat due on my wealth. By the oath of Allah! Neither Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) nor the messenger of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) have ever collected the zakaat due on my wealth before (i.e. this is the first time that I am fortunate enough to discharge zakaat on my animals). I thus gathered all my animals for your messenger who claimed that I only have to discharge a single one-year old she camel. However, such a camel neither provides milk nor can it be used as a conveyance. I presented him with a large, strong camel and asked him to take it, but he refused. Here is the camel, I have brought it to you, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Please accept it from me.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “It is only a single one-year old she camel that is compulsory upon you. However, if you wish to voluntarily give a better camel, Allah Ta‘ala will reward you for it and we will accept it from you.” The man said, “Here it is, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), so accept it from me!” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thus accepted it from him, gave the instruction for the camel to be taken from him, and made special du‘aa for this Sahaabi to be blessed with barakah in his wealth.
Many years later, during the period of the rule of Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umaarah bin Hazm (rahimahullah) was sent to this very same Sahaabi to collect his zakaat. At this time, the zakaat due on the camels of this Sahaabi was 30 three-year old camels, as he now owned 1500 camels in total! (This was on account of the special du‘aa for barakah that Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam] had made for him.)
(Sunan Abi Dawood #1583 and Musnad Ahmad #21280)
1. The sign of true love and devotion is that a person happily and wholeheartedly goes the extra mile. Imagine asking a person to lend you a pot to cook biryani, and instead he gives you a pot of hot, steaming, fragrant biryani! At that moment, one will undoubtedly feel gratitude and develop love for the person who ‘went the extra mile’. Similarly, we should not suffice on merely fulfilling the faraa-idh (obligations). Rather, we should go the ‘extra mile’, as this draws the special love and blessing of Allah Ta‘ala.
2. When giving something in the path of Allah Ta‘ala, we should ensure that it is fit to be given in His path. It should not be rotten, broken, unusable, or tattered. The better the item that we give, the greater our reward will be.
3. When the Sahaabi offered to give a better camel in zakaat, Ubayy (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) refused to accept it as he did not know whether it was allowed or not. Hence, he insisted that they refer the matter to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Likewise, we should refer all matters in our Deen to the righteous, knowledgeable ‘Ulama so that we can get guidance and direction in our lives.
4. There is no value that can be attached to barakah. When a person is blessed with barakah, his life will be one of happiness and posterity. We should thus try to please Allah Ta‘ala at all times so that we do not deprive ourselves of His barakah.