Once when speaking about the elders of Hatora, Hazrat Qari Siddeeq Ahmad Baandwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) mentioned, that in those days poverty was the order of the day. Every home suffered with hunger. There were also some servants of Allah Ta‘ala whom He had blessed with abundance. They would look after the poor, see to the orphans and widows, etc. There was one person by the name of Muhammad Ilyaas, whom Qari Siddeeq Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) used to often speak about. He built a warehouse opposite the musjid which he filled with grain from time to time. It was his habit to take a survey of the village and give out grains to those people who did not have any food. This generosity of his was not only confined towards the Muslims, but he would look after the needs of the non-Muslims in the same way.
He would give many people grains on loan and would say to them that you can pay me back when you harvest your crops. Many of them would not even pay him back after the harvesting period was over. He would then say to them, “Very well, bring to me the same amount in the form of berries from the jungles. The jungles used to be full of berries and any person could obtain as much as he wished. This was only his kindness upon them that in this manner he would relieve them of the burden of debt.
Qari Siddeeq Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) mentioned regarding this same elder that it was his practice that before the Fajr Salaah he would take a walk in the village. In those days people had to grind the flour with their hands because there were no machines to grind flour. In most of the homes the women would grind the flour before Fajr Salaah. Hence before Fajr Salaah one could hear the sounds of the grinding stones. This pious person would go around the houses and wherever he did not hear the sounds of the grinding stones he made a mental note of those homes. After Fajr Salaah he would ask the people of those homes why they were not grinding flour. If they were in need they would maintain silence and hang their heads in shame. This buzurg would understand and instruct his servants to deliver grain to their homes.
Qari Siddeeq Saheb (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) had mentioned, “I had seen this warehouse with my own eyes. It would always be filled with grains. These were the wealthy and pious elders of those days.” May Allah Ta‘ala grant us all the taufeeq (ability) to follow in the beautiful example of our pious predecessors, aameen.