Sayyiduna Sa‘eed bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was a Sahaabi of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who was well known for his austerity and disinterest in the dunya. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had appointed him as the governor over Hims.
His disinterest in wealth was such that when he would receive his monthly stipend from the Baytul Maal, he would set aside the amount that his dependents required to fulfil their needs and would then give the remainder in sadaqah.
On one occasion, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came to the city of Hims and asked the residents how they found their governor, Sayyiduna Sa‘eed bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). The people responded by placing before Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) four complaints regarding their governor.
Their first complaint was, “He does not emerge from his home to attend to us until the sun is high and a portion of the day has passed.” Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “This is indeed serious.”
Their second complaint was, “He does not attend to anyone during the night.” Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “This too is grave.”
Their third complaint was, “In every month, there is one day during which he does not leave his house to see to our affairs.” Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “This is also serious.”
Their fourth complaint was, “Every now and again, he is overcome by a fit of unconsciousness.”
To address their complaints, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) called for Sayyiduna Sa‘eed bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and also made the following du‘aa, “O Allah! Do not let any of the complaints against him today prove to be justified!”
When Sayyiduna Sa‘eed bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) arrived, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) laid the first complaint before him, that he does not emerge from his home to attend to the people until the sun is high and a portion of the day has passed. He responded, “By Allah! I disliked mentioning the reason for this to any person! The reason is that we do not have a servant. I thus personally knead the dough, sit and wait for it to rise, and thereafter bake the bread. Once the bread is prepared, I perform wudhu and leave my home to attend to the people’s needs.”
When the second complaint was laid before him, that he does not attend to anyone during the night, he responded, “I also dislike divulging the reason for this! The reason is that I have dedicated my day to the service of the people and my night to the ‘ibaadah of Allah Ta‘ala.”
On hearing the third complaint, that there is a day in which he does not leave his home to attend to the people, he replied, “The reason is that I neither have a servant to wash my clothing, nor do I possess a second set of clothing into which I can change. Hence, on the day that I do not leave my home to attend to them, I remove my clothing, wash it, wait for it to dry and clean it. I thereafter wear the clothing and leave my home, at the end of the day.”
Finally, when the last complaint was presented to him, that he sometimes falls unconscious, he said, “I had witnessed the execution of the Ansaari Sahaabi, Sayyiduna Khubaib (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), in Makkah Mukarramah. The Quraish had cut sections of his flesh from his body and had raised and tied him to a trunk. They then asked him, “Do you not wish that Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was in your place?” he replied, “By Allah! I do not even wish that I was with my family and children and Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) suffered from a thorn prick!” He then shouted out (in love for Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]), “O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!” Whenever I remember that day, and think of how I did not render him any assistance, as I was a disbeliever at the time, I am seized by such remorse and regret that I am completely overcome and sometimes fall unconscious.”
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), through his intuition, had felt confident that the complaints against Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) were unjustified. Now that the reality had come to light, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thanked Allah Ta‘ala and said, “All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala who allowed my intuition to remain accurate and correct.”
Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter sent a thousand dinaars (gold coins) to him with the message that the money was for him to use for his needs. On seeing the money, his wife exclaimed, “All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala who has given us wealth due to which we will no longer require you to attend to our needs!” Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “Do you want to receive something even better than this? Why don’t we give this money to a person for safekeeping so that he can bring it to us when we need it the most?” The wife agreed to his proposal.
Thereafter, Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) called a person he regarded to be reliable, divided the money into small parcels which he tied and entrusted them to him in confidence saying, “Go and distribute this money among the widows of such-and-such family, and the orphans of such-and-such family, and the destitute of such-and-such family, and those who are in difficulty in such-and-such family.”
Eventually, only a small piece of gold remained. He handed it to his wife and said, “Use this for our needs.” He then returned to fulfilling his responsibilities in the home. Seeing him attending to the needs of the home, his wife asked, “Are you not acquiring a servant for us? What happened to the wealth (which you entrusted for safekeeping)?” Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) answered, “That wealth will come to you when you need it the most (i.e. you will receive the reward for spending this wealth in charity on the Day of Qiyaamah, when you require the reward the most).”
(Sifatus Safwah vol. 1, pg. 256)
1. When the people of Hims complained to Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), then even though he knew, in his heart, that the complaints would not be justified, and that Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would have a valid reason, he still ensured that he called him and placed the complaints before him. In this way, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would hear both sides of the story, and Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would have a chance to clarify the matter and clear his name. Hence, people would no longer wrongly hold a negative opinion of him. Thereafter, there would be no grounds for people to complain, and the potential of dissent would also be quelled.
2. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) understood that money and wealth are merely means to the end of fulfilling one’s needs and requirements. Hence, Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would only keep aside the amount of money that his family required and would give the rest of his monthly allowance in charity, hoping to bring comfort to others and secure an investment in the Hereafter. If we cannot manage this, then at the very least, we should give some amount in charity and should not be consumed by the greed for wealth, where obtaining and enjoying wealth becomes the goal in life and our Deeni obligations are neglected.
3. Sayyiduna Sa‘eed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was particular about his time and ensured that he gave everybody their due share of his time. Hence, he made time for the people, he made time for assisting his family with the chores of the home and he made time for ‘ibaadat. Furthermore, he did not allow one to encroach on the other. Creating this balance is vitally important so that one’s children and family are not neglected, and similarly so that one has sufficient time set aside for connecting with Allah Ta‘ala.
4. After the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam), the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were the greatest people to set foot on the surface of the earth. However, they never felt it below their dignity to wash their own clothing, prepare their own food and personally attend to the needs of their families.