It was a usual meeting. The Prophet (SAW) was in his place and his
companions gathered around him to hear the words of wisdom and
guidance. Suddenly a poor man in rags appeared, saluted the assembly:
“Salamun Alaikum” and finding a vacant place, comfortably sat down.
The Prophet (SAW) had taught them that all Muslims were brothers and
in an assembly one should sit wherever one finds a place, regardless
of any status. Now, it so happened that this poor man sat next to a
very rich man. The rich man felt disturbed and tried to collect the
edges of his dress around himself, so that the poor man did not touch
them. The Prophet (SAW) observed this and addressing the rich man he
said: “Perhaps you were afraid that his poverty would affect you?”
“No , O Messenger of Allah,” the rich man said.
“Then perhaps you were apprehensive about some of your wealth
flying away to him?” the Prophet (SAW) continued.
“No, O Messenger of Allah.” the rich man replied.
“Or you feared that your clothes would become dirty if he
touched them?” Prophet (SAW) said.
“No, O Messenger of Allah.” the rich man answered again.
“Then why did you draw yourself and your clothes away from
him?” the Prophet (SAW) finally said.
The rich man said: “I admit that was the most undesirable thing to
do. It was an error and I confess my guilt. Now to make amends for it,
I will give away half of my wealth to this Muslim brother so that I
may be forgiven.”
Just as he said this, the poor man rose and said: “O Prophet of Allah,
I do not accept his offer.”
People present were all taken by surprise. They thought the poor man was
a fool. But he explained: “O Prophet of Allah, I refuse to accept his
offer becouse I fear that I might then become arrogant and illtreat my
Muslim brother the way he did to me.”