Hadhrat Abu Zar reprimands his servant

Abu Zar RA The piety and abstinence
Hadhrat Abu Zar was well known for his piety and abstinence. He kept no money on himself and likewise did not like others to hoard it. He was always fighting against the rich class. Therefore, Hadhrat Uthman during his caliphate advised him to shift to Rabzah a small village in the desert).
He had a few camels to live on and an old servant to look after them. A tribesman from Banu Sulaim once presented himself with a request: “I wish to stay with you to benefit from your knowledge of Allah’scommandments and Nabi’s SAW ways and habits. I shall also help your servant in looking after the camels.”

Hadhrat Abuzar replied: “I cannot keep a person with me who does not comply with my wishes, but if you will always do as instructed, then you may remain with me, otherwise I wish you good-bye.”

The person asked: “In what way would you like me to carry out your wishes.” Hadhrat Abu Zar replied: “When I ask you to spend from my belongings, you are required to spend the best of them.” The person says, “I accepted Hadhrat Abu Zar’s condition and stayed on with him. One day, somebody informed him that there were some poor folk camping near the spring close- by and were in dire need of food. He asked me to fetch a camel. I accordingly went and intended to select the best of the lot, as I had pledged to do. 
Mosque of Abu Zar Al Ghifari in Madinah @ courtesy of Mohsin Photo
It was a very kind and submissive animal which was good for riding, so I decided to leave it and selected the second best. After all, it was only going to be slaughtered and eaten and for this purpose it was just as good as the other. The other one was very good for riding and much more useful to Hadhrat Abu Zar and his family, while the poor would find one as tasty as the other. I therefore led the other camel to Hadhrat Abu Zar .

He retorted: ‘So, after all you have broken your promise.’Knowing well what he meant, I turned back and fetched the best camel instead. He addressed the people about him, ‘I want two persons to do a job for Allah .’ As two persons volunteered themselves, he asked them to go and slaughter the camel and distribute the meat equally among the families camping near the water, including his own, saying, ‘My family will also share equally with the rest.’

The volunteers carried out his instructions. He then sent for me and asked: ‘Did you intentionally ignore my instructions about spending the best out of my belongings, or did you just happened to forget about it?’ I replied: ‘I did not forget your instructions, but thought it better to preserve the one for transport duties, while the other was as good for eating.’

Abuzar asked: ‘Did you leave it for my personal need?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. Then Hadhrat Abuzar  advised me: ‘Come; let me tell you the occasion of my needs. That is the day when I shall be laid alone in the loneliness of the grave. Remember, there are three partners in your wealth, firstly your destiny, which does not wait to take away its share, good or bad; it will take away all that it has to take, secondly your heirs, who are waiting for the day of your death, so that they may take over their share and thirdly yourself. If you can manage, don’t be the most helpless of the three partners. Take your full share, while you can. Allah says:

“You will not attain piety until you spend of that which you love.”
(S3: V92)

I therefore think it advisable to send things which I love best in advance, so that they may be in safe deposit for me over there.’ The worst loser of the three partners is that man who does not spend his wealth in the path of Allah , and keeps postponing the event till at last fate takes it away from him, or he dies and his heirs takes it over. Very seldomly heirs give away the wealth, inherited from another person, in the path of Allah so that his soul may benefit by it. Nabi SAW  once remarked: “Man values his worldly belongings, hugging them to his soul, and boasting, ‘My wealth, my wealth,’ but in reality only that much of his wealth belongs to him, which he either enjoys in the form of food and dress or that which he spends in the path of Allah , which will be stored up for him in the hereafter. The remainder of his wealth belongs to others; he is acting only as a guardian.”

In another Hadith, it is reported that once Nabi SAW inquired of the Sahabah : “Which of you would like to see his wealth in the hands of his heirs rather than keeping it himself?”They replied: “Who would like to be such a person, O Nabi of Allah SWT?”

Thereupon Nabi SAW explained: “Whatever you send in advance by spending it in the path of Allah is yours, and whatever is left behind belongs to your heirs.”