He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, encouraged them to spend in charity:
‘Aa’ishah narrated that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to her: “O ‘Aa’ishah, shield yourself from the Hellfire even by spending as little as half a date.”
The intended meaning of “half a date” is to encourage spending even if it is something little. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, encouraged her to protect herself from the fire of Hell by performing an act of worship, even if it appears insignificant. No matter how little the amount one spends, it will still shield him from Hell.
“Once a beggar came asking for charity while the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was with me, so I instructed (the servant) to give him something. However, before it was given to him I called the servant to show me what she was going to give him before she gives it to him (so she knows how much would be remaining to her). The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to her: “O ‘Aa’ishah, are you keen on knowing what goes in your house and that nothing leaves [is spent in charity] except with your knowledge [i.e. the amount]?” I said: ‘Yes.’ He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “O ‘Aa’ishah, spend [charitably] and do not hoard; otherwise, Allah will withhold from you.”
Ibn Hajar (a scholar) said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, instructed in this narration not to prevent charity out of fear that wealth would run out, because it (not spending in charity) is actually one of the means that lead to one becoming deprived from his provisions being blessed. This is so, because Allah rewards generously for the charity one spends. The result will be that Allah will provide the one who does not enumerate when spending in charity without an end and from means he never expects (to receive provisions from).”
Another example illustrating how the Prophet of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, trained his wives to be generous and spend in charity is that of the slaughtered sheep. ‘Aa’ishah narrated: “Once we slaughtered a sheep (and spent from it in charity). The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, came later and asked: “How much is left of it?” I said: ‘It’s all gone except for the shoulder.’ He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Rather, it is all remaining except for its shoulder.”
Al-Mubaarakpoori (a scholar) said: “Meaning, what you spent in charity is, what is remaining (i.e. you will obtain reward for it), and what you kept for yourself is the part (of the animal) that is gone (consumed without obtaining reward for it). In this, he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was referring to the saying of Allah (which means),
«Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.»