Chapter 58: Permissibility of Assistance without Greed
538. salim, son of abdullah bin `umar, from his father abdullah; from `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) would give me some gift, but i would say: "give it to someone who needs it more than i.'' thereupon he (pbuh) would say, "take it when it comes to you without begging and without greed, and add it to your property. then use it yourself or give it away in charity. as for the rest, do not covet it.'' salim said: `abdullah bin `umar would never ask anything from anyone, nor would he refuse accepting it when it was given to him.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: in this hadith, three points merit our attention. first, there is an account of the exemplary character of the companions who became unmindful of their own needs when they saw that somebody else was more needy and deserved assistance. second, there is an allowance for accepting a gift provided one's heart is free from desire for it. third, a man is allowed to accumulate wealth but on the condition that he would fulfill his personal and family needs. besides, he should resolve that he would also spend money on the needy as well as on the lines approved by allah so as to win his pleasure.