Today let's take a look at the story of the kindness of a wealthy man called Ibn Jad’aan who lived many centuries ago.
Ibn Jad'an had many camels, then the ultimate wealth of the Arabs. One day as he was inspecting his camels, he noticed a particularly healthy she-camel whose udder was so full of milk. He immediately remembered his poor neighbour and his family who hardly had anything to eat. So he said to himself that he would give the she-camel out and her calf as Sadaqa (charity) to this neighbour.
He took her along with her calf and knocked on the door of the neighbour and told him to accept it as a gift from him. The neighbour’s face broke into happiness and gratitude, but he was so overwhelmed he was unable to utter anything. The poor family tremendously benefitted from the she-camel’s milk.
As usual with Bedouin nomads, after the spring had passed, the dry summer would come with its drought and they would have to begin looking far and wide for water, which was usually found in the duhool (plural of duhul, or ‘holes in the earth’), situated underground leading to water traps underneath the ground.
Ibn Jad’aan and his three sons found one such waterhole. He entered into it so as to bring some water to drink while the sons waited outside. However he did not return. They waited for him for three days and finally became hopeless. They thought he might have been stung by a snake and had died.
As it so happened, they were keen on his demise for their greed to take over his wealth. So they returned home and divided their father’s wealth. Then they remembered the she-camel. They went to the neighbour and asked for its return, promising to give him another camel in place of it, or they would take it by force. The neighbour said that he would report them to their father. They laughed and informed him that he had died. He inquired as to how and where Ibn Jad’aan had died and they told him. The neighbour said: “Please take me there! And take your she-camel. I don’t want anything from you in return!”
They took him to the waterhole and left him there. He brought a rope, tied it to a tree outside the hole and to his waist, and then stepped into the hole crawling on his back. Eventually the smell of moisture became closer, and then all of sudden he heard the sound of a man by the water groaning and moaning. He went closer and closer towards this sound in the darkness, putting his hands out all over, until his hand fell on a man. It was Ibn Jad’aan! He checked his breath and found he was still breathing after one week! He pulled him out slowly, covering his eyes so as to protect him from the sudden sunlight. He carried him to his house and nurtured him back to health without telling the sons.
After Ibn Jad’aan’s strength had returned, the neighbour asked him: “Tell me, by Allah, how come one week underground and you didn’t die?”
“I will tell you something very strange,” Ibn Jidaan said, “I got lost, so I said to myself I had better stay close to the water. So I started to drink from it, but hunger had no mercy and water alone does not suffice. For three days, my hunger intensified. While I was lying on my back weak from hunger, I surrendered myself to Allah and put all my affairs in His hands. All of a sudden, I felt the warmth of milk pouring into my mouth. It was dark, and did not know where it was coming from. I drank from it until my hunger abated!
This occurred three times a day. But then as suddenly as it had come, the milk stopped these last two days, and I didn’t know what happened. My hunger then returned.”
His neighbour, full of surprise, said: “If you know the reason why the milk stopped you will be amazed! Your sons thought you had died and they came to me and took away the she-camel which Allah was giving you from its milk! But Allah saved you for your original kindness.”
Allah had stated in the Qur’an: “...And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” - [Surah At-Talaaq, Q65: 3]. Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace, had said, “Sadaqa extinguishes sins as water extinguishes fire; it appeases Allah’s anger and averts evil. And even a smile in your brother’s face is sadaqa.”