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Nafl Haj or Charity

MAW Daily Newsletter Published:
Monday 25 Jumaadal Ukhra 1429 / 30 June 2008

Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak Rahimahullah was a pious scholar, jurist and saint. He was born in the Marw, present day Turkmenistan in the year 118 Hijri. Amongst his many good qualities he was also very generous. He performed Haj many times and would frequently pay for all the expenses of his fellow Haajis, including their transport expenses as well as any gifts they wanted to purchase from the blessed lands of Makkah and Madinah. Once he was on his way to perform Haj when a bird that they had been carrying died. He ordered that it be disposed off at the dumps as it could not be consumed (because it was carrion). This was accordingly done. However, as he continued his journey he noticed a little girl approaching from a nearby house. She picked up the dead bird, wrapped it in a piece of cloth and rushed home with it. He approached her and asked why she had done so.

She replied : “My brother and I have but one piece of clothing. We have no food except that which we find thrown at the dumps. Carrion has become permissible for us to consume for a number of days now (due to abject poverty). Our father was a rich man but his wealth was taken from him oppresively and he was killed.”

Ibn al-Mubarak ordered that from the thousand dinaars he had with him for the journey, twenty dinaars be kept aside for his return journey to Marw. The remainder he handed over to the girl saying : “This is better than our (Nafl) Haj for this year.” (Al Bidaayah Wan Nihaayah, vol. 10, p 178)

A similar story is mentioned regarding the saint Rabee Ibn Sulaiman Rahimahullah. While travelling on Haj he saw a poor woman cutting pieces of meat from a dead mule. He followed her to her home where he found four young girls virtually starving to death. Upon enquiry he learnt that they were from the family of Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam and they had not eaten anything for four days. They were now forced to consume carrion due to fear of starvation. Rabee returned with tears in his eyes and informed his companions that he had changed his mind. He would be returning home. Despite their best efforts he could not be persuaded otherwise. He purchased food and clothes and gave these together with a sum of money to the poor family. Rabee Rahimahullah remained in Kufa while the rest of the haajis left for Haj. When they returned he went out to meet them and request for their duas. They were surprised when he asked them for duas, saying that they had seen him in Arafah, Mina, Makkah and Madinah. One Haji gave him a bag saying : “You gave me this bag in Madinah as a trust after the ziyarah of the Rawdha Mubarak. On the bag was the following inscription : ‘Whoever deals with us, shall profit.’ ”

Rabee Rahimahullah had never seen this bag before but took it home. That night he saw Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam in a dream. Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam told him that he had been pleased when he had assisted the family and had made dua that Allah grants him a greater reward than his kindness. Allah had in turn ordered an angel to to perform Haj in his place and had given him six hundred gold coins as a reward for the six hundred dirhams he had given to the family. When Rabee Rahimahullah awakened from his sleep he found the gold coins in the bag he had been given. (Virtues of Haj, Sheikh Zakariyya, p324)


A Nafl Haj carries great reward but seeing to the needs of the poor and destitute sometimes carries an even greater reward and is more pleasing to Allah.