Story #9: The Late-comer of Caravan

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In the darkness of night, from a very far distance, they heard a voice of a young man screaming. He was imploring and demanding help. His weak and scrawny camel had remained behind the caravan and lagged entirely. He finally, exhausted, stretched out and slept. He did what he could for moving his camel, but it was in vain. Helplessly standing beside the camel, he was yelling for help. Meanwhile, the Holy Prophet, who usually moved behind – in the end of the caravan so that a weak and helpless person who parted from the caravan, would not remain alone or helpless – heard the yelling voice of the young man. As the Prophet approached him, he asked: “Who are you?”

“I am Jabir.”

“Why were you kept waiting and wondering?”

“O Messenger of Allah! The only reason was that my camel got exhausted.”

“Did you have a walking stick?”

“Yes.”

“Give it to me.”

The Holy Prophet took the stick and with its help made the camel move forward and kneel. Then he made his hands a stirrup and said to Jabir to “mount his camel.”

Jabir mounted the camel, and they made their way together while Jabir’s camel moved faster. Throughout the way, the Holy Prophet did not stop showing his kindness towards Jabir, whereas Jabir counted and realized that the Holy Prophet had prayed twenty-five times for the remission of his sins.

On the way, the Prophet asked Jabir: “How many children have been left from your father, Abdullah?”

“Seven girls and a boy, myself.”

“Has your father left any debts?”

“Yes.”

“Well, when you return to Madinah, make an arrangement with the creditors, and at the plucking season of the dates, inform me!”

“All right.”

“Did you marry?”

“Yes.”

“To whom?”

“To Mrs. so-and-so, daughter of so-and-so, one of the widows of Madinah.”

“Why didn’t you marry to a young girl of your age?”

“O Messenger of Allah, having so many young and inexperienced sisters, I didn’t marry to a young inexperienced woman. I preferred to choose a mature woman for marriage.”

“You did your best. How much did you buy this camel?”

“Five ounces of gold.”

“I’ll purchase it from you at this price. When you arrive in Madinah, come and take the money from me!”

The journey came to an end and they arrived in Madinah. Jabir brought the camel to submit to the Holy Prophet. He ordered Bilal to give Jabir five ounces of gold for the price of his camel, and in addition to that, three ounces more so that he may pay the debts of his father, Abdullah. He also returned back his camel.

Then the Prophet asked Jabir: “Did you make a contract with the creditors?”

Jabir: “No, O Messenger of Allah!”

“What your father has left is enough for his debts?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah!”

“Inform me at the plucking season of the dates!”

The season of harvest arrived. He informed the Messenger of Allah. The Holy Prophet came and settled all the debts and left enough for Jabir’s family.

Source: Murtada Mutahhari, THE NARRATIVES OF THE VERACIOUS, Story 34.

Financial Lessons of the Story:

  1. The need to settle one’s debt.
  2. Preservation of one’s self-esteem and personal integrity. Instead of just paying Jabir’s debt which will negatively affect his self-esteem, the Holy Prophet bought some items (camel and date fruits) from him so that he could settle his debt out of that money.
  3. Utilization of one’s energy and talent to earn for a living.
  4. To be self-reliant and not to rely on others even for a small thing.
  5. Looking for livelihood for one’s family in order not to depend on others is a form of worship (‘ibadah).
  6. The Leader is supposed to serve as a model by helping his follower to settle his debt.

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