When the command of 'Who is there that will lend' (Qur. 2:246) came down from God to the Prophet, everyone brought before the Prince what he could lay hands on, not disobeying,--gems and gold, cattle and slaves and goods, whatever they possessed at the time. Qais b. `Âsim was a poor man, for he sought no worldly gain. He went into his house, and spoke with his family, concealing nothing of what he had heard:--Such a verse has been revealed to-day; rise, and do not make me burn in waiting; bring whatever is to be had in the house, that I may present it before the Prince. His wife said, There is nothing in the house,--you are not a stranger here. Said he, Seek at least for something; whatever you find, bring it to me quickly.
She went and long searched the house, to see if by chance something would turn up; and found in the house a measure of dates, bad ones, and dried up, not fit for food, which she straightway brought to Qais, saying, We have nothing more than this. Qais put the dates in his sleeve, and brought them joyfully before the Prophet. When, not meaning a jest, but in all seriousness, he entered the mosque, one of the Hypocrites said to him, Bring it in; come, present quickly what thou hast brought; are they jewels, or gold, or silver, these valuables that thou art entrusting to the Prince? At this speech Qais suddenly became ashamed.
Look now what was the outcome. He went into a corner and sat down sorrowing, folding his hands together in shame. Gabriel
the trusty came from the sidra-tree and said, "O lord of time and earth, do not keep the man waiting, and deem not contemptible what he has brought. He acquainted Mustafâ with the matter, and, 'Those who defame the willing ones' (Qur. 9:80) was thereupon revealed. The angel world came and looked on,--how they watched the man! An earthquake fell upon the angel world,--no place of rest, no place of peace. God Most High thus speaks, and in His kindness
seeks out Qais's heart: O exalted, and O chosen as my Prophet, accept forthwith this much from Qais, for before me these poor dates show better than the others' gold and gems. I have accepted this small merchandise from him, because he has no date-palm. Of all the choicest things the endeavour of the poor is most approved.
Hence it was that Qais's act triumphed over the deed of that evil-spoken hypocrite. The hypocrite was straightway humiliated, and Qais's work thus completed; that thou mayest know that whoso comes forward, even in the state he is, does well. He who acts the hypocrite towards God is shamed by all his works. Sincerity is better than all else,--thou wilt at least have read so much.
An alms of a single diram from the hand of a darwîsh is more than a thousand dirams of the wealthy; forasmuch as the darwish's heart is sore, the alms he gives from his sore heart is greater than the other's. See the rich man, how his soul is dark and clouded, like his clay; the darwish's clay is for ever pure, his soul is imperishable essence of gold. Hear what God's bounty has said: but to whom shall I tell it, for no one bears me company?--to the king of kings and lord of 'But for thee' He said "Nor let thine eyes be turned from them." (Qur. 18:26)