It was a usual meeting. Rasool Allah (saw) was in his place and his companions gathered around him to hear the words of wisdom and guidance.
A rich person dressed in clean and elegant clothes arrived in the presence of Rasool Allah (saw) and sat down before him. A short while later, a poor person wearing old and tattered clothes, appeared, saluted the assembly: “Salamun Alaikum” (Peace be on you)!
And finding a vacant place comfortably sat down.
Rasool Allah (saw) had taught them that all Muslims were brothers and in an assembly one should sit wherever one finds a place, regardless of any status. Now, it so happened that this poor man was seated next to a very rich man. The rich man felt very disturbed and tried to collect the edges of his dress around himself, so that the poor man didn’t touch them.
Having observed this, Rasool Allah (saw) remarked to the rich man: “Did you fear that the poor person next to you might make your clothes dirty?”
“No,” replied the rich person.
“Then why did you behave so?” asked Rasool Allah (saw).
“I admit that was the most undesirable thing to do. It was an error and I confess my guilt. I have a companion (soul) that makes good deeds appear evil to me and vice-versa. O’ Prophet of Allah! As a punishment for this reprehensible act of mine, I gift half of my wealth to the poor man.”
Turning to the poor man, Rasool Allah (saw) inquired, “Do you accept the offer?”
“No, O’ Prophet of Allah,” said the poor man.
He continued: “O’ Prophet of Allah, I refuse to accept this offer because I fear that I might then become arrogant and ill-treat my Muslim brothers the way he did to me.”