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Muhammad was also a very hospitable person, even before he was raised to the status of a Prophet. Nobody ever went away from him empty handed. He used to feed the poor, the needy, the widows and orphans and was very popular among the people of Makkah. In Madinah, his hospitality knew no bounds and his house was open to all, rich and poor, friend and foe. All came to him and were treated very generously. People used to come in large numbers from all directions, and he entertained them all and served them personally.

His hospitality was not confined to Muslims alone, but was extended to all human beings, irrespective of status or creed. Polytheists and Jews were his guests and he entertained them all, without any distinction. When a Christian deputation came from Abyssinia, he kept them in his house and served them personally throughout their stay. Once when a polytheist was his guest, Muhammad gave him the milk of one goat and he drank it all. The Prophet gave him the milk of a second goat, which he drank as well. In this way the guest drank the milk of seven goats but Muhammad did not stop offering him milk until he was satisfied.

Sometimes it so happened that the guests ate all that was available in the house and nothing was left for the Prophet and his family to eat, so they had to go without food that night. This was not an unusual occurrence in the Prophet's house. The poorest and the most destitute among the Companions were the Ashab As-Suffah, who were homeless and lived in the mosque as permanent guests of the Muslims. Most of the time they were the guests of Muhammad. Once he said, "Anyone who has enough food for two persons should take three of them, he who has enough for four should take five of them with him." Abu Bakr took three of them with him while Muhammad took ten of them with him.

Abu Hurayrah told a very distressing story of his hunger and starvation when he was one of the Ashab As-Suffah. He said, "Once in utter starvation, I sat on the main highway. Abu Bakr passed that way and I, to invite his attention to my humble state, asked him about a verse of the Qur'an. He went by and did not take any notice of my condition. The same thing happened with `Umar, and he also did not pay much attention to me. Then Allah's Messenger came along and, seeing me, smiled and said, 'Come with me.' When he arrived home, he saw a bowl of milk and enquired about it. He was told that it was sent as a gift to him. He asked me to bring all of Ashab As-Suffah. I brought them all with me. He gave me the bowl of milk and asked me to distribute it among them all. I was wondering how this bowl would satisfy them all. However, I passed it to them and everyone drank his fill, and finally I drank until I was satisfied and gave the remaining to the Prophet.” Miraculously, that one bowl of milk fed them all.

As in all he did, Muhammad taught his Companions by his words as well as his deeds.







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