An Example for Leaders and the Public During A Crisis


Uthman ibn Affan (ra - may Allah be pleased with him) was a notable companion of Prophet Muhammad, as well as the third head of state of the new Muslim nation in the seventh century. He was a wealthy trader and well known for his generosity. The concern and compassion he had for all people is an example for leaders today even a thousand years later!

Uthman ra lived in Madinah, which is located in the Arabian Peninsula. This is a very dry part of the world where there is very limited rainfall. One year the area was threatened with a severe drought and the people of Madinah started running out of food.

During this time people learned that a trade caravan of 1,000 camels belonging to Uthman ra was on its way to Madinah. Each camel was laden with food and items much needed by the people of Madinah.

Knowing that the caravan belonged to Uthman ra, people knew his generous reputation and were confident that he would offer a good deal for the food and other items his caravan was carrying for sale.

The merchants of Madinah went to Uthman ra and started to offer him generous offers to buy his goods. Uthman ra received all of the merchants graciously but rejected their offers. "I am afraid I cannot do business with you," he said, "for I have already received a better offer."

The merchants were perplexed about who was giving a better offer. Uthman told them. “You see I have received a better offer from God, for God has said that anyone who gives away wealth and helps those in need will get back far more than he gives away."

So Uthman ra donated his entire caravan for the welfare of the people. When he found out that the weak and ailing were unable to collect the goods because of huge crowds at the provision centers, he joined the distribution effort to make sure that everyone was able to receive food and other items of sustenance in a fairway.

This is an example for leaders, businesses and people when they confront an emergency. You do not increase the prices. You do not hoard items. You do not price gouge. You give preference to the needs of the weak and disadvantaged.

This is what the Quranic verse says, "And those who, before them, had settled in the homeland, and had accepted faith. They love those who emigrated to them and find no hesitation in their hearts in helping them. They give them priority over themselves, even if they themselves are needy. Whoever is protected from his natural greed—it is they who are successful." (Quran 59:9)


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