It’s a good time to add a new folder to this blog on all-time favorite hadeeth. Below is one which is especially comforting for those who try their best, and what may seem like a failed effort is truly fruitful in the end; narrated Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

There was a man who said to himself, “By Allah, I am going to give sadaqah,” so he went out that night and gave sadaqah to a man whom he thought looked like a poor man. He was actually a thief going to steal, and he gave him sadaqah. When he woke up he heard people saying ‘last night, sadaqah was given to a thief.’ When he heard that, he said “Oh Allah, you have praise,” the meaning of which according to commentators is that he made a mistake, but his intention was pure, and he said, “O Allah I gave it with a good intention, and You have praise in any state. I gave it to a person who was undeserving of it.”

Then again, the next day, he said “I did not give charity,” as he felt that he hadn’t fulfilled his oath, so he said “I’m still going to do it,” and he went out, and gave money to a prostitute. The next morning people were saying “A prostitute was given sadaqah last night.” And he said, “O Allah, to You is praise;” he again had made a mistake.

So again he felt as if he hadn’t given in charity and went out to fulfil his oath. This time he put his money into the hand of a rich man. The next morning again people were talking of the sadaqah saying, ‘last night sadaqah was given to a rich man.’ So again the man said, “O Allah, to You is praise.” Then he saw in a dream, although some say an angel came to him, and he was told “As for your charity to that thief, maybe he will stop stealing because you gave him that.” Then it was said, “And as for your charity to that prostitute, maybe she will stop fornicating because of that.” And then he said “And as for the rich man, maybe this will cause him to reflect so that he will start to give out from his wealth.” (for scholars say that most rich people don’t really think about all that Allah has given them and that prevents them from charity.)

[Sahih al-Bukhari, #1340]