A'bdullah Ibn Ja’far, the husband of Hadhrat Zainab (a.s.) was a person whose generosity was unparalleled. Once, as he happened to pass by a palm-plantation, he noticed a slave working there. At that very moment, the slave’s food was brought and handed over to him. As he was about to start his meal, a hungry dog came before him, wagging its tail.
The slave placed a portion of his food before the dog and the animal immediately ate it up. The slave put some more food in front of the dog and before long it was eaten too. This continued till he had given his entire food to the dog.
A'bdullah, who had been witnessing the incident, asked the slave, “What is your daily ration of food?”
“The amount which you have just witnessed,” the slave answered.
“If that is the case, why then did you give the dog preference over yourself?” enquired A’bdullah.
“This dog had come from afar and was hungry and I did not deem it appropriate to drive him away in that state of hunger.”
“With what will you satiate yourself today?”
“I shall overcome my hunger by patience and steadfastness,” the slave explained.
A'bdullah, observing the slave’s selflessness and altruism, thought to himself that the slave was more generous than himself. By way of commendation and compensation for his altruism, A’bdullah purchased the slave and the plantation from the owner, freed the slave and finally gifted the entire plantation to him.