Precaution in Public Wealth

The precaution which Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) exercised when dealing with public wealth was indeed proverbial.

On one occasion, some musk and ambergris (a type of perfume) arrived from Bahrain. As it was public wealth, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “By Allah! I wish to find a person who is proficient at weighing items so that she can weigh these perfumes for me, enabling me to distribute them equally between the Muslims.”

Hearing this, his respected wife, Hazrat Aatikah bint Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anha), offered to fulfil this service saying, “I am proficient at weighing. Bring it and I will weigh it for you.” However, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) declined her offer.

She then asked him the reason for his declining, to which he replied, “I fear that while weighing it, you might take the perfume that remains on your fingers and apply it on yourself.” Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter mentioned, “I fear that if you have to rub your fingers on your body after weighing the perfume, you will receive more perfume than the rest of the Muslims.” (Az Zuhd lil Imaam Ahmed #623)

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