The Al-Ambar Expedition
The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) despatched towards the sea-shore an expedition of three hundred men, under the command of Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (Radhiyal-laho anho) in 8 A.H. He gave them a bag full of dates for their rations. They had been hardly out for fifteen days when they ran short of rations.
In order to provide the contingent with food, Hadhrat Qais (Radhiyallaho anho) began buying three camels daily from his own men, to feed the Mujahideen, with a promise to pay on return to Madinah. The Amir seeing that the slaughter of camels would deprive the party of their only means of transport, prohibited him to do so.
He collected the dates that had been left with each person and stored them in a bag. He would issue one date to each man as his daily ration. When Hadhrat Jabir (Radhiyallaho anho) later on narrated this story to the people, one of his audience inquired:
"How did you manage to live upon one date only for the whole day?"
"We longed even for that one date, when the whole stock was exhausted. We were on the verge of starvation. We moistened the dry tree-leaves with water and ate them."
When they reached this stage, Allah had mercy on them, for He always brings ease after every hardship, provided it is endured patiently. A big fish known as "Ambar" was thrown out of the sea for them. The fish was so big that they lived on it for eighteen days altogether.
They also filled their satchels with the remaining portion, which lasted them right up to Madinah. When the episode was narrated to the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam), he said:
"The fish was a provision arranged for you by Allah."
Difficulties and hardships are not uncommon in this world to the people of Allah; these are bound to come. The Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) says:
"The worst trials in this world are reserved for the Prophets, then for those who are next to them, and then for those who are best of the rest."
The trial of a person is proportionate to his position near Allah, and He bestows solace and comfort by His Grace and Mercy after each trial. Look how much our ancestors in Islam have suffered in the path of Allah. They had to live on leaves of trees, starve and shed their blood in the service of the true faith, which we now fail to preserve.