Hadhrat 'Umar's (Radhiyallahu anhu) Daily Allowance:
Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho) also lived by trade. When he was made Khalifah after Hadhrat Abu Bakr (Radhiyallaho anho), he assembled the people and said to them:
"I earned my living through trade. As you people have engaged me as Khalifah, I cannot attend to my business. Now. what about my living?"
Different amounts of daily allowance from the Bait-ul-Mal were suggested by different people. Hadhrat Ali (Radhiyallaho anho) did not speak. 'Umar inquired of him:
"Oh Ali what is your suggestion?" He replied:
I suggest that you should take such amount as may be on average be sufficient for your family."
Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallaho anho) accepted his suggestion and a moderate amount was fixed as his daily allowance.
Later on, some people including Hadhrat Alt, Hadhrat Usman, Hadhrat Zubair and Hadhrat Talhah (Radhiyallaho anhum) once proposed that Hadhrat Umar's (Radhiyallaho anho) allowance might be increased, as it was hardly sufficient for him, but nobody dared to suggest that to Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho).
People approached Ummul-momineen Hadhrat Hafsah (radhiyallaho anha), his daughter, and requested her to ascertain 'Umar's (Radhiyallaho anho) reaction to the suggestion without mentioning their names to him. When Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha) talked about it to Hadhrat Umar (Radhiyallaho anho), he became angry and said:
"Who are the persons making this suggestion?" Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha): "Let me first know your opinion."
Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho):
"If I knew them, I would smite them on their faces Hafsah! just tell me what was the Prophet's best dress in your house?"
Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha):
"It was a pair of reddish brown clothes, which the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) wore on Friday or while receiving some envoy.
"Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho): "What was the best of food that the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) ever took at your house?"
Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha): "Simple barley bread was the only food we used to take. One day I anointed a piece of bread with the sediments from an empty butter tin, and he ate it with relish and offered it to others as well."
Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho): What was the best bedding that the Prophet ever used in your house?"
Hadhrat Hafsah (Radhiyallaho anha): "It was a piece of thick cloth. In the summer it was spread in four layers, and in the winter in two, half he spread underneath and with the other half he covered himself."
Hadhrat 'Umar (Radhiyallaho anho): "Hafsah! Go and tell these people that the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) has set a standard by his personal example. I must follow him. My example and that of my other two companions viz., the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) and Abu Bakr (Radhiyallaho anho) is like that of three men travelling on the same road.
The first man started with a provision and reached the goal. The second followed the first and joined him. Now the third is on his way. If he follows their way, he will also join them, otherwise he can never reach them."
Such is the life of the person who was a dread for the monarchs of the world. What a simple life he lived! Once he was reciting the Khutbah when it was noticed that his lower cloth had as many as twelve patches, including one of leather. Once he came late for his Jumu'ah prayer and told the congregation:
"Excuse me, people! I got late because I was washing my clothes and had no other clothes to put on."
Once he was having his meal when 'Utbah bin Abi Farqad (Radhiyallaho anho) asked permission to see him.
He allowed him in and invited him to share the food with him. 'Utbah (Radhiyallaho anho) started eating, but the bread was so coarse that he could not swallow it. He said:
"Why don't you use fine flour for your bread, 'Umar?"
He said: "Can every Muslim afford fine flour for his bread ?"
'Utbah replied, "No. Everybody cannot afford it."
He remarked, "Alas! You wish to fulfill all my pleasures while I am in this world."
There are thousands of such stories about the illustrious Sahabah. Everybody should not try to imitate them, for we lack the physical strength of those people; and that is why the Sufi Sheikhs of our time do not recommend such exercise, which tax the body too much, as the people are already low in physical strength.
We should however keep the life of the Sahabah as an ideal before us, so that we may at least give up some of our luxuries and lead a simpler life (judged by modern standards). With the Saha-bah's lives as an ideal, we can at least feel ashamed when vying with one another in running after the luxuries of this world.