As I skim through the pages of Islamic history, it came into my observation that whether they had wealth or not, what separated Meray Rahnumahs from the public was their character and credibility. Some Sahaba were really rich while others barely made both ends meet, yet all were blessed with spotless characters.
Once one of Meray Rahnumahs, Imam Bukhari R.A. was on a sea voyage. He was a businessman too and thus, he had quite a wealth with him at that time.. A thousand dinars actually! (This wakes up the business student inside me. One gold dinar is about 4.44 grams. Thousand dinars * 4.44 equals 444o grams of gold. You are right.. Google converts 4440 grams gold into 355 Tola Gold! If my calculation is right, those 1000 gold dinars mean over 17 million PKR today. Speechless).
So, on the way, he got a companion and Imam Bukhari R.A. told the companion about the money. As it dawned, the ‘companion’ started crying and yelling that ‘his’ pouch of money is lost. When asked, he said there were a thousand dinars in it. As expected, everyone on board was checked and.. nothing resembling was found, not from Imam Bukhari R.A. either.
When the drama ended and the curtains dropped, everybody left the stage. The main actor came to Imam Bukhari R.A. and asked, “Hazrat! What happened of your money?” Imam Bukhari R.A. replied: “I managed to drop them into the sea.” The ‘companion’ was shocked, what else could a materialistic person do upon hearing such a thing. ‘WHY’, he asked. Imam Bukhari R.A. said:
“Do you not know that I have spent my entire life gathering the Hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. and that the world now acknowledges my trustworthiness. Would it then have been befitting for me to subject myself to the accusation of theft? And shall I lose the knowledge and stature of a scholar that I have earned over a lifetime over a limited number of dinars?
Probably no one knows what happened of the ‘companion’. I, on the other hand, will like/wish and desire to refer to this incidence when there is such a situation, the tough choice making between Money and Credibility. And I wish, that credibility should always win.