The Muslim society the Prophet (peace be upon him) established was a model society to the standards of which all subsequent Muslim generations aspired.

The Prophet’s companions were keenly aware of the change that occurred in their lives as a result of their adoption of Islam and implementing it. The gulf that separated their lives before and after Islam was great indeed. Hence they appreciated the meaning of a quality the Prophet indicated of true believers: that they should hate to relapse into disbelief as much as they would hate to be thrown into the fire.

However, the community that lived in that society was a community of ordinary human beings, with diverse characters and divergent interests. They experienced all the feelings and desires that motivate ordinary people. If they were prepared to work hard and go to war in support of their faith, they would certainly have preferred a comfortable and easy life. They withstood much hardship, leading a life of poverty for many years. This, however, did not change the fact that, like every one of us, they would have preferred a better standard of living. When the Battle of Hunayn was over, the Muslims gained great wealth. According to the rules Allah states in the Qur’an, one-fifth of all spoils of war go to the state. The others are equally divided among the soldiers, according to well-defined criteria. The Prophet gave a number of notables from Makkah very large gifts that made them truly rich. Until very recently, these were fighting hard to suppress Islam. Now, they were new Muslims, and indeed one or two of them were still unbelievers. Since these commanded positions of authority among their people, the Prophet wanted to purge their old hatred of Islam and to ensure that they were now committed to it

The Prophet did not give any such gifts to anyone of the Ansar, the people who never faltered in their commitment to Islam, enduring much hardship in the process. It was natural that they should feel that with such prizes available to the Prophet, they would receive their fair share. Therefore, when they realized that there was nothing coming their way, apart from their rightful shares, they complained. Their spokesman made their feelings clear to the Prophet, showing all due respect.

The Prophet spoke to the Ansar and reminded them of the great change Islam brought into their lives. They acknowledged this and expressed their gratitude to Allah and to the Prophet. He then started his own indebtedness to them, acknowledging that they gave him shelter when his own people were plotting to kill him, and they supported him against all enemies.

The Prophet then stated the situation that gave rise to their complaint, and he made the issues underlining it very clear. Those gifts went to people who knew very little about Islam so that they would feel that they would lose nothing of their material world when they accepted Islam. On the other hand, the Ansar were keenly aware of what Islam meant to them. He said: “People of the Ansar, are you aggrieved over a trifle of this world which I have given out to certain people in order to win their hearts over to Islam and left you to rely on your faith? Are you not satisfied, people of the Ansar, that other people should go to their quarters with sheep and camels while you go back to your own quarters with Allah’s Messenger? By Him who holds Muhammad’s soul in His hand, had it not been for my emigration I would have been one of the Ansar. If all people went one way and the Ansar went another way, I would take the way of the Ansar. My Lord, shower your mercy on the Ansar, and the Ansar’s children and the children of their children.”