In Kitabul Athar of Imam Muhammad Ibn Hasan Ash Shaybani (rahimahullah) there is mention of an amazing incident of Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibnul Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu) showing appreciation to a man for his sacrifices for din:
كان عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه يطعم الناس بالمدينة وهو يطوف عليهم بيده عصا فمر برجل يأكل بشماله فقال: يا عبد الله كل بيمينك. فقال: يا عبد الله إنها مشغولة. قال: فمضى ثم مر به وهو يأكل بشماله فقال: يا عبد الله كل بيمينك. قال: يا عبد الله إنها لمشغولة ثلاث مرات. قال: وما شغلها؟ قال: أصيبت يوم مؤتة. قال: فجلس عنده عمر يبكي فجعل يقول له: من يوضئك؟ من يغسل رأسك وثيابك؟ من يصنع كذا وكذا؟ فدعا له بخادم وأمر له براحلة وطعام وما يصلحه وما ينبغي له حتى رفع أصحاب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم أصواتهم يدعون الله لعمر مما رأوا من رقته بالرجل واهتمامه بأمر المسلمين.
Sayyiduna ‘Umar ibnul Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu) would feed the people of Madinah. He would walk among them with a stick in his hand. He once passed by a man who was eating with his left hand. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) told him, “O Servant of Allah! Eat with your right hand.” The man responded, “O servant of Allah! It is preoccupied [i.e. I am unable to do so]. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) proceeded and passed by him again and he was still eating with his left hand. He said: “O Servant of Allah! Eat with your right hand.” The man responded thrice, “O servant of Allah! It is preoccupied [i.e. I am unable to do so]. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) asked, “What is it preoccupied with?” He replied, “My hand was hit/attacked on the day of (the battle of) Muta.” ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) then sat by him and began to cry and asked him, “Who performs ablution for you? Who washes your head and garments? Who does this and that for you?” He then ordered a servant [to take care of him] and ordered that a conveyance be brought for him as well as food and [whatever else he required]. The Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) raised their voices making du’a for ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) when they witnessed his kindness upon the man and his concern for the affairs of the Muslims .”
[Another version states: Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) inquired from him as to where was he headed. He replied: ‘I am on my way to visit my mother in Yemen. I have not seen her in years.’ This amazed Sayyiduna ‘Umar further, and he exclaimed: ‘Are you still engaging in more good [i.e., despite making such great initial sacrifices in battle.]?
(Kitabul Athar: 865, edition of Darun Nawadir. Also see: Ansabul Ashraf, vol. 10 pg. 311-312 and Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 68 pg. 100-101)
The following lessons can be drawn from this amazing incident:
1. The importance of eating with the right hand. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) would inspect the people whilst they were eating, and he would correct those who ate with the left hand.
2. Never judge a person who doesn’t seem to match your standards. He may have a perfectly legitimate reason.
3. Show concern for the needs of fellow Muslims, like Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) expressed concern about how the man was able to make wudu etc.
4. Admire and support those who have sacrificed for the service of Islam. Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) provided this person with a servant, a conveyance as well as provisions.
5. Never be satisfied with past achievements. Despite his prior sacrifices, and even losing his limb, he did not become complacent. He continued on the path of good and was on his way to meet [and serve] his elderly mother.
May Allah Ta’ala Inspire us. Amin.