Once upon a time, there was a man named Ibn Gud‘aan. He related his story: 'I once went out during the spring and I saw my camels healthy and with big udders that were filled with milk. I looked at my favorite she-camel and told myself that I would offer it as charity for my poor neighbor, who had seven daughters. I took it and knocked on my poor neighbor's door. When he opened the door, I said to him: 'Please accept this she-camel as a gift from me.' He was thrilled and speechless. He benefited a great deal from that she-camel; he used to drink from its milk and carry the firewood that he gathered on its back. "
Later on, spring was over and summer came with its high temperatures and drought. The Bedouins began moving from one place to another in their pursuit of water and pasture.
Ibn Gud‘aan added: "We set off seeking underground water, in this wide desert. I entered one of these holes to bring some water, while my three sons waited for me above. I lost my way in those underground tunnels and could not come out!"
The three sons waited three days for their father to come out of the hole, but he never showed up. They thought that he had lost his way and died from hunger. In fact, they wanted him dead so as to get hold of his fortune. They hastened to their house and divided his money between them! Then, they remembered that their father had given their poor neighbor a she-camel; so, they went to him asking him to give it back: 'Either you give the she-camel back to us and take this he-camel in exchange or we will take it by force and you will not get anything in return.'
The poor neighbor said: 'I will inform your father of what you are doing.'
They said: 'He is already dead'
The poor neighbor exclaimed: 'Dead! What? How did that happen? Where did he die?'
They answered: 'He went into an underground hole and never came out.'
The neighbor said: 'Take the she-camel and I do not want your camel, just guide me to that hole.'
The three sons took the neighbor to the hole and left. The neighbor took a rope, tied it to a rock next to the hole, took a flame and crawled down into the hole. He kept crawling and creeping inside that hole until he smelled water. Suddenly, he heard moaning and groaning; he kept moving forward, probing in the mud until he touched a body of a man. He placed his hands over his nose so as to make sure that he was still breathing; he pulled him out of that hole after blindfolding him so as to protect his eyes from the strong light of the sun outside.
The neighbor rescued Ibn Gud‘aan; fed him with some dates, then carried him on his back and took him to his house. Ibn Gud‘aan was returned to life.
The poor neighbor inquired: ' Ibn Gud‘aan, tell me how could you survive a whole week under the ground?'
Ibn Gud‘aan answered: 'When I lost my way inside the hole and could not come out, I sat by a spring of water so as not to die out of thirst. Yet, water alone would not keep me alive; after three days I was extremely hungry and did not know what to do. I lay on my back, putting all my trust in Allah The Exalted, believing that He Would Save me from that calamity. Suddenly, I felt drops of milk falling into my mouth; I sat down, but could not see anything, for it was black darkness down there. I felt a pot of milk near my mouth and I used to drink from that pot until I was full, then the pot would disappear. This happened three times a day, but two days ago the pot did not appear to me and I do not know why?'
The neighbor said to Ibn Gud‘aan: 'I can tell you why. Your sons thought that you were dead, so, two days ago they came to me and took the she-camel, that you had given me, and this was the she-camel that produced the milk that you were drinking from all those days inside the hole. Indeed, Muslims are in the shadow of their charities.' [Each one is in the shadow of his Charity]
Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet said: "Good deeds shield one against a bad and ill-fated death, mishaps, diseases and doom; indeed, the people of goodness in this life are the people of goodness in the Hereafter." [Al-Albani: Saheeh]