It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allaah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said: "While a man was walking through a barren land, he heard a voice coming out of a cloud saying: "Irrigate the garden of so-and-so.' Thereupon the cloud drifted in a certain direction and discharged its water over a rocky plain. The streamlets flowed into a channel. This man followed the channel until it reached a garden and he saw the owner of the garden standing in its center, working with his spade spreading the water (changing the course of the water). He asked him: "O slave of Allaah, what is your name?'' He told his name, which was the same that he heard from the cloud. The owner of the garden then asked him: "O slave of Allaah, why did you ask my name?'' He replied: "I heard a voice from a cloud which poured down this water saying: `Irrigate the garden of so-and-so.' I would like to know what do you do with it.'' He said: "Now that you asked me, I will tell you. I estimate the produce of the garden and distribute one-third of it in charity, I spend one-third on myself and my family and invest one-third back into the garden.''
In another narration: he said to him: "And I give one-third of it in charity for the needy, those who ask [for help], and the traveler." (1).
Amongst the lessons drawn from the above-mentioned Hadeeth:
1- An-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: "The Hadeeth indicates the virtue of the charity and doing goodness to the needy and the traveler, and the virtue of eating from what one earns with his own hands and spending on the children." (2).
2- One should start with his own self and those whom he is responsible for spending on as the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, has instructed in other Hadeeths such as his, peace and blessing be upon him, saying: “The best of charity is that which is given when one can afford it, and start with those who are under your care.” (3).
3- Charity is a cause of increasing wealth and crops and bestowing blessings on them and being free from bad things. Also, stinginess and miserliness entails lifting blessings, causing the wrath of Allaah the Almighty on the miser, destruction and loss.
(1) Saheeh Muslim, Book of Kitaab Az-Zuhd wa AR-Raqaa'iq (i.e. book pertaining to piety and softening of hearts), chapter of Charity on the needy No. (5299).
(2) Sharh An-Nawawi ala Muslim (vol.18, p. 114 )
(3) Saheeh Al-Bukhaari [2/518] No. (1360) and Saheeh Muslim [2/717] No. (1034).