Zayd bin Sa`nah (RA) who was a Jew, once began saying : ‘There was not a sign of prophethood in Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) which I had not found in him, except for two signs, which I did not have the opportunity to test.
The first is that his hilm (gentleness / tolerance) will overcome his anger.
The second is, the more one acts foolishly towards him, the more he will tolerate it.
I looked for a chance to test these two signs, and kept on coming and going to his gatherings.
One day, Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) came out of his house. ‘Ali was with him. Just then a badawi type of person came and said: “O Rasulullah, my community has accepted Islam, and I told them that if they became Muslims, they shall receive abundant sustenance. And now such a time has come where drought has befallen us. I fear that they will leave Islam. If the idea is suitable, it is suggested that you assist them.”
Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) looked towards a person who may have been ‘Ali. He replied, “Ya Rasulullah, there is nothing available.”
Sayyidina Zayd (RA) who was of the Jewish faith at that time, was witnessing this incident, he said : “O Muhammad, if you can do this, a certain amount of dates of a certain person’s palm grove be given to me at a fixed time, then I shall pay now in advance and collect the dates at the appointed time.
Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied this was possible, but if you do not stipulate the palm grove, I can make an agreement. I accepted it, and paid 80 mith-qaal of gold (according to well-known sayings 1 mith-qaal equals 100 grains or 4 ½ maa-shaas approx. four and half grams).
Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) gave the gold to this badawi and said to him, do not forget to be just, and fulfil their needs with this.
Zayd (RA) further says, when 2 or 3 days were left for the time to collect the dates, Rasulullah was sitting near a well while returning from a funeral with the Sahabah, among whom were Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and Uthmaan. I came and caught the hem of the kurta and sheet of Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and cynically said : ‘O Muhammad, you do not want to pay my debt. I swear by Allah, that I know all the children of ‘Abdul Muttalib very well. You are very poor payers.’
‘Umar looked at me in anger and said : ‘O enemy of Allah! What are you mumbling? I swear by Allah, that if I did not fear (the presence of Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)) I would have severed your head.’
Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was looking at me very calmly, and said smilingly to ‘Umar: ‘Umar, this person and I are in need of something more. He should have told me to take care in fulfilling his rights and should have advised in a better manner when putting forward his claim. Go, take him and fulfil his right, and for having scolded him give him in lieu, twenty saa’ (approximately two mann approximately 66.5 kgs) dates extra in excess of his right.”
‘Umar took me and fulfilled my right and gave me the twenty extra saa.’ I asked : “For what are these twenty extra saa?”
‘Umar replied : “This is the command of Rasulullah.”
Zayd (RA) said : “Umar, do you know me?”
‘Umar replied : “No.”
I said : “I am Zayd bin Sa`nah.”
He asked : “The Allamah (great learned) of the Jews?”
I replied : “I am that very person.”
He said : “Being a man of such a calibre, why did you behave before Rasulullah in such a manner?”
I replied : “Two signs from the signs of Prophet-hood were left, which I was not able to test. The first is the hilm (gentleness) of Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) supercedes his anger. The second is that, the more one acts foolishly towards him, the more he will tolerate it. Now I have tested these two also, therefore I make you witness to my acceptance of Islam. I give half of my wealth in charity (sadaqah) to the Ummah of Muhammad (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam).”
Thereafter he returned to the noble presence of Rasulullah (SallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and accepted Islam. Later he took part in many battles and was martyred in the Battle of Tabuk. (May Allah be pleased with him).
[Extracted from Shamaa`il Tirmizi]