There was a well in a part of Madinah belonging to a Jew. It was the only source of water in that part, and the Jew charged Muslims exorbitant amounts for water. Uthman (ra) offered to buy the well, but the Jew refused. Uthman (ra) then proposed to buy half of the well, with an agreement that each would fetch on alternate days. The Jew knew Uthman (ra) as a clever businessman, and was flattered to have him as a business partner, thinking that this would increase his sales.
The exact opposite happened… no one bought water from him again.
Uthman (ra) opened the well for Allah’s sake, allowing people to fetch as they wanted. The people would fetch two days’ supply on his day and ignore the Jew’s day. Despondently, the Jew offerred Uthman (ra) the other half, which Uthman (ra) bought for 20,000 dirhams (really kind of Uthman, if me, I would have negotiated it down to almost zero, since it was now worthless to the Jew…
A few years later, a sahabi offered to buy up the well from Uthman (ra). He refused, saying that he had been offered much more. The man kept increasing his offer, and Uthman kept refusing on the ground that he had been offered much more. Baffled, the man asked him who had offered so much, and how much had been offered. Uthman (ra) said… “Allah has offered ten times the reward for charity given to Muslims”.
The well was kept for the free use of Muslims, up to and after the death of Usman (ra), but the story does not end yet…
During the Ummayyad dynasty, the well and the surrounding ground (still nominally in the name of Usman (ra) since it was charitable and not inherited) were kept for free use by Muslims. Date palms grew on the grounds, and grew numerous overtime. The dates were also harvested and given to charity in the name of Usman bin Affan (ra). This continued during the time of the Abbassid period and later.
In the present history of Saudi Arabia, the decision was made to organise it into a modern plantation. The money was shared into two parts, half to be given in charity, mainly to widows and orphans, the other half to be reinvested.
This plan was (and is still) being carried out. Today, a bank account exists in the name of Usman bin Affan, from which half of all moneys gained from the plantation are remitted, while the other half is still being given out as charity. Out of this money, an amount was invested into purchasing land around the Masjid anNabawi in Madinah. This was developed into a hotel and accomodation for visitors to the mosque, and as per arrangement, half the income was also given out as charity, while half is being remitted to the account to be reinvested.
As at now, disbursements from this charity, started off by the virtuous sahabi, Usman bin Affan, is upwards of SR50million monthly.
The well is known today as Bi’ir Uthman or Bi’ir Rummah. One charitable deed that has earned its giver rewards for over 14centuries.
May Allah reward the Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), not only for their charitable deeds, but also for the help they provided in aiding our noble Prophet for us, and transmitting his message faithfully down to us for our own benefit. May Allah grant them jannat al alfirdaus and join us with them in the hereafter…Ameen