Praise be to Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was the most ascetic of people; Allah did not allow any room for love of worldly matters in his heart or let him regard such matters as being of any importance. Ahmad (7120) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that he said: Jibreel sat with the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and looked at the sky, and he saw an angel descending. Jibreel said: This angel has never descended since he was created, until now. When he came down, he said: O Muhammad, your Lord has sent me to you and He says: Shall He make you a Prophet-king or a Messenger-slave? Jibreel said: Be humble before your Lord, O Muhammad. He said: “Rather a Messenger-slave.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah, 1002
Al-Baghawi narrated in Sharh as-Sunnah (5/442) that ‘Aa’ishah said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, may Allah cause me to be sacrificed for you, eat reclining for it will be easier for you. He tilted his head until his forehead nearly touched the ground and said: “No; rather I shall eat as a slave eats and I shall sit as a slave sits.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in as-Saheehah, 544.
The hadeeths which speak of his asceticism and lack of interest in worldly accumulation and adornment are too numerous to be counted.
For a discussion of that and further explanation of his asceticism, please see the answer to question no. 154864
The situation of most of his Companions at the beginning of Islam was like his or close to it. This is explained by the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (4242) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: When Khaybar was conquered, we said: Now we will eat our fill of dates.
Al-Haafiz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
This indicates that before that they were living on very little. End quote.
And he also said:
The fact of the matter is that many of them lived a life of hardship before the Hijrah when they were in Makkah, then when they migrated to Madinah, most of them were still like that and the Ansaar helped them by giving them accommodation and in other ways. When they were enabled to conquer an-Nadeer and after that, they returned the favour. End quote.
When they became better off, they focused on spending in charity, equipping armies and other kinds of good deeds. Some of them gave all their wealth, some of them gave half of their wealth, some of them would equip fighters who were going out on campaign or take care of their families in their absence. This world was not their interest and it never crossed their minds. Ahmad narrated in az-Zuhd (p. 36) that Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr said: ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (may Allah be pleased with him) – who was one of the wealthy Sahaabah – could not be recognised from among his slaves.
No one should think that the Sahaabah did not pay attention to the situation of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) or that they were heedless concerning it, even though they knew that if he wanted to, he could have prayed to Allah, may He be exalted, and He would have made him very rich. In fact they (may Allah be pleased with them) used to help him by giving him gifts and offering him hospitality, especially the Ansaar. Al-Bukhaari (2567) and Muslim (2972) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that she said to ‘Urwah: O son of my sister, we used to look at the crescent moon, then the crescent moon, then the crescent moon, three crescent moons in two months, and no fire would be lit in the houses of the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). I said: O aunt, what did you live on? She said: The two black ones, dates and water, but the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had some neighbours from among the Ansaar and they had milch-animals, and they would send some of their milk to the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he would give it to us to drink.
And al-Bukhaari (2574) and Muslim (2441) narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the people used to send their gifts when it was ‘Aa’ishah’s day, seeking thereby to please the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
And there are many similar hadeeths.
It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that they slaughtered a sheep and the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “What is left of it?” She said: There is nothing left of it except a shoulder. He said: “All of it is left except the shoulder!”
Narrated by Ahmad, 2372; at-Tirmidhi, 2470. He said: A saheeh hadeeth.
The members of his noble household followed his example in that regard, to the extent that they forgot their own share compared to what they gave to other people, as they gave them precedence over themselves.
It was narrated from Hishaam ibn ‘Urwah, from his father, that Mu‘aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan sent one hundred thousand (i.e., money) to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), and she shared it out until there was nothing left of it. Bareerah said: You are fasting; why did you not buy a dirham’s worth of meat for us? ‘Aa’ishah said: If I had been reminded, I would have done that.
Narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak, 4/15; adh-Dhahabi in at-Talkhees.
And Allah knows best.