Imam Abu Ja'far (a.s) was one of the most generous and open-handed people. He was called al-Jawad (the generous) because of his excessive generosity, open-handedness, charitableness and kindness to people. Historians mentioned many scenes of his generosity.
1. One year, Ahmed bin Hadeed and some of his companions set out to perform the hajj. On their way, some robbers attacked them and robbed all the monies and luggage they had. When they arrived in Yathrib, Ahmed bin Hadeed went to Imam al-Jawad (a.s) and told him about what had happened to him and to his companions. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) gave him some clothes and a sum of money to be distributed among his companions. This sum of money was as much as that which had been robbed from them. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) had saved them from their distress and recompensed them for what had been taken from them.
2. Al-Utbi narrated that one of the Alawids loved a bondmaid in Yathrib and he could not pay her price. He told Imam al-Jawad (a.s) of that. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) asked him about her keeper and he told who he was. Some days later, the Alawid man asked about the bondmaid and it was said to him that she had been sold. He asked who the buyer was and the answer was “we do not know”. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) had bought the bondmaid secretly. The Alawid man was so upset and distressed. He hurried to Imam al-Jawad (a.s) crying out, ‘The bondmaid was sold.’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) smiled at him and said, ‘Do you know who has bought her?’
The man said, ‘No, I do not.’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) took the man with him and went to the small village where the bondmaid was there. He took the man to a house and ordered him to come in. The man refused to go into the house because he did not know whose house it was. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) had just bought the house recently. Imam al-Jawad (a.s) insisted on the man to come in. They both came into the house and when they saw the bondmaid, Imam al-Jawad (a.s) asked the man, ‘Do you know her?’
The man said, ‘Yes, I do!’
Imam al-Jawad (a.s) said to him, ‘She, the house with all its furniture, the garden and its yield are yours. You can live with the bondmaid.’ The man’s heart was filled with delight and he was confused how to thank Imam al-Jawad (a.s).
These are some of the plentiful news historians have mentioned about the generosity of Imam al-Jawad (a.s). Narrators and historians say that the generosity of Imam al-Jawad (a.s) and his charity had included even the animals.
Muhammad bin al-Waleed al-Kirmani narrated, ‘One day, I had a meal with Abu Ja'far the second (a.s). When I finished eating and the dishes were lifted, the servant went to pick the crumbs that were on the ground. Abu Ja'far (a.s) said to him, ‘Leave whatever there is in the desert even if it is a leg of a sheep and pick whatever on the ground inside the house!’ Imam al-Jawad (a.s) ordered his servant to leave the food that was in the desert for birds and beasts.