It is not clear who the person spoken of in this Tradition was. The Prophet (saws) may have narrated what had been seen by some virtuous man in a dream or described one of his own visions in this form. The latter view is, to some extent, supported by the fact that Imam Ibn Majah, too, has quoted this Tradition with the addition that: “I, (the Apostle of God), enquired from Gabriel what was the special merit in a loan that it was superior to charity. He replied that a suppliant (to whom charity is given) solicits alms and accepts charity even when he has something, (money etc.,) on him, while a person who asks for a loan does so only when he is in need.’” – Jam’a-ul-Fuwayid
Sometimes, a person who, also, is self-respecting is in dire need of money, but he does not like to ask anyone for help or accept charity, and prefers to borrow. To give a loan to such a person will, evidently, be better than charity. Our own experience is that there are many people who though willing to help a needy person through Zakat or charity, do not like to advance him a loan. This Tradition, particularly, contains a moral for them.