Cheap Ticket to Paradise

A man from a respectable background came to Balkh in Iran, accompanied by his wife and daughters. Shortly after their arrival the man fell ill and later died, leaving his wife and daughters. Without his support they became poor and suffered. So fearing the mockery of enemies, she fled Balkh with her daughters to another town.

On the day she arrived the weather was very cold, so she left her daughters in a mosque and went out in search of food. She passed by two groups of people. One was gathered around a Muslim who was the Sheikh and the other group around a Zoroastrian (Majusi) who was the security officer of the city.

She first went to the Sheikh and described her situation saying, “I am a woman of a respectable family, with daughters whom I have left in the local mosque, I have come in search of food.” He asked her, “Bring me proof that you are from a respectable family.” She replied, “I am a stranger in this town and therefore do not know anyone to testify for me.” She departed from him broken hearted.

She then went to the Zoroastrian and explained her situation to him, telling him about her noble background and her orphaned daughters who were, waiting her return. She also mentioned to him how the Sheikh had treated her. The Zoroastrian stood up and sent some womenfolk to bring her daughters and took all of them to his house. There he showered them with honour and generosity. He fed them fine food and clothed them in rich garments.

That night the Sheikh saw in a dream the Day of Resurrection and the banners were unfurled around the Prophet (Peace be Upon him). Ahead of him, was a green palace made of emeralds, its balconies of pearls and rubies and domes of pearls and corals. He asked the Prophet (Peace be Upon him), “Messenger of Allah, for whom is this palace?” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) replied, “For a Muslim.” The Sheikh replied, “I am a Muslim!” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said, “Prove to me that you are a Muslim?” At that, the Sheikh was dumbstruck. The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) then said, “You asked a woman to produce proof of her respectability, and therefore my question to you, is can you produce proof that you are a Muslim?” At this point the Sheikh felt remorse about his treatment towards the woman and her orphaned daughters.

In the morning, he immediately set out to find the woman. He learnt she was staying with the Zoroastrian and so called for him. When the Zoroastrian arrived, the Sheikh requested that he sends the woman and her daughters to him. The Zoroastrian replied, “Under no circumstance! I have received great blessings from her.” The Sheikh said “Take a thousand dinars from me and bring them to me.” He shouted, “Impossible! The one who showed you the palace in your dream has made it (the palace) for me. Are you surprised because I am not a Muslim? By Allah, I did not sleep last night, before I and my family accepted Islam at that noble woman’s hand, and I dreamt something similar to what you dreamt; the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon him) asked me, “Is that noble woman and her daughters with you?” I replied: “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said, “This palace is for you and your family. Allah created you a believer in pre-eternity.”

At that the Sheikh remained sorrowful and grieved for the missed opportunity of earning a lofty position in Paradise, due to his neglect of the widowed woman and her daughters.

Allah’s Messenger (Peace be Upon him) has said, “The one who strives on behalf of the widow and the needy is like a warrior in the path of Allah”. (Bukhari and Muslim,)

May Allah guide us to what is right for indeed, He is Generous, the most Kind, the most Merciful!

A Sermon from the Dying to the Living

There once lived in Basrah a prolific and profoundly spiritual worshipper whose fear of the Hereafter caused him to become physically weak, and whose constant crying made him skinny and sick. When he was on his deathbed, his family gathered around him, and they all began to cry.

“Help me sit up.” He said. He addressed his father first: “O my father, what is making you cry?”

“My son,” began his father, “I remembered that I will lose you, and that I will be alone after you die.”

The worshipper then turned his gaze towards his mother and said, “O my Mother, what is making you cry?”

“I am crying because I will soon have to taste the bitterness of losing you,” she said.

He then turned to his sister and asked, “what is making you cry?”

“Because I will soon lose out on your kindness and will consequently have to depend on others for help,” she said.

Finally, he looked at his children and asked, “what is making you cry?”

“The prospect of hard and humiliating life of being orphans after you die,” they said. Now it was his trun to cry. “And what is making you cry?” everyone asked.

“I am crying because I saw that each one of you cried for his or her own self, and not for me, he said. Is there none among you who cries for the long, hard journey I am about to embark upon, and the few supplies (i.e. good deeds) that I have for it? Is there none among you who cries because I will be lying down in dirt? Is there none among you who cries because I will be held accountable (and might have to endure punishment)? Is there none among you who cries because of when I will stand before the Lord of all that exists (for judgement)?” He then rolled over onto his face, when they tried to move him, they realised that he had just died.

Source: Al-Mawa’iz Wal Majalis

The Ultimate Test

Abu-ul-Hassan Siraj (mercy be upon him) said, “One day I set out for the performance of pilgrimage (Hajj). As I was making a circuit (Tawwaf) around the Holy Ka’ba, I happened to see a fair-faced woman. I said to myself, By God! I have never seen a woman with such beauty before. Perhaps she has all this beauty as she may not have suffered any grief or sorrow.” She heard this statement and said, “What did you say? By God! I am immersed in grief and my heart is afflicted with adversities and misfortunes and there is no one to share with me the pangs of grief.”

I asked her, “What has happened to you?” She replied, “My husband slaughtered a goat. My two small children were playing with each other and another was in my lap. As I got up, one of the children said to the other, “Shall I tell you how our father slaughtered the goat?” The other replied in the affirmative. Consequently, he. laid his brother on the ground and killed him like a goat.

He then ran away on account of fear, and climbed up a mountain where a wolf devoured him. His father went out in search of him and, during the course of his quest, he died due to the intensity of thirst.

I left the infant to sit and went towards the door of the house. The infant then crawled to the fire upon which the earthen pot was hung. As soon as he touched it, it fell and scolded him. As result his body was burnt removing the flesh from the bones.

I had one daughter left who was married. When she came to hear of this, she fell unconscious and died. It was I who was left alone.”

Shocked by this I asked her, “How did you bear all these misfortunes?” She said, “A person who would ponder over patience and impatience, would see much difference between them. The reward for patience Is great and for impatience, there is no reward.” Then, she recited the following three couplets which read: “I endured because endurance is the best thing to rely upon. If any advantage could be obtained by impatience, I would have adopted it. I endured many a misfortune, misfortunes of such intensity that if they were to have fallen on a mountain, it would have been reduced to dust. I have exercised full control over my emotions and never shed a tear. Now they are falling in my heart.”

At the face of death

A heart-touching story… learn from it.

This is something that is very personal and important to me. I hope that you will learn and benefit from it. Let me begin by saying “Bismillah.” When I first started University, I had met another Muslim brother. We had become good friends, but this friendship was not like any other ordinary friendship, I would have done anything for him, he was like my real brother.

During our last year of University, this brother of mine announced that he was engaged and that he was to be married after he graduates this year and finds himself a job. I was glad for him and so was he. He talked non stop about getting married, I was sort of getting jealous of him, because the brother had it made for him, finishing school, getting married and especially coming from a wealthy family.

One day this brother was to meet me at the coffee shop. He showed up, but astonishingly he wasn’t smiling and wasn’t talking about his fiancée. I asked him what was wrong, he asked if we could talk somewhere privately and we did. Finally I knew why he was upset. He had told me that he found out that he had a brain tumor which was malignant, which meant it had become cancerous. When he told me the news, his voice was quivering and tears were streaming down his cheeks.

I had never seen him like this before. I tried keeping in my tears and I tried not to show that I was hurt also. I was burning up inside and things were racing through my mind. I kept thinking, how could this have happened? A man who had everything made and had everything perfect. I kept it inside because I did not want him to see me upset.

I saw this brother slowly go down. He had to drop out of school at his last year because he began to lose his memory and he started to repeat himself over again. He did not have a chance at school without his memory. This brother was intelligent, but after, he became lost.

He was told that his fianceés family and her parents did not want their daughter to marry him, because he had no job and basically no future. This was hard for him, I remember he would cry to me about her and how he cared for her and how hopeless he felt.

Later, the brother had problems writing and his right eyesight was fading. The tumor was on the left side of his brain so it affected everything on his right. Because of his memory loss, the brother soon forgot suras and he even forgot how to pray. A year later, his right arm was paralyzed and his eyesight was taken away from him. It was the hardest thing for me to see. The brother I loved so much as going through so much. I began coming over everyday helping him recite suras.

When I was recited sura Fatiha to him and he was slowly repeating after me, I looked at him and I thought, this was the same brother who was so intelligent and was to finish school. This was the same brother who came from such a wealthy family. This was the same brother who talked for days about getting married and raising a family. This was the same brother who had everything. But now he can barely remember what I said to him ten minutes ago, he can’t get married, and now he is struggling to read Qur’an, he was not much of a practicing Muslim so it was harder for him to recite the Qur’an. This man was now turning towards Allah, he dropped EVERYTHING and turned towards Allah. Allah gave him everything, and he could take everything away just as easily.

A month ago, I had received a call saying that the brother passed away and that his janaza is today. I washed his body with a couple of other brothers and I saw his lifeless body. He was buried and after that I returned home. The next day, I sat down wondering to myself about the power of Allah. My brother’s death made me realize that we forget what our purpose of being here is for: To serve Allah. You could have everything, but do you have anything that is important? I spent six years knowing this brother, and caring for him. I never once shed a tear when he was alive and not even when he passed away. But the day after his death, I did cry because I thought about the power of Allah. I thought about my brother. We always say that we will return to Allah, but we never really believe it. If we did, then we would struggle to read the Qur’an and pray to Allah like my brother did.

My brother had his eyesight taken away from him, his arm was paralyzed and his memory was lost, but he still got up every morning and he insisted and I repeat, insisted on reciting the Qur’an. But we are able, but we still do not struggle to read the Qur’an. We do not really believe that we will return to Allah, or else we would struggle for Allah.

My brother had love for materialistic objects, but when death approached him, those things were no use to him because he knew those things were not going to lead him to Jannah without his Iman. Allah can give and take things easily whenever and wherever. I love my brother and I pray that Allah will accept him, and I humbly request that prayer be made for him. I do pray that you have a true belief of Allah and our return to Him because if you do have this fear, you will struggle for your Islam to the best of your ability before you can say it is too late. May we all be rightly guided. Ameen.

The fruits of Honesty

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by–still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles
But
If you plant dishonesty, You will reap distrust
If you plant selfishness, You will reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You will reap destruction
If you plant envy, You will reap trouble
If you plant laziness, You will reap stagnation
If you plant bitterness, You will reap isolation
If you plant greed, You will reap loss
If you plant gossip, You will reap enemies
If you plant worries, You will reap wrinkles
If you plant sin, You will reap guilt

So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow,The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better,your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits,Or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

Be Grateful

Luqman(A.S.) had great love for the Almighty, that it created within him high moral character and exemplary habits. This was a clear sign of his nobility and nearness to Allah. The details of that is described in Surah(Chapter) Luqman in the Glorious Qur’an.

Luqman(A.S.) used to be in the employment of a rich man. The nobility of Luqman(A.S.)’s character had a great effect on his master, so much so that the master considered him as a great friend and a beloved companion. Although he was the master, yet in fact the master became like a slave to his employee.

It became the practice of the master that whenever he had something special to eat, he would first feed Luqman(A.S.) of it and after Luqman(A.S.) had filled himself, he would eat the left overs.

Luqman(A.S.) would consider the love of the master and his habit, so he would eat moderately and send what was left over to the master. One day, during the melon season, the master received a melon from somewhere. At that time Luqman(A.S.) was not present. The master sent one of his slaves to go and call him.

When Luqman(A.S.) arrived, the master cut the melon into slices and slice by slice started giving thereof to Luqman(A.S.) to eat. As he ate the slices, the master inwardly became pleased at the effect his love was having upon Luqman(A.S.). Luqman(A.S.) ate the slices with great PLEASURE and all the time expressed THANKS for the favour shown to him by the master. After having eaten the slices, when just one slice remained, the master said: “Let me eat this slice and see how sweet is this melon.” Saying this, he put the slice into his mouth. Immediately, such bitterness spread from the tip of his tongue down to his throat, that as a result of the extreme bitterness of the melon, he fell down unconscious and remained unconscious for a whole hour.

When he regained consciousness, he questioned Luqman(A.S.): ” O Beloved one, how did you manage to, so heartily eat those slices of melon ? Just one slice of the melon had such an effect on me, then how did you manage to eat so many slices ?”

Luqman(A.S.) replied: “O Friend, from your hands I have received hundreds of gifts. The burden of thanks upon me is so great, that my back has gone crooked. Hence, I felt ashamed that the hand that had granted me so much favours, if one day some distastefulness or bitterness should come, how can I turn away from it? O Friend, the pleasure of knowing that it comes from your hands has changed the bitterness of the melon to sweetness.”

LESSON:

At every given moment there are numerous bounties and favours of Allah upon mankind. But if ever for a moment some such incident takes place which brings with it, a problem and outwardly causes some difficulty, man loses patience and fails to be grateful.

On the other hand, there are those who are granted understanding, so that when sorrows and difficulties touches them, they remain happy, pleased and grateful to their Lord. At such times, they draw strength from their good understanding and realise that this world is like a hospital and we are like patients in it.

There are times when the doctor gives the patient “sweet” medicine and at other times ” bitter” medicine. However, in both these, there are beneficial results for the patient. Similarly, Allah is the “Al Hakeem”, the All-Wise and at the same time is the ” Haakim”- Ruler. He is also “Ar- Raheem”, the Merciful One. Hence, whether it brings out comfort or discomfort, all these are for our benefit and interest.

So be Grateful and Thankful under ALL circumstances and conditions to the Almighty.

Source: Ma’arif-e-Mathnawi (Vol.1)

The Lonely Ember

A Musalli of a certain Masjid, who previously had been attending salaah in congregation regularly, stopped going.� After a few weeks, the Imaam decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The Imaam found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the Imaam’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The Imaam made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the Imaam took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a doornail.” Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the Imaam was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Imaam reached the door to leave, his host said, “May Allah reward you so much for your visit and especially for the “fiery” sermon. I shall be back for salaah in the Masjid at Fajr.”
Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Qur’an Surah An-Nahl: 125)

Sayyidina Abdullah bin Umar(R.A.) reported that Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that Allah created some of his creatures in order that they may fulfil the needs of people. When people face any difficulty they get worried and (enquire about them). Such people are protected from the punishment of Allah. (Tabaraani, Jama’al Fawa’id)
Adapted and edited by Al-Islaah Publications (www.everymuslim.com)

Success of a farmer

There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning corn in his farm. Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honors and prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew his corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in the competition with yours each year?” The reporter asked. “Why bother ? ”

The farmer replied, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours to grow good corn too.”

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbours’ corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions and areas of life!

Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well too. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches…

Success does not happen in isolation; it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your family, friends, team members and neighbours and all. As they say: “Success breeds Success.”
Author unknown

Abdullah ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: �The best friend in the Sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbour is one who behaves best towards his neighbours.� (Tirmidhi)

Imam Abu Hanifah and the Atheist

Long ago in the city of Baghdad, there was a Muslim empire. On one side of the River Tigris were the royal palaces and on the other side was the city. The Muslims were gathered in the Royal Palace when an athiest approached them. He said to them, ‘I don’t believe in God, there cannot be a God, you cannot hear Him or see Him, you’re wasting your time! Bring me your best debator and I will debate this issue with him.’

The best debator at the time was Imam Abu Hanifah Rahimullah. A messenger from amongst the Muslims was sent over the River Tigris to the city, where Abu Hanifah Rahimullah was, in order to tell him about the athiest who was awaiting him. On crossing the River Tigris, the messenger conveyed the message to Abu Hanifah Rahimullah saying, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, an athiest is waiting for you, to debate you, please come!’ Abu Hanifah Rahimullah told the messeneger that he would be on his way.

The messenger went over the River Tigris once again and to the Royal Palaces, where everyone including the athiest awaited the arrival of Abu Hanifah Rahimullah. It was sunset at the time and one hour had passed, but Abu Hanifah Rahimullah still hadn’t arrived. Another hour had passed, but still there was no sign of him. The Muslims started to become tense and worried about his late arrival. They did not want the athiest to think that they were too scared to debate him, yet they did not want to take up the challenge themselves as Abu Hanifah Rahimullah was the best of Debators from amongst the Muslims. Another hour passed, and suddenly the athiest started laughing and said, ‘ Your best debator is too scared! He knows he’s wrong, he is too frightened to come and debate with me. I gurantee he will not turn up today.’

The Muslims increased in apprehension and eventually it had passed midnight, and the athiest had a smile on his face. The clock ticked on, and finally Abu Hanifah Rahimullah had arrived. The Muslims inquired about his lateness and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, a messenger sent for you hours ago, and you arrive now, explain your lateness to us.’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah apologises for his lateness and begins to explain, while the atheist listens to his story.

‘Once the messenger delivered the message to me, I began to make my way to the River Tigris, and on reaching the river bank I realised there was no boat, in order to cross the river. It was getting dark, and I looked around, there was no boat anywhere nor was there a navigator or a sailor in order for me to cross the river to get to the Royal Palaces. I continued to look around for a boat, as I did not want the athiest to think I was running away and did not want to debate with him.

I was standing on the river bank looking for a navigator or a boat when something caught my attention in the middle of the river. I looked forward, and to my amazement I saw planks of wood rising to the surface from the sea bed. I was shocked, amazed, I couldn’t believe what I saw seeing. Ready made planks of wood were rising up to the surface and joining together. They were all the same width and length, I was astounded at what I saw.

I continued to look into the middle of the river, and then I saw nails coming up from the sea floor. They positioned themselves onto the boat and held the planks together, without them being banged. I stood in amazement and thought to myself, ‘Oh Allah, how can this happen, planks of wood rising to the surface by itself, and then nails positioning themselves onto the boat without being banged?’ I could not undertsand what was happening before my eyes.’

The athiest meanwhile was listening with a smile on his face. Abu Hanifah Rahimullah continued, ‘I was still standing on the river bank watching these planks of wood join together with nails. I could see water seeping through the gaps in the wood, and suddenly I saw a sealant appear from the river and it began sealing the gaps without someone having poured it, again I thought, ‘Ya Allah, how is this possible, how can sealant appear and seal the gaps without someone having poured it, and nails appear without someone having banged them.’ I looked closer and I could see a boat forming before my eyes, I stood in amazement and was filled with shock. All of a sudden a sail appeared and I thought to myself, ‘How is this happening, a boat has appeared before my eyes by itself, planks of wood, nails, sealant and now a sail, but how can I use this boat in order to cross the river to the Royal Palaces?’ I stood staring in wonderment and suddenly the boat began to move. It came towards me against the current. It stood floating beside me while I was on the river bank, as if telling me to embark onto it. I went on the boat and yet again it began to move. There was no navigator or sailor on the boat, and the boat began to travel towards the direction of the royal palaces, without anyone having programmed it as to where to go. I could not understand what was happening, and how this boat had formed and was taking me to my destination against the flow of water. The boat eventually reached the other side of the River Tigris and I disembarked. I turned around and the boat had disappeared, and that is why I am late.’

At this moment, the athiest brust out laughing and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, I heard that you were the best debator from amongst the Muslims, I heard that you were the wisest, the most knowledgable from amongst your people. From seeing you today, I can say that you show none of these qualities. You speak of a boat appearing from nowhere, without someone having built it. Nails positioning themselves without someone having banged them, sealant being poured without someone having poured it, and the boat taking you to your destination without a navigator against the tide, your taking childish, your talking rediculous, I swear I do not belive a word of it!’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah turned to the athiest and replied, ‘You don’t believe a word of it? You dont believe that nails can appear by themselves? You dont believe sealant can be poured by itself? You dont believe that a boat can move without a navigator, hence you don’t believe that a boat can appear without a boat maker?’

The athiest remarked defiantly, ‘Yes I dont believe a word of it!’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah replied, ‘If you cannot believe that a boat came into being without a boat maker, than this is only a boat, how can you believe that the whole world, the universe, the stars, the oceans, and the planets came into being without a creator?

The athiest astonished at his reply got up and fled.

Transcribed from a lecture delivered by Shaykh Ahmad Ali.

Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi and the Thieves

One night Sultan Mahmood Ghaznawi went walking among his subjects after taking off his royal clothes and putting on ordinary clothes. He chanced to come upon a group of thieves who were consulting amongst themselves. On seeing him they asked: “Who are you?”

The King (Sultan) replied: “I am also one like yourselves.” They understood that to mean that he was also a thief like themselves and allowed him to join their company. They then continued the conversation amongst themselves and it was decided that each one of them should explain what speciality or skill he possesses so that at the time of need a task could be put before him to show that special skill.

One of the thieves said: “Friends, I have a special gift in my ears, that whenever a dog barks, I fully understand what he says.”

The second one said: “I have a special gift in my eyes, that whatever I see in the darkness of night, I am able to recognize it in the light of day.”

The third one said: “I have this speciality in my arms that through the strength that lies in my arms, I can make a hole in the strongest wall, to enter a house.”

The fourth one said: “I have this special gift in my nose that by smelling the sand on the ground I am able to ascertain whether there is any treasure buried underneath it or not. It is just like in the case of Majnoon, who without being told, merely by smelling the ground, got to know where Layla was buried.”

The fifth one said: “I have such strength in my hands that no matter how high a building is, I can climb along its wall with my rope ladder and easily enter the building in this manner.”

Thereafter they all asked the King: “O man, what special gift do you possess which we can make use of in our thieving activities?”

The King replied: “I have this speciality in my beard that when criminals are handed over to their executioner, I merely shake my beard and such criminals are immediately set free.” (In other words, if as a show of mercy I shake my beard, the criminals found guilty of murder, are set free).

On hearing this the thieves said: “O dear Qutub, on the day of difficulty, you will be our one means of salvation.” (In other words, if we are arrested, then through you blessings we will be saved. Now we do not have to fear, because the rest of us had the special gift which would help us in our thieving exploits, but none of us had the means of granting safety from punishment. This speciality lies only with you. Now we need not have any fear of punishment. Now we can get on with our work).

They all went in the direction of the palace of Shah Mahmood with the King in their midst. Along the way a dog barked and the one who understood the dog’s language translated: “The King is also in you midst.” Although they heard it, no one paid any attention to this information, as their greed was uppermost in their minds. One of them smelled the ground and explained that this is the Royal Palace . There is a treasure in this place. The other one threw a rope ladder against the wall. The other one made a hole in the wall and they all entered to burgle. Afterwards they divided the loot amongst themselves and hastily each one of them went to hide his share of the spoils.

The King noted each one’s description and found out where each of them resided. He left them and secretly re-entered the Royal Palace . The following day the King related the entire story to his courtiers and thereafter sent the policemen to arrest them and to inform them of their death sentence.

When they were brought before the Court with hands bound together, they were all trembling in fear before the King’s throne. However, the thief who had this special gift of recognizing anybody during the day whom he had seen during the darkness, was quite at ease. In him together with the signs of fear there were also sights of hope. In other words, although he was struck by awe while standing before the King and although fearing the King’s wrath and revenge, he also had the hope, that the King would be true to his word, that when in mercy he shakes his beard, criminals will be set free. Furthermore he also had the hope of setting free al his companions because the King will surely not turn away from all those whom he knew and recognized.

This person’s face was changing from yellow to red, as within himself the feelings of fear and hope alternated. The Sultan Mahmood in Kingly dignity passed judgment that they all should be handed over to the Executioner to be hung on the gallows. As the King himself was witness to their crime, there was no need for any other witnesses.

As soon as the King announced his judgement, this person appealed in great humility: “Sire, with you permission, may I say something?” The King permitted him to speak and he said: “O Master, each one of us had exhibited his special gift which helped in this crime. Now it is time that the Kingly speciality should be exhibited according to the promise. I have all the while recognized you. Remember you had promised that in you beard there is this speciality, that if you cause it to move in mercy, the criminal will be saved from punishment. Hence, O King, shake you beard, so that through the blessings of your grace, all of us can be saved from the punishment of our crimes. Our specialities have brought us to the gallows. Now it is only you special gift that is left which can save us from being punished of our crimes. Our specialities have brought us to the gallows. Now it is only you special gift that is left which can save us from being punished. Now is the time for the exhibition of your speciality. Kindly shake your beard. Because of fear our lives have reached right up to our mouths. Please save us with the special gift that lies in your beard.”

Sultan Mahmood smiled at the plea and became filled with mercy and grace as he heard their pitiful admission of guilt. He said: “Each one of you have exhibited his special quality to such an extent that it has brought you to the brim of destruction, except in the case of this one. He recognized me as the Sultan. He saw me in the darkness of the night and recognized me as the Sultan. Hence for his having recognized me, I set all of you free. I feel ashamed at those eyes which recognized me not to shake my beard and thereby exhibit my special quality.”

Lessons

The first lesson contained is this story is that while a person is committing a crime the true King of Kings is with him, and is fully aware of all that he does. “And He is with you wherever you are.” When a person commits any disobedience to Allah he is actually committing treachery against Him. Anyone who fails in his duty to Allah or in the rights which are due to me, is like a thief committing the theft of Allah’s treasures. For this reason, one should always bear in mind that the Master is the witness, seeing us at all times, and is aware of all that we do. If we commit any disobedience or iniquity, it means that in His very presence His treasury is being looted and robbed.
Think for a moment! Whom are you robbing? That King and Master tells you: “I am seeing what you do. I am with you. My laws have been revealed to you. Today your breaking that law. Today, in this world I will hide your fault, hoping that perhaps you will come upon the right road. But if you do not come to your senses, then tomorrow on the day of Qiyamat when you will be brought before Me, with hands bound together, then who will be able to save you from My anger and revenge?”

The second lesson from this story is that Allah will punish sinners in the hereafter although He may initially overlook them in this world. We see that at the time the thieves were looting the Royal treasury, the Sultan witnessed the entire incident. He was with them and allowed them to proceed without being punished. However in the end, he had them arrested. If, at all times, this thought is uppermost in our minds that Allah sees all our deeds then there will surely be fear in the heart against committing sins.

The third lesson from this story is this that on the day of Qiyamat no special quality will be of any benefit. All those deeds which contravene the laws of Allah will on the day of Qiyamat be bound around man’s neck even though, in this world, they were considered as being special qualities. The thieves mentioned those special gifts and qualities as if the were qualities of virtue, but in reality those very qualities were the cause of their destruction:
“Each one of them exhibited their special quality,
But all their qualities only caused their misfortune to increase.”
Any special quality which does not bring a person nearer to his Creator, and which does not connect the heart to Allah, and which is not a medium towards the remembrance of Allah is no quality of virtue. In fact it is a cure and a misfortune. All the powers and attributes of man which are used in rebellion against Allah and towards disobedience and negligence, will one day cause him to be brought before Allah as a criminal. All those nations who have made great progress and through scientific inventions have made this world subservient to them, but turn away from Allah, passing their lives in disobedience, will realize on the day of Qiyamat, whether the speciality of scientific progress had been the cause of receiving Allah’s grace or His anger.
“Blessed be to you the subjugation of the sun and moon,
But if there is no light in the heart there is no light anywhere.”

The fourth lesson from this story is that no special quality will be of benefit except that which leads towards recognizing Allah, just like the person who having seen the Sultan, recognized him and through this special quality, he not only saved himself but was also able to intercede on behalf of this companions. As for his other companions, their special quality became a means towards earning Allah’s punishment.
“Only the sight of the fortunate one was of any use
Who recognized the Sultan during darkness of night.”
The lesson derived is that this world is like a place of darkness. In the darkness of this world, every servant of Allah who follows the Divine Laws of Shariat and through its blessings recognizes Allah, will be provided with salvation against the punishment on hell-fire, on the day of Qiyamat. This recognition will also be a means towards intercession on behalf of other criminals, from among the sinners of the people of faith. However, there should not be any pride and over confidence in this recognition. In fact, one should alternate between fear and hope and in utmost humility beg for this intercession. Then Allah will accept this intercession from whomever He wishes according to His Mercy . For those whom He will not accept this intercession, He will in perfect justice exhibit His overwhelming vengeance. Hence, fortunate indeed is the person who, in the world, created within himself the knowledge of recognizing Allah. The Aarifeen (True knowers of Allah) who through their spiritual efforts and exercises recognize Allah with their souls, will tomorrow on the day of Qiyamat see Allah and attain salvation. Furthermore their intercession on behalf of other sinners will also be accepted. But the disbelievers and criminals will through their special qualities be admitted into hell-fire. On that day these poor starving ones with pale faces, patched coarse clothing, who today are being ridiculed and jeered at, will feast their eyes upon the countenance of Allah. On that day, the criminals will envy them:
“Would that we had lived like them in the world and acquired their qualities.
Would that we had recognized Allah properly!”

The fifth lesson is this that the story also illustrates the high position these righteous and saintly ones have as far as their humanity is concerned. What a pity that nations and people, just like those thieves, spend their short span of worldly lives looking upon means of delight and comfort as special gift and accomplishment, and look upon material progress as being actual progress. Whereas on the other hand, they have adopted uncouth habits like urinating while standing and cleansing themselves with paper after defecating. They also consider it normal to take a bath sitting in a tub and allow the water, which had become dirtied through being in contact with the anus to be drawn into their mouth and nose. They consider those actions as the norms of society. Can such people ever be considered to be cultured and people of progress? What a pity it is that the beloved cultural ways of Muslims should be cast aside and that such despicable ways of these people should be adopted.

Source: Khanqah

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