YOUNG MAN: Reflect, too, upon the story of Hatim the deaf who was the companion of Shaqiq al-Balkhi (may the mercy of Allah be upon them both). One day Shaqiq enquired of Hatim: “For 30 years you have been my companion. What, pray, have you gained from it?” Hatim replied: “I have gained eight benefits with which I am contented and from which I expect my salvation and my deliverance.” “And what are they?” Shaqiq asked. Said Hatim:
“THE FIRST is that I looked at creation and noticed that to everyone there belongs a beloved. And a part of that which is beloved to him accompanies him to his death – sickness, while another part accompanies him only to the edge of his grave. But none (of the above) enters with him. So I reflected and said to myself: “The most beloved is the companion accompanying one into the grave! I found this companion to be none other than Righteous Deeds. So I embraced her as my beloved to be a shining light and an intimate friend never to abandon me when I would be most alone.
THE SECOND is that I looked at man and found him guided by his whims and fancies, forever hastening to the fulfilment of his lower desires. So I meditated upon the verse: “But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrain his soul from lower desires; his abode will be the Garden..” and came to know, with the knowledge of certainty, that the Qur’an was indeed the Truth. Then swiftly I moved to free myself from its vain desires until they rested, contented, in obedience to Allah, the High, the Exalted and finally consented to His Will.
THE THIRD is that I noticed every single person greedily striving to gain for himself the vanities of the world. Then I reflected upon the verse: “What is with you must vanish and what is with Allah must endure.” So I spent my life’s earnings in the way of Allah and divided them amongst the poor to be as a treasure for me in the care of Allah.
THE FOURTH is that I saw a number of people who thought that their honour and strength resided in the sheer abundance of their clan and kinsfolk. Others claimed and boasted that it was contained in the amount of their wealth and children. Others reckoned that it was to be found in the extortion of wealth, oppression of others, and the shedding of their blood. Yet another group believed that strength and honour was to be found in extravagance – in the wasting and squandering of money. Then I thought about the words of Allah: “Verily, the most honoured of you (is he who) is the most righteous of you.” I then chose righteousness for myself for I had come to know with firmness of belief that the Qur’an was indeed the truth and that their opinions and assumptions were false and ephemeral. Read the rest of this entry »