The Pearl of Peace
There was once a man who was in a state of poverty. One day, he left home with some yarn and sold it for one dirham (silver coin), hoping to purchase flour. Coincidentally, he thereafter passed by two men who were fighting with one another and shouting. On enquiring the reason for their quarrel, he was informed that they were fighting over a dirham. In order to end their dispute and create peace between them, he gave them his dirham – even though it was the only money that he possessed.
The man then returned home and informed his wife of what had transpired. As they were in poverty and required food, she gathered some of their household items and handed them to her husband so that he could sell them and raise some money to buy their needs. Unfortunately, despite his efforts, he was unable to sell the goods.
After some time he met a man who had a fish that had begun to spoil. On seeing him, the man said, “You have goods which you cannot sell, and I have something which I cannot sell. Why do you not then sell me your goods in exchange of this fish?” The man agreed and they thus swapped the fish for the goods.
He then went home and handed the fish to his wife saying, “Please clean and prepare this fish, as we are dying of hunger!” Suddenly, while cleaning the fish, she slit its belly and discovered a pearl inside! She turned to her husband and said, “Something has emerged from the belly of the fish. It is smaller than a chicken’s egg and resembles a pigeon’s egg.”
The husband asked her to show it to him. When he looked at the item, he saw something that he had never before seen in his life. He was seized by excitement and exclaimed, “I think that it’s a pearl!” His wife asked him, “Do you know the value of a pearl?” He replied, “No, but I know a person who does.” Saying this, the husband took the pearl and went to one of his friends who was a jeweller by trade.
When he arrived at the shop of his friend, he greeted him with salaam and sat to speak to him. He then handed the pearl to him and asked, “How much is this worth?” After examining the pearl for a lengthy period, his friend said, “I can give you forty thousand dirhams (silver coins) for this pearl. If you wish, I can give you the money immediately. However, if you want a higher price, you can go to so-and-so, as he will pay you even more for this pearl.”
The man accepted his friend’s advice and went to the second person. When he saw the pearl, he said, “I can pay you eighty thousand dirhams for this pearl, but if you wish, you can go to so-and-so, as he can pay you more than I can.”
The man thus proceeded to the third person who examined the pearl and said, “I can pay you one hundred and twenty thousand dirhams, and I do not know of anyone who will pay you more than this.”
The man happily accepted the offer and returned. His money, which was in twelve piles of ten thousand dirhams each, was carried along with him to his home. As he arrived at home with the money, he found a beggar at the door. He told the beggar what had transpired and how he had acquired the wealth and bade him to come inside. When the beggar had entered, the man said to him, “Take half of this wealth.”
The beggar took six of the piles, equalling sixty thousand dirhams, and departed. However, after going a short distance, he returned and said, “I am neither in poverty nor am I destitute. Allah Ta‘ala, who gave you twenty qeeraat in exchange of the one dirham that you spent, sent me to you. All this money that Allah Ta‘ala has given you is only one of the twenty qeeraat, and Allah Ta‘ala has kept the other nineteen qeeraat in store for you in the Hereafter.”
(Al-Faraj ba’dash Shiddah vol. 3, pg. 238)
1. The man only spent one dirham, but it was spent for the purpose of reconciling between two Muslims who were fighting. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala awarded him with a reward far greater than he imagined. If the reward for reconciling between others is so great, then how much greater is the reward for reconciling with our own family members, as this includes the reward of joining family ties!
2. In order to reconcile between two parties that are fighting, some compromises and sacrifices will have to be made. If one has to willingly sacrifice his right or lose some wealth to achieve peace, Allah Ta‘ala will grant him an adequate recompense together with the far greater rewards of the Hereafter.
3. When the man arrived at home and informed his wife that he had spent his sole dirham, she apparently supported his decision and did not express anger. Furthermore, she gathered some of their household effects and gave them to him to sell so that they could buy food. In this way, she supported him in his Deen and exercised patience over the difficulty that they were undergoing.
4. When the man went to the first and second jeweller, they offered to buy the pearl from him, but also informed him that he could get a better price elsewhere. As the man did not know the value of the pearl, they could have easily paid him a fraction of its real worth and then sold it for their own profit. However, since they wished well for their Muslim brother, they dealt with him in a manner that was conducive to securing his benefit, not their own. Also, it was actually the barakah of his noble action of spending his only dirham to reconcile the disputing parties, that he was guided to honest people who gave him sincere advice. Otherwise, he could have ended up in the hands if some fraudsters who would have robbed him of his wealth.
5. When Allah Ta‘ala had blessed the man with so much of wealth, he felt that he should share it with the beggar as well, so that the beggar could also be happy and enjoy the favour of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, we should also wish well for others and try to assist them where possible.