By the fadhl (grace) of Allah we commence this important series on stories and anecdotes of Islamic Character. The benefits of these narratives are tremendous. Stating one benefit, Al-lah Ta’ala declares: “And all these incidents in the lives of the Ambiya We narrate to you by virtue of which We strengthen your heart. (Surah Hood, 120)
In these times of disbelief, heresy, apostasy, immorality and sin, to protect and preserve his/her Imaan and Akhlaaq *Faith and Morals+ the Mu’min and Mu’minah are faced with a daunting task indeed. The Awliya (the Special Friends of Allah) have instructed on the basis of the aforementioned Divine Declaration, studying the lives and stories of the pious servants of Allah Ta’ala. In view of these pious servants of Allah Ta’ala being embodiment’s of the noble and beautiful conduct of Islam, studying the stories of their lives imbues in the reader an urge to follow in their footsteps and be firm in the face of tribulation.
Similarly, studying the consequences of evil character serves as admonition and creates revulsion in the heart for evil character and transgression. Thus, Al-lah Ta’ala states: “The Truth has come to you in these narratives and admonition and reminders for the Mu’mineen.” (Surah Hood, 120)
Whilst these stories are narrated for the laudable purposes mentioned, like a weapon when not handled with care, misinterpretation and wrongful intentions will lead to harm befalling the reader. Explaining this further, Hazrat Maseehul Ummat Mou-lana Maseehullah Khan Saheb Rahmatullah alaih, popularly known as Hazratji, states:
“These stories are just like rain. Not just these stories, in fact all the Aayaat of the Qur’aan and Ahadeeth of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) are exactly like this *rain+.
Rain per se is extremely exquisite and refreshing. However, its effect differs according to the potential or lack of potential of the location. If the land is fer-tile then flowers, gardens and first-grade fruit will be produced. If the land, however, is salty, then the land will only grow weeds with the rain. Shaikh Sa’di says:
“Rain, which everyone agrees is naturally whole-some, Produces colourful flowers in a garden and weeds in a barren land”
Similarly, the effects of listening to stories of Allah Ta’ala’s mercy produce diverse effects on people with different dispositions. Those who are spiritually sick and unstable think that since Allah Ta’ala for-gives over minute things, then what is the need for good deeds? Those who are sound in disposition, however, become more ready and steadfast on in-creasing their obedience when listening to stories of Divine Mercy.”
The stories presented here are from the blessed tongue and pen of Hazrat Moulana Maseehullah Saheb (Rahmatullahi alaih), save a few interspersed pearls. It rests with the individual to benefit from and prosper with these inspiring and thought-provoking narratives.
MAALIK BIN DINAAR’S SABR
Once, Maalik Bin Dinaar rented a room next to the home of a Jew. His room was adjacent to the entrance of the Jew’s home. The Jew spitefully always deposited garbage and filth in Maalik’s entrance. Even his musalla would at times be soiled. This treatment continued for a long period, but Maalik Bin Dinaar never complained. One day the Jew came and said: “Does the garbage I deposit in front of your room not distress you?” Maalik: “It does distress me, but I wash and clean the place.” Jew: “Why do you tolerate so much distress?” Maalik: Allah has promised substantial reward for those who contain their anger and forgive people.” Jew: “Truly, your Deen is beautiful. It commands toleration of even the hardships presented by enemies.” The Jew was so affected by the beautiful conduct of Maalik Bin Dinaar that he embraced Islam.
THE OUTCOME OF GREED
Maalik Bin Dinaar visited a man in his death throes. He en-deavoured to induce the dying man to recite Kalimah Sha-haadat. The only response was: “Ten, eleven–ten, eleven.” The man said: “In front of me is a mountain of fire. When I wish to recite Kalimah Shahaadat, the mountain of fire rushes towards me. Maalik Bin Dinaar enquired about the man’s deeds and he was told that this man dealt in interest and would give less when weighing.
ALLAH’S POWER AND RAHMAT
Hadhrat Hasan’s neighbour, Sham’oon was a fire-worshipper. Sham’oon was in his death-throes. Hadhrat Hasan visited him. He observed that Sham’oon’s face had darkened as a result of his years of fire-worshipping. Hadhrat Hasan: “Abandon fire-worship and become a Muslim. Perhaps Allah will have mercy on you.” Sham’oon: “Three things have turned me away from Islam. One: The world accord-ing to you (Muslims) is evil, but you remain in its pursuit. Two: You believe that death is true, but you do not make preparations for it. Three: You claim the wonder of Allah’s Vision, but on earth you act in conflict with His wishes.” Hadhrat Hasan: “This is a sign of those who recognize the truth. The true Mu’min acts accordingly. But tell me, what have you gained by destroying your life in fire-worship? Even if a Mu’min does no good, at least he testifies to the Unity of Allah. You have worshipped the fire for seventy years. If you and I fall into the fire, it will burn us both without caring for your worship. However, my Allah has the power of preventing the fire from burning me.”
So saying, Hadhrat Hasan took Allah’s Name and plunged his hand into the fire. He held his hand for a long time in the fire which had no effect on him. Seeing this, Sham’oon’s heart opened up. The light of guidance had penetrated his heart. He said: “I have worshipped the fire for 70 years. What can I achieve in the few moments that remain of life?” Hadhrat Hasan: “Become a Muslim!” Sham’oon: “Write a document stating that if I embrace Islam, Allah will forgive me.”
Hadhrat Hasan wrote the document and presented it to Sham’oon who said: “Let the pious elders of Basrah endorse it with their signatures.” This request was complied with. Sham’oon said:”O Hasan, when I die, give me ghusl and bury me. Place the document in my hand so that I have proof of my Islam.” Sham’oon recited the Kalimah and died. His wasiyyat was fulfilled by Hadhrat Hasan. Hadhrat Hasan returned home overwhelmed by worry. He thought: “When I myself am im-mersed in sin, how could I have furnished a guarantee of for-giveness to another man?” In this distressful state he fell asleep. In a dream he saw Sham’oon donned in beautiful gar-ments with a crown on his head strolling in Jannat. Hadhrat Hasan: “How did it fare with you?” Sham’oon: “Allah forgave me by His mercy. I am unable to explain the bounties He has bestowed to me. There now no longer remains on you any responsibility. Here take your doc-ument. I no longer have need of it.”
When Hadhrat Hasan’s eyes opened he discovered the docu-ment in his hand. He profusely thanked Allah and said:”O Allah! You act without cause.
Everything is dependent on Your act. When you have forgiv-en a man merely on one statement (the Kalimah) after he had worshipped the fire for seventy years, why will You not for-give a man who had worshipped you for seventy years?” (The boundless Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala can be understood from this episode.)
WHO KNOWS ABOUT TOMORROW?
There was once a person who found a huge amount of money in a bag at a railway station. He placed an advertisement call-ing upon the owner to identify the bag and its contents so that it could be returned to him. The owner came forward and after identifying it, offered a large gift in return for the honesty of the person. The person refused the reward.
A few months thereafter, the same person was caught stealing a few rupees. The judge was surprised and remarked: “Are you not the same person who returned a fortune some time ago. How is it possible that you have stolen a few rupees?” The person replied: “O judge, at that time my heart was like that, now my heart has become like this”. Allahu-Akbar!
How careful should we all not be? Today we are faithful hus-bands, employees and honest businessmen. Today we assume we are sincere and humble and Allah-Fearing Ulama. Great man have fallen from lofty pedestals.
Who knows about tomorrow? Shaytaan and the nafs lurk eve-ry where. May we live with constant remorse and fear. (Ameen)