Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The old man's joy after extreme hardship

IBN Jarir At-Tabari (d. 310H) narrates:

I was in Makkah during the season of Haj and I saw a man from Khurasan calling out to the people, "Pilgrims, people of Makkah, I have lost a pouch that contains a thousand dinars. So whoever returns the pouch will be rewarded by Allah with good and saved from the Hellfire, and His bounty and favors will be acquired on the Day of Accounting."

An old man from the people of Makkah approached him and said, "Khurasani, our city is in very tough condition, and the days of Haj are few, and its season is appointed, and the doors of profit-making are closed. This money might fall into the hands of a believer who is poor and old in age. Maybe he plans to give it back if you promise that you will give him a little bit of money that is Halal (permissible) for him to use."

The Khurasani asked, "How much does he want?"

"He wants one-tenth of the money."

The Khurasani replied, "No, I will not grant him the money. Instead I will take my case to Allah and complain to Him on the day we meet Him, and Allah is sufficient for us and the best one to trust in."

I realized that it was the old man who was poor, and he was the one who had taken the pouch of dinars and wished to have a little portion of it. So I followed him until he returned to his home. My assumptions were confirmed. I heard him calling onto his wife, "Lubabah!"

She said, "I am at your service, Abu Ghayth."

The old man said, "I found the owner of the dinars calling for it, and he does not intend to give any reward to the person who finds it. I said to him, 'Give us a hundred dinars,' and he refused and said he would take his case to Allah. What should I do, Lubabah? I must return it, for I fear my Lord and I fear that my sin is multiplied."

The wife replied, "Oh man! We have been struggling and suffering from poverty with you for the last 50 years, and you have four daughters, two sisters, my mother and me, and you are the ninth. Keep all the money and feed us, for we are hungry, and clothe us, for you know better our situation. Perhaps Allah the Almighty will make you rich afterwards and you might be able to give the money back after you have fed your children, or Allah will pay the amount you owe on the day when the kingdom will belong to the King (Allah)."

The old exclaimed, "Will I consume Haraam (unlawful) after 86 years of my life, and burn my organs with fire after I have been patient with my poverty, and become worthy of Allah's anger, even though I am close to my grave? No, by Allah, I will not do so!"

I left amazed at his condition and that of his wife.

Later I heard the owner of the pouch calling out again, and the old man repeated his advise. This time he asked for 10 dinars instead of a hundred.

The Khurasani refused.

The people dispersed and left. Later, once again, the Khurasani made the same call.

The old man came again and said, "Khurasani, I said to you the day before yesterday to reward the finder a hundred dinars and you refused. Then I advised you to give him ten dinars and you refused. So will you give only one dinar so that he can buy with half of it things he needs and with the other half sheep's milk so that he can give to the people and feed his children?"

The Khurasani again refused.

The old man said angrily, "Come and take your money so that I can sleep at night, for I have not been in a good mood ever since I found this money."

So the old man went with the owner of the money and I followed them until the old man entered his house, dug a hole, and pulled out the money and said, "Take your money and ask Allah to forgive me and bless me from His bounty."

The Khurasani then said, "Old man, my father died — may Allah have mercy on him — and left behind three thousand dinars and said to me, 'Take out a third of this money and give it to a person from the people who is most deserving of it.'

By Allah, I have not seen a person since I left Khurasan until now, who is more worthy of it than you. So take it, may Allah's blessing be upon you, and may He reward you for the trust you kept and your patience during poverty."

The Khurasani man left without the money.

The old man wept and prayed, "May Allah bless the owner of the money in his grave, and may Allah bless his son."

I left after the Khurasani but Abu Ghayth, the old man, brought me back. He said, "I have seen you following me since the first day; you have come to know of our situation yesterday and today. So this is a gift from Allah to all those attending."

The old man called his daughters, his sisters, and his wife and her mother, and sat down and made me sit down. We were 10. The old man gave out the dinars one by one in order until he reached me and said, "Here is a dinar." The process continued until the bag was empty and I received a hundred dinars.

So joy filled my heart because of the provision they received, more than the joy I had because I received a hundred dinars.

When I was leaving the old man said, "Young man, you are blessed. Keep this money with you, for it is Halal. And know that I used to wake up for Fajr Prayer with this wet shirt. After I was done I would take it off and give it to my daughters so that they could pray, one by one. Then I would go to work between Zuhr Prayer and Asr Prayer and then I would come back at the end of the day with what Allah has given me of dates and dry pieces of bread. Then I would take off my clothes for my daughters and they would pray Zhuhr and `Asr, and the same would happen for the Maghrib and `Isha' Prayers. And we did not ever expect to see this kind of money. So may Allah make us make good use of them, and may Allah bless the person in his grave and multiply the reward for him."

So I told him goodbye and took the hundred dinars and used them to write knowledge for two years. I used it to buy paper and pay rent, and after 16 years I returned to Makkah and inquired about the old man. I was told that he had died a few months after the incident that occurred between us. His wife had died, along with her mother and his two sisters. The only ones that remained were the daughters, who, I found upon asking, were married to kings and princes. I dropped by and they honored me as a guest and treated me kindly until they died also. So May Allah bless them in their graves.

"...And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allâh, then He will suffice him..." (Qur'an, 65:2-3).

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