Virtues of Trade &?Business
In this chapter, we first of all, mention those verses of the Quraan which refer to the subject. In the Ihya-ul-Uloom, Imaam Gazali Rahmatullah Alayh dealt at length on this subject in the chapter on “Adaab (behaviour) of correct earnings and livelihood.” We quote briefly from there: Allah Ta’ala says in the Quraan:
Allah mentioned this verse where He His favours and bounty on men.
It is mentioned in the Hadeeth from Hazrat Anas Radiallahu anhu that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “It is a bounded duty upon every Muslim to earn a Halaal livelihood.”
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Masood Radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “To earn a Halaal livelihood is compulsory after the completion of other Fara’idh (compulsory acts).”
Hazrat Abu Said Khudri Padiallahu anhu relates from Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam that he said: “For every person who earns anything Halaal which he eats himself or whereby he clothes himself or anyone of Allah’s creation, that shall be written as a deed of charity.”
Naseeh al Ansi Radiallahu anhu relates from Rakb al Misri Radiallahu anhu that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Glad tidings to those whose earnings are Halaal.”
In the book: Targheeb wa Targheeb there is a long Hadeeth in which Sayyedena Saad bin Abi Waqqas Radiallahu anhu said: “0 Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, make duaa that Allah Ta’ala makes me one of those, whose prayers will always be answered.”
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam replied: “0 Saad, keep your food pure and Halaal and you will become of those whose prayers are answered. I swear by Him, in whose hands Muhammad’s (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) life lies, that when a man casts one morsel of Haraam food into his stomach, no righteous deed of his shall be accepted for forty days.”
Hazrat Miqdaam bin Maa’di Karb Radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “No one of you ever ate better food than that which he earned through the work of his hands.”
And verily Nabi Dawood Alayhis Salaam use to eat that which he earned with his hands. It is stated in Ibn Maaja that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “There is no earning better than that which is earned with one’s own hands.” And whatever one spends on himself, his family, his children and on his servants, is for him a charity.
Hazrat Abu Huraira Radiallahu anhu relates that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “It is better for a person to carry a bundle of firewood on his back (and sell it) than to beg from someone who may give or may refuse.”
Sayyedena Anas Radiallahu anhu reports that a certain Ansari once came to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, and begged him for something. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam asked him; “Is there really nothing in your house?” He replied:
“Yes, sire, there is a hessian bag, one part of which I wear and the other part I spread when I retire to sleep, and a cup which I use for drinking water.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Bring both to me.” He brought the articles. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam took them and exclaimed: “Who will buy these from me?” A man replied “I shall buy them both for one dirham.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam asked twice or thrice: “Who will give me more?” A man finally said: “I shall buy them both for two dirhams.” Thereupon Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam gave the goods to him and gave the two dirhams to the Ansari and said: “Buy food with the one dirham and feed your family, and buy with the other, an axe and bring it to me.” The Ansari brought the axe. Rasulullah Sallaltahu Alayhi Wasallam took it and with his own, mubarak hands, fitted a han die to it and said: “Go, cut wood and sell and let me not see you for fifteen days.” The man did as he was told and came (again) after fifteen days with ten dirhams. With some of it he bought clothes, and with the other he bought food.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said to him: “This is better for you than that you shall appear on the Day of Qiyaamat with a mark on your face to indicate that you were a beggar.”
Sayyedatina Aysha Radiallahu anha reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Whosoever in the evening is exhausted through his work, has all his sins forgiven by that evening.”
In all these Ayaat and Ahaadeeth we read about the great virtue in earning a living with one’s own hands. On the other hand, there are many more Ahadeeth regarding tawakkul (reliance on Allah). The Quraan, Hadeeth and the words of the saints of Islam are full of virtues of putting complete faith in Allah as provider. Imaam Gazali Rahmatullah Alayh said that from amongst the ranks of Deen, the rank of tawakkul is a very high one. It is the rank of those who have attained nearness to Allah, but to truly understand it is not easy, and to act upon it is even more difficult. Even to enumerate all the Ayaat and Ahadeeth pertaining to this here is difficult. I shall mention just a few.
Note: For whomsoever Allah becomes the Sufficient One and for whoever He becomes a Lover or Protector, that person becomes successful because a lover never punishes the beloved, neither casts him aside, nor does He deny His countenance to the lover.
Other than the verses of the Holy Quraan, many Ahaadeeth also stress the importance of tawakkul.
No. 1: Hazrat Ibn Abbas Radiallahu anhu reports: “Once the Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam came out of his house and said: ‘The previous ummats were shown to me, and I saw that with some Nabees, there was only one believer. With some, there were two followers. With some, there was a congregation, and with some, were no followers at all. Then I saw a huge congregation of so many followers that they almost covered the horizon. I desired from Allah that such would be my ummat, but to me was said:
‘This is Nabi Moosa with his ummat.’ Then I was told: ‘Lift up your eyes.’ And when I looked ahead, I saw a very large multitude of people as much as to cover the horizons. Then I was told:
‘Look to those on this side and to those on that side.’ Again I saw a large crowd which encompassed the horizon. Then it was said:
‘This is your ummat and ahead of them there are seventy thousand more who will enter Jannat without being called to account. They are the ones who do not have fortunes told, neither do they practice istirqaa (a type of witchcraft) nor do they brand their bodies as a treatment, and on their Sustainer alone do they rely.” Sayyidena Ukaasha bin Muhsin Radiallahu anhu on hearing this rose up and said: “Pray to Allah to make me one of them.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam prayed: “0 Allah make him of them.” Then another person said: “Pray to Allah to make me also of them.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam replied:
“Ukaasha has beaten you to it.”
What he meant was that Ukaasha had the real and sincere desire, whereas the other became interested only when he heard Ukaasha’s plea. The one comes along with a sincere desire and longing to become a student. On seeing this, many others get filled with fervour and also join.
No. 2: In a long Hadeeth Qudsi we read: “Allah says: ‘I swear by My Honour, My Majesty, My Exaltedness, My Magnificence, My Elevated Position, whenever a servant of Mine places My pleasure before his desires, I shall keep his death in front of his eyes ( so that he shall never be neglectful of it) and I will cause the heavens and the earth to be the guarantor of his sustenance, and I shall be behind every business deal he may make with any merchant (that he profit thereby).”
No. 3: Sayyedina Umar Radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “If you people should put your tawakkul (reliance) in Allah as you should, He will grant you sustenance in the same manner as He grants the birds who go out in the morning with empty bellies and return in the evenings with bellies full of food.”
No. 4: Hazrat Abu Zarr Radiallahu anhu reports that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “I know one verse in the Quraan, which will suffice for the people’s needs if they should accept and act accordingly: ‘And whosoever fears Allah, for him shall Allah grant sustenance from unexpected sources.”
No. 5: Sayyedena Anas Radiallahu anhu reports: “There were two brothers during the time of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. One of them regularly came to visit the Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam (to learn), while the other used to work. One day the working brother complained to the Nabi Sallallahu about his brother (who did not work). Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam replied: “You complain to me about his not doing anything but perhaps you are receiving your sustenance (riziq) because of him.”
At Gangoh there used to be a certain Munshi Mohamed Hussain Faizabadi who managed a bookshop for my father. His job was to attend to clients’ orders, prepare parcels and attend to posting. My uncle Maulana Muhammad llyaas Rahmatullah Alayh (May Allah have mercy on him) used to be almost always in Ibaadah.
He would either be busy with voluntary prayers or recitation of the Quraan or some other deed. One day Munshi Saheb became annoyed at my uncle and harshly scolded him: “Why don’t you come and take an interest in the bookshop? You pass the whole day unproductively.” When my father came to hear of this, he called him and reprimanded him for his outburst. Then finally he said: “Munshi Saheb, I sincerely believe that whatever Allah has given me of food and drink is because of the presence of this (righteous) child. Do not abuse him at all.”
The story is quite a long one. I only remember it now that I mentioned the previous Hadeeth and because it is of the same theme, I thought that it had to be mentioned in abridged form.
No. 6: Hazrat Abu Huraira Radiallahu anhu reported that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Your Lord, Most High says: ‘If my servants obey me, I shall send raindrops upon them by night and shall let the sunshine come upon them by day and they shall not even hear the sounds of thunder coming from clouds.”
Sayyedena All Khawas Radiallahu anhu used to recite this verse:
“And put your trust in the Everliving One, who dies not.” Then he used to say: “After reading this verse, it is not at all advisable for anyone to put his trust in anyone else.”
Some Ulema have been informed through visions that whosoever puts his trust in Allah, has indeed arranged for his sustenance.
Others again have said: “Do not allow the struggle for (sustenance) which Allah had guaranteed, to cause you to become negligent of your compulsory duties, that you disregard your future in the Hereafter. No amount of striving will increase your riziq even a little. It is foolish to do so because you will only be able to gather so much as is predestined for you.”
Sayyedena Ibrahim bin Adham Radiallahu anhu said: “I have inquired from a holy man: ‘From where comes the food you eat?’ He replied: ‘I do not know. Ask my Sustainer to tell you from where He feeds me.”
Haram bin Hayaan Rahmatullah Alayh asked Sayyedina Uwais Qarni Rahmatullah Alayh: “What do you advise me? Where shall I settle down?” He pointed towards Syria. Haram asked again: “Of what shall I live there?” Sayyedina Uwais Rahmatullah Alayh said: “Woe to the heart in which there is doubt. Of what benefit will preaching and advice be (to those with doubtful hearts)?” (Ihya)
There are also a few stories from my previous book “Virtues of Haj”. Here are a few of them.
Another saint says: “A young man lived near where I resided in Mecca. He was always dressed in tattered clothing. He never came to visit us or meet us. Yet I grew to love him very much. It so happened that, from a Halaal source, I received two hundred dirhams. This I took to him and placed on his prayer mat and said to him: ‘From a completely legitimate source I received this. I beg you to use it for your need.”
Looking at me sidewards he said: ‘In order to be in Allah’s presence I have forsaken seventy thousand dinars which I had gathered, also that much in property which was rented out. Do you now desire to tempt me or deceive me with these dirhams?”
Then sweeping his musallah with his hands, he stood up straight and walked away with an air of such independence, as I had never yet seen in my life. And as I picked up my dirhams, I felt so humiliated as I had never felt before in my life.” (ROWDH)
STORY NO. 2:
It was a habit of Sheikh Ibrahim Khawas Rahmatullah Alayh that whenever he proceeded on a journey he would just take a water-can with him and not tell anybody.
Hamid Aswad Rahmatullah Alayh relates: While I was in the mosque once, the Sheikh again just took his water-can and walked off. I followed him. At Qadisiyya he asked me. “To which destination do you intend going 0 Hamid?” I replied: “Sir, I only intend to be your companion on a journey.” He said: “I am going to Mecca.” I said: “I shall accompany you till there.” We proceeded. After having travelled for three days, another youth joined us. He was with us for a whole day and night without performing one Salaah. The Sheikh asked him: “How is it that this third person with us does not perform even one Salaah?” He replied: “Salaah is not incumbent upon me.” Sheikh asked: “And why not? Are you not a Muslim?” He replied: “No I am a Christian. But even in my religion I rely on Allah.” My heart told me that he was telling the truth and I wanted to leave him alone in the desert where there was nothing except Allah. I wanted to test him.
The Sheikh said to me: “Do not turn him away. Let him walk with you.” We continued on our way until we came to a place called Batn-Mard. There the Sheikh washed his clothes and turned to the young man, saying: “What is your name?” He replied: “My name is Abdul Maseeh.” Sheikh said: “0 Abdul Maseeh, here we stand now at the border of the Holy Haram near Mecca. Allah has forbidden polytheists from proceeding beyond this point. The Quraan says: “The mushrikeen are impure, so allow them not near the Holy Mosque!’ You desire to test yourself and your test is over and you know the answer. Do not enter beyond this point of Mecca, otherwise we shall have to object to your presence.”
We left him there and departed for Mecca. When we stopped at Arafat, we had the surprise of our life when we saw him once more searching the faces of people. When he saw us, he was overcome with’joy and he embraced the Sheikh who said to him:
“0 Abdul Maseeh, tell us your story.” He replied: “Do not call me Abdul Maseeh (slave of the Messiah) but I am the slave and bondsman of Him who had sent the Messiah. When you left me I waited there and when another group of pilgrims arrived I put on Ihraam clothes pretending to be a Muslim, but when I saw the Ka’bah, all other religions fled from my heart and Islam alone entered. I washed myself and embraced Islam. From this morning I have been searching for you, and now I have found you.”
Thereafter the three of us travelled together and stayed together until he passed away, among the Shuyukh as one of them. (ROWDH)
The above story is quoted in my autobiography from Maulana Thanvy’s “MALFOOZAAT” Husnul Azeez. Now comes the question:
How is it that with non-believers something like that happens? The answer is that the duaa of non-beleivers can be accepted and are answered. That we all accept. Similarly, their trust in Allah can also be effective. Both duaa and trust in Allah by them can be beneficial. In fact, sometimes the prayers of non-believers are answered to such an extent to which Muslims’ duaas are not answered. Look at the duaa of Iblees when he prayed:
“Lord grant me respite till the day they are raised…”
It is to be noted that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said that Allah says:
“I am as My servants imagine Me to be.”
In other words, whatever good thoughts a person may harbour within him regarding Allah, so Allah shall be, with him.”
STORY NO. 3:
Sheikh Banaan Rahmatullah Alayh says: “I came for Haj from Egypt. With me I hadsufficient provisions. Along the way I met a lady who said to me; ‘0 Banaan, it seems that you are also a porter -Hammaal- carrying goods. Do you perhaps fear that Allah shall not provide you with sustenance?” Hearing her say this, I threw my provisions away. Then for three days I could find nothing to eat. Thereafter all I found lying on the ground was an ornament which ladies use as jewellery on their feet. I picked it up with the intention of giving it back to the rightful owner if and when I find him or her. Possibly he may then reward me.
Again the lady appeared and said: “It seems you have set forth as a merchant hoping that in return for the ornament you will be rewarded with something.” Then she threw some dirhams in my direction, saying: “Use that for spending.”
I used the money and the money was sufficient for the entire Haj journey and return to Egypt. Says the poet:
“Many are the strong ones, shrewed in their trades, And intelligent, yet sustenance avoids them. And many are the weak ones; weak in their trades, Yet as the waters of the sea;Rizq flows to them. This indeed shows that;with His creatures Allah has a plan, Secret In nature;Not divulged to men.” (ROWDH)
STORY NO. 4:
A story is told about a certain walee who set out on a journey to perform Haj. He travelled with a caravan without any relatives as companions, and made this promise to himself that never would he beg for anything from anyone. The time came when he had nothing to eat, and he became so weak in body that a thought passed through his mind; “Now I have reached the stage of anxiety. I am about to perish and Allah has forbidden that anyone should perish at his own hands or destroy himself. Hence I am now forced to reluctantly beg.” But then he drove this thought from his mind and renewed his promise to himself not to beg and not to break his original agreement, even unto death.
Because he was so weak, he stayed behind while the rest of the caravan proceeded onward. There he waited for death to overtake him, laying with his face towards Qiblah. Someone on horseback approached him and from a jug of water, gave him a drink, and further provided his needs. Then the stranger asked:
“Do you wish to rejoin your caravan?” He replied: “I do not know how far ahead of me they will be. How shall I find them now?” The stranger said: “Come, rise and follow me.” They left and after walking for a short while the stranger said to him: “Wait here, the caravan will soon arrive to meet you here.” He waited there and soon the caravan caught up with him. (ROWDH)
STORY NO. 5:
Hazrat Abdul Wahid bin Zaid Rahmatullah Alayh is one of the eminent elders from among the Chistiya order of saints. He says:
“Once we undertook a voyage by ship. Such a hurricane arose which drove our ship onto an island. There we found a man busy worshipping an idol.
We asked him: “What is it that you worship?” He pointed to the idol. We asked: “How is it that you worship a god made by your own hands? As for us, we worship a God who creates. Surely that which is made by your hands is not fit to be worshipped?” He asked: “What do you worship?”
We replied: “We worship that Being whose Throne is above the heavens and His Power is over the earth, and His Greatness is above everything else.”
He said: “How did you come to know of this Being?” We replied: “He sent His Messenger to us, who is a man of honesty, integrity and nobility. He taught us all we know of our Creator.”
He asked: “And where is that Messenger now?” We replied: “Having delivered the message from his Lord, Allah called him unto Himself so that He may reward him fully for having diligently delivered the message.” He asked: “Did this Messenger leave any signs of himself with you?”
We replied: “Yes, Deleft the Holy Word of Allah with us.” He asked: “Kindly show me that Book?”
We brought a copy of the Quraan and showed it to him. He excused himself, saying that he could not read: “Please read for me.” We recited a certain Surah to him and as he heard it the tears came streaming from his eyes. Then he said: “It is a right due to that Holy Being who is author of these Holy Words that He should not be disobeyed
Thereupon he became a Muslim. We taught him some of the teachings of Islam as well as some Quranic Surahs. That night after Esha prayers we were preparing to go to sleep when he inquired:” Does your Creator sleep by night?”
We replied: “No He is the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal One. Neither sleep nor slumber overtakes Him.”
Then he said: “What wretched ones you are that your Lord is ever awake while you sleep by night!”
This statement of his filled us with surprise and wonder. When we departed from the island he asked to accompany us in order to learn from us. We took him with us. When we reached Abadan, I told my companions: “This man is a new convert. We should make some arrangements for his maintenance and expenses.”
Therefore we collected some money and gave it to him.
He asked: “What is this?”
We said: “This is a few coins. Use it for yourself.”
He exclaimed: “La ilaha illallah!! How is it that you people teach me a path, which you do not follow yourself? I used to live on a desolate island, worshipping an idol, not worshipping God, and He never neglected to supply me with my needs. I did not even know Him. Yet He never allowed me to be destroyed. How will He now allow me to be destroyed, when I worship Him?”
Three days later news reached me that he was on his death-bed. I sat down by his bedside and asked if there was anything I could do for him. He replied: “No, all my needs have been fulfilled, by Allah, who sent you to that island with guidance.” Sheikh Abdul Wahid Rahmatullah Alayh continues: “Suddenly I fell asleep and in a dream I saw a wonderful green garden. In it was a most beautiful dome-shaped structure, under which, on a Throne was sitting such a beautiful maiden as no one had ever seen before. She exclaimed: “For Allah’s sake hurry with him to me for through the longing for him I am besides myself.”
“When I awoke, he had already passed away. We prepared him for burial and buried him. That night, I again saw him sitting in that same garden with the maiden at his side. She was reciting this verse:
“And the Angels enter unto their abode from every door (saying):
‘Salaam upon you for the patience you excercised (in all calamities).”
How great is the Mercy of Allah! Here is a man who throughout his life had been involved in idol-worship. Then Allah forced a storm to cause them to be stranded on the island, and so He sent them there at a time very near his final hour. Now he receives the great treasure of Imaan and the luxuries of the Hereafter.
“0 Allah. None can withhold from him to who You give. And no one can give to him from whom You withhold.”
Sayyidina Zoon-Noon Misry is an eminent saint. He relates: “Once I was going through a certain uninhabited place when I saw a young man, so young that on his face there were two lines where his beard was just starting to emerge. As he saw me he became frightened, started to tremble and his face turned pale. He started to flee. I shouted to him: “Don’t run away I am only a man like you. I am not a jinn. Why do you fear me and flee?”
He replied: “It is from you human beings that I flee.” He ran further. I went after him and begged him to stop. When he stopped I asked him: “It seems to me that you are alone in this desolate place. Have you no companions with you? Have you no fear?” He replied: “I have with me one who fills my heart with joy.” Hearing this I thought that he had a friend with him. I asked where the friend was.
He answered: “He is with me at all times. He is on my right and on my left, in front of me and behind me. He is on all sides.”
I realized that he referred to Allah. I asked: “Have you with you anything to eat or drink?”
He replied: “He who fed me while I was in the womb of my ‘ mother has also taken it upon Himself to be the warrantor of my rizq in my older age.”
I again asked: “But surely you must be having something to eat, through which you can gain strength for spending the hours of the night in prayer, and through which you get strength to spend the day fasting and through which you can get strength in your body for the Ibadah of Allah in a proper manner?”
He saw that I had put so much stress on eating and drinking. Hence, he recited a few lines of poetry:
For the friends of Allah no house is required, Nor does be tolerate the possessions of wealth, When from the plains he moves to mountains beyond, the plains doth weep for the love of him. For his prayers by night and his fasting by day, a great depth of patience he has.
To his nafs he doth speak: As much of the ordeals you can bear With patience do bear, for no sacrifice is too great for Al-Rahman.
And instead of a burden a pride it should be. When to his Lord he speaks, with eyes shedding tears:
“Lord my heart doth fly, so take Thee care thereof. Neither paradise do I seek, nor jewel-filled homes nor damsels, Neither the highest paradise, nor its fragrant flowers. All I do beg is Thy loving Countenance and Thy Grace, Such indeed is the greatest prize.”
Khawas (Rahmatullah Alayh) says: “Once while walking along in a very desolate place, I met a Christian monk on whose waist was tied a sacred belt. (This was worn by non-believers as a symbol). He begged of me to be my companion (as was a custom of the day that the non-Muslim fakirs often lived in the company of saintly Muslims). I allowed him to accompany me and for seven days we walked together, both of us neither eating nor drinking anything.
On the seventh day he said to me: “0 follower of Mohammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, show me some miracle. Several days have passed and we have had nothing to eat.” I prayed to Allah: “0 Allah do not allow me to become humiliated in the presence of this unbeliever.”
Immediately thereafter, a large tray appeared in front of us on which were placed bread, roasted meat, fresh dates and a jug of water. We both ate and drank and walked further for another seven days. On the seventh day, I feared that he would again seek a miracle from me and instead I said to him: “Now it is your turn to show something.”
He leaned on his walking stick and started to pray. And this time two trays were found on the ground and this time there were twice the amount of things as before. I was ashamed and as-
founded and my face became pale, and because of this, I declined to sit down to eat. My Christian companion insisted that I eat with him, but I continued to excuse myself.
Then he said: “Eat for I shall give you the good news of two important things; the first of which is “Ashhaduallaa ilaaha illallaah wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammadar Rasulullah. I bear witness that there is no God except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam is the Messenger of Allah. I have accepted Islam.” Saying this he broke the belt and threw it away.
“The second good news is this, the food which is here was because I prayed thus:
“0 Allah if this follower of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam has any position of honour with You, then because of him, give me food, and this is how this food was given. Because of this I have embraced Islam.” Thereafter, we both commenced eating and set forth. At last we reached Mecca. We performed Haj. After Haj he preferred to remain in Mecca. There he passed away. May Allah forgive him.”
There are so many stories in history of how unbelievers have accepted Islam in similar manner. The story also indicates that Allah very often grants sustenance to some people because of others. Those who receive may even in their own foolish minds believe that they are being granted such sustenance through their own great works, or their own hard work. In the Hadeeth it is repeatedly mentioned how we receive sustenance, because of the presence of the weak and elderly amongst us.
The story also shows that Allah grants miracles to some unbelievers because of Muslims, which outwardly may appear as if it is the miracle performed by the unbeliever. In fact, it only happens because of the presence of a Muslim.
We have mentioned some verses, Hadeeth and stories depicting the virtues of trust in Allah. Apart from these, there are many other stories of the lives of the saints and true lovers of Allah. We have a history of 1400 years. How many other wonderful events like the above are there not, happening to the sincere ones day after day, year after year?
If we are going to put pen to paper, where are we going to stop and how far will we go?
However, there are three points worthy to remember in this o regard: First of all it should be borne in mind that these events belong to the mystic life of love for Allah and trust in Him, which in turn do not follow the normal laws and regulations.
As far as mystic love is concerned, it is not subject to general rules and special principles. Neither can it be learned through study, reading and writing. This love has to be created in himself by the novice.
“Love itself will teach the laws of love.”
Our duty is but to jump into the ocean of love by intense strivings and hard work. Thereafter, every task becomes easy and every ordeal is ecstasy.
Every ordeal that is a tremendous ordeal or the cause of destruction for the ordinary man, is for the swimmers in the ocean of love, easy and pleasurable ecstasy. And the result thereof is beyond description.
“To stand on the shore And discuss the virtues of swimming this ocean is useless indeed. But to immerse therein, 0 heart, causes you to reach the other shore.
So read these stories with this point in mind. And try to colour yourself with the colour of those who’ are in it. And until such time that you have created within yourself that love, never try to put forward these stories to prove your point and try not to believe that the same rule applies to all. And neither should we raise objections to these stories, because they happen at a time through intense ecstasy when the mind is overwhelmed and reason functions no more.
Imam Gazali Rahmatullah Alayh says: “Whosoever has drunk from the cup of love, becomes smitten with love and when this state prevails, there should be a measure of tolerance regarding his utterances. When that intoxication passes over, it will be seen that whatever had been said while having been overwhelmed, has been said in a condition of spiritual ecstasy and has not been the truth of the matter. Whereas from the words of the lover, (mystic) ecstasy is derived, one cannot depend thereupon or attach non-mystic importance thereto.” (Ihya)
The second point is this: In these stories such examples of tawakkul (reliance) are mentioned as are beyond us and even beyond our understanding. These stories depict the height of ecstasy and the extreme forms, which no doubt are very much approved of by Allah.
All of us should strive to reach that stage or at least to have the desire for it. However, until such time that this extreme point of tawakkul is reached, one should never stop making use of the physical means towards our sustenance.
One saint said: “I once asked Sayyidina Abdur-Rahman bin Yahya: ‘What is tawakkul?’ He replied: ‘It means that if you put your hand in the mouth of a huge snake and if it eats the hand up-to the wrist, then still you should fear none but Allah.’ Thereafter I went to ask Sayyidina Bayazid Radiallahu Anhu. I walked to his house and I knocked on the door and from inside came his reply, (without me having asked him): ‘Did the reply of Abdur Rahman not satisfy you that you now came to me to ask the same?’ I begged: ‘Please open the door.’
He answered: ‘But this time you did not come to visit me. You have come to ask me something for which you already received an answer.’
He did not open the door. A year later, I again visited him. When I knocked on his door he immediately opened the door and said:
‘Yes, this time you have come to visit me’.” (Rowd)
Mulla Ali Qari wrote in the commentary on Mishkat: “It is not against the concept of tawakkul to also prepare means of sustenance and if a person only relies on Allah without any preparation of means, then too, there is no harm, with the provision that the person remains steadfast and sure. He should not’ become worried and troubled when times become difficult and he should depend only on Allah and neither should the reliance on anyone else enter the mind.”
Those who criticised the casting aside of preparation or the making of provision, do so simply because of the fact that a few men are able to rely on Allah in a proper manner and do so efficiently. They in fact often become a burden on others, depending on others to feed them.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “If you people should put your faith and trust in Allah as you should, He will grant you sustenance in the same manner as He grants it to the birds, who set forth from their nest in the morning with empty bellies, and return at night filled with food.”
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam also said: “Whosoever turns to Allah fully, for him Allah will fulfil all his needs in such a manner that sustenance will reach him from sources where he never expected.”
The truth of this can also be seen from two stories mentioned in the Hadeeth.
The story of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu is quite well known. When Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam had gathered provisions for the Battle of Tabuk, Hazrat Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu brought forth all that he had at home to present to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, who inquired of him:
“And what have you left for your family?” He replied: “Allah and His Rasul Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.”
The second episode concerns a man who brought forth a piece of gold, the size of an egg saying: “0 Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam I have found this in a mine and I now give it in the path of Allah. I have nothing except this.” Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam turned away from him. The man presented the gold nugget three times, whereupon Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam took the gold nugget and threw it away in displeasure with such a force, that, had it struck him it would have injured him. Then he said: “There are some people who give all their possessions in charity. Then they go. about stretching their hands to others for alms.”
How can this person’s tawakkul be the same as that of Sayyidina Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu? This is the sole reason why Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam accepted everything given by Hazrat Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu and became displeased when the other tried to do the same.
In the matter of the adoption of means and sole reliance, many Ahaadith and incidents have been compiled.
Imam Gazali Rahmatullah Alayh wrote that in tawakkul there are three stages:
“First of all there is the first stage for which we may take as an example that man who lands before a court of law. He appoints a clever, experienced lawyer to appear on his behalf. All questions put to the accused are referred to the lawyer for answers. A man who is so dependant on another as this man obviously is, is not acting in a very commendable way. This kind of tawakkul is acquired and of a passing nature.
The second stage of tawakkul is of a higher degree and it may be compared to an infant child. For each and everyone of his needs the child calls his mother. When anything appears before him which causes fear, worry or surprise, the first thing that comes to his mouth is: “Mamma”.
It was to these two persons that Sayyidina Sahl Rahmatullah Alayh referred to when he replied in answer to a question as to
what is the description of minimum tawakkul. He replied: “It means to terminate all expectations (of help) from anywhere.” And when he was asked: “And what is the middle stage thereof?” He replied: “To forego any choice (of assistance that may come)”. And when the questioner asked again: “And what is the highest stage thereof?” He replied: “That will only be understood by that person who had passed the second stage.”
Imam Gazali Rahmatullah Alayh says further: “The third and’ highest stage is that where you become in the hands of Allah just like a dead corpse in the hands of the person who washes it in preparation for burial. The corpse makes not one single movement of its own accord. When one reaches this stage there is even no need to make duaa to Allah asking for anything. Allah Himself becomes the Guarantor and Provider of all one’s needs in the same way as the corpse-washer himself is responsible for all the needs of the corpse. (Ihya)
Now the question may be asked: How is it that the Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam always used to prepare provisions for his needs. Does this then necessarily mean that he never reached the highest stage of tawakkul? (Allah Forbid)! It was most definitely not so. The fact that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam always made provisions for his coming needs is true. His was a special case which he himself chose for himself. He had to be an example for the vast majority of the Ummat and had he accepted for himself the highest stage of tawakkul. It would have meant that his Ummat would have been landed in extreme difficulty in trying to emulate or follow him. This they would not have been able to carry out. He had great sympathy and feeling for this Ummat and as such, he never chose for them any such path that would cause them difficulty.
Sayyidah Ayesha Radiallahu Anha reports: “Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam did not perform SalaatuI Duhaa, but I do.” No doubt, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in spite of having the desire to perform certain meritorious deeds, refrained from performing them diligently, and with such regularity, for the sole fear that those deeds may be made compulsory upon the Ummat. It does not mean that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam did not perform this Salaah, at all, because it is mentioned in many Hadeeth that he did. If he did perform it regularly, it would have been Waajib upon the Ummat. (Abu Dawood)
Similar is the case of Taraweeh Salaah. According to numerous Hadeeth, we learn that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to perform it on a few nights and then on other nights he did not. The Sahaba Radiallahu anhum were so keen to follow him in this Salaah that they waited and when he did appear from his tent in the mosque, they surmised that he had fallen asleep. Hence, they started such movements and noises, that he should wake up without specifically calling him from sleep. Then he came forth and said: “I have seen your actions. But indeed have I not been negligent and asleep this night. Nothing prevented me from coming forth to you, except the fear that this Salaah may become obligatory upon you. And if it did become obligatory, you would not have been able to bear it.”
The author of ‘Rowd’ writes: “There is for the Prophets and the saints the opportunity of choosing either the path of warding off difficulty and the harmful or the path of accepting the easy and beneficial. Therefore, there should be no objections against those Auliya who had not chosen the path of warding off harm-fulness and had not chosen to provide for themselves. This is so, because Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam had been loaded with the task of causing people to follow the Shariat, and in trying to do so, he sympathetically chose for them that path which can with ease, be followed by both the chosen ones as well as the weaker ones. It stands to reason that when a caravan-driver chooses for the caravan such a difficult and arduous path, which he himself is able to tread, but is unbearable for the majority of his flock, he would not be considered to be a wise and considerate leader.”
The third point that one should bear in mind is also connected with the first one mentioned: Often we cast ourselves into such situations, where it would appear outwardly, as if one is casting oneself into self-destruction. Outwardly, this would appear to be an impermissible act in the eyes of Shariat. The incidents of the saints, which were quoted, seem like that. Now in this regard, it should be remembered that these episodes are like medicine. We know that there are occasions when trained physicians even prescribe poisonous medicines. In such cases, it is of the utmost importance that the medicine should be administered on the specific advice of the doctor and according to his prescribed dosage and taken under his care. When such dangerous medicines are used without his permission and not under his care, death could result.
Now, if we should criticise the saints (for having done as in these episodes) it would only point at our own ignorance. Hence, those who are not doctors themselves, and possess no medical training and are not strengthened with the advice and prescriptions of trained doctors, should under no circumstances make use of these measures, which outwardly, appear to be anti-Shariat. It is in fact not permissible for them. Similarly, it is not permissible for them to hurry themselves towards criticism against the Imams of the mystic life and against those who practically studied and obtained knowledge of this way of life.
A common objection which is often raised is that one should not cast himself into destruction. But let this be clearly understood, that it is not always illegal to cast oneself into such a situation wherein there is the possibility of losing one’s life. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Allah expresses pleasant surprise and wonder at two persons: The first is one who reclines with his beloved wife under the same covering blanket. With willingness, he rises from there to stand in prayer before his Lord. Allah boasts of him to the Angels. The second is that person, who joins an army in battle. The army is defeated and the soldiers begin to flee, but this person, out of fear for Allah, returns to the battlefield and stands firm, remaining fighting alone till he is martyred. Allah says: ‘Look at my servant; he has returned with a desire for my bounty and in fear of my displeasure, fighting till his blood is shed’.”
This man alone returned to the battlefield to fight and it could mean only that he returned to be killed. When the whole army had fled, what could one man achieve against a whole army of enemy soldiers? So in spite of having given himself up for destruction, Allah boasts of him. This clearly shows that destruction of oneself is not always a blameworthy thing.
In the book – Kowkab’ (Vol. 111 p. 78) we read: “Tawakkul is of various kinds. One is that which is against the law of Shariat. For example, the drinking of poison or the jumping off from a high mountain or refraining from all food, or drink. None has the strength to withstand these. These deeds are Haraam and against the word of Allah:
A second form of tawakkul is like that of a sick person, who refuses to take any medicine and rather puts his trust in tawakkul. The third form is to refrain from such remedial measures, the benefit of which is not certain as for example the use of incantations for cures.”
Further in the same book in connection with the famous Hadeeth: “Tie your camel and then depend on Allah”, the author states: “From this it would appear that the best form of tawakkul is that where a person makes proper provisions, taking proper precautionary measures, but still not to trust therein completely. Then comes that where no provisions is made at all.”
Shah Waliyullah Rahmatullah Alayh writes in his book ‘Durr Tha-meen’: “I once asked Rasulullah Saliallahu Alayhi Wasallam a question as to which is more virtuous; to make provisions for the needs or not to do so. Thereupon I found a strange spiritual feeling taking possession of my heart, wherein I discovered myself growing completely indifferent to provisions, my children etc. Thereafter, this feeling was displaced by another feeling where I felt drawn nearer towards provisions while my soul moved away from worldly needs and inclined towards delivering all into the Hands of Allah.”
Among our Elders of the Ulema of Deoband, there have been adherents of both views. One type was that of the adherents of the Raipuri school, named after Hazrat Maulana Abdul Qadir Raipuri Rahmatullah Alayh. These were those who, from beginning to end, never depended upon wordly agencies and provisions. The rest were those, where initially provisions played a role, whereas later they, too, put their complete trust in tawakkul. As far as Hajee Imdadullah Rahmatullah Alayh was concerned, we do not know too much, but as for Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi Rahmatullah Alayh, he was a man who initially used to have employment, working for a salary. (See ‘Tazkirah Rashid’ p.55) Initially he used to work and once he was offered a sum of seven rupees for translating the Quran. He asked Hazrat Imdadullah Rahmatullah Alayh for permission to accept the offer, but Hazrat refused permission, saying: “More than this will come your way.” A few days later, a wealthy man from Saharanpur, Nawab Shaista Khan engaged him at a salary of ten rupees per month to teach his children. For six months he held this job. It is also believed that he had a bookshop about the success of which not much is known. He writes in his book ‘Hidayatus Shia’: “This humble servant, Abu Mahmood (may Allah pardon him), does not really possess any great wealth of knowledge of the Deen, except that he had been in the company of the respected Ulema and has become quite well-acquainted with the tricks and deceit of the misguided Shias.”
At other places in his writings, he also calls himself a bookseller. I do not know whether he practised it as a full-time occupation or if it was merely a part-time job. However, my late father used to be his special assistant and used to be a copier of books and manuscripts and I suspect that Hazrat had something to do with that.
Hazrat Maulana Nanotwi (may Allah fill his grave with light) used to work initially in the Ahmadi press in Meerut. This press was established by his Ustad, Maulana Ahmad All Saheb Rahmatullah Alayh. It was his job to correct manuscripts and it was during the time that he was thus occupied, that he laid the foundations for Darul-Uloom, Deoband. At first Hazrat used to work and at the same time supervised the work at Darul-Uloom. As the Madressa grew, he became so involved in teaching and in the management of the Madressa that he had to leave his work in Meerut and applied himself fully to the supervision of Darul-Uloom. However, it is noteworthy that throughout the whole period of lecturing, teaching and rectorship of Darul-Uloom, he never accepted any form of salary for his labours. (Sawanikh-e-Qasmi p 536)
Similarly, Shaikhul-Hind Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan, Maulana Ashraf All Thanwy and Maulana KhaHl Ahmad Saharanpuri (May Allah enlighten their graves) all used to teach and lecture in the early stages and later stopped teaching as a full-time occupation. Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani Rahmatullah Alayh, on the other hand, used to accept a salary until the end. But so many people, visitors and guests used to be fed in his house daily and so much used to be given by him in charity, that his complete salary used to be utilized just for that. My late uncle, Maulana Mohammad llyas Rahmatullah Alayh also used to work for a salary in Saharanpur before moving to Delhi to settle there. Once he said to me: “Many times have I started some form of business and many times have I bought some sheep in company with some Meerutees, but always before their total could reach one hundred, they died. So in the end I was forced to leave the business field.”
Even our Nabi Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam used to be a shepherd for the people of Mecca for a salary of a few Qeeraat. He also managed the business of Sayyidah Khadijah Radiallahu anha before the advent of his Prophethood, but once becoming the Messenger of Allah, he stopped that work. Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam herded the sheep of Nabi Shuaib Alayhis Salaam for a number of years for compensation. (See Durr Manthoor where it is reported that someone asked Sayyidina Abdullah bin Abbas Radiallahu anhu: “Which of the two periods (in which he had a choice) of eight years or ten, did Nabi Moosa Alayhis Salaam complete (according to the agreement with Nabi Shuaib Alayhis Salaam as a shepherd?)” Ibn Abbas Radiallahu anhu replied;
“The period which seemed better and more complete (ten years).”