Over the fourteen years of this Column, as part of every Sallah we do a Barka da Sallah where we try to eschew the routine and the mundane, and wax humorous or spiritual.
For humour, we usually go to READER’S DIGEST’S ‘Laughter the Best Medicine’ while for the spiritual we visit DON’T BE SAD by A’idh al-Qarni, GEMS AND JEWELS by AbdulMalik Mujahid, and similar books.
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Last year at a meeting in Kaduna, one of the most diligent readers of this Column, Brother Muhammad Bashir Mai (email@example.com) gifted me yet another of Mujahid’s publications, GOLDEN WORDS. He said knowing the propensity of this page to go for such on occasion, it would come in handy. Alhamdu lilLah it has, today.
GOLDEN WORDS is a 300-page tome filled with Islamic wisdom based on historical narratives. It is well annotated with references to the sources of all the stories. Many of the stories may be available online, but the closest e-copy located is this review at https://books.google.com/books/about/Golden_Words.html?id=j0KZBQAAQBAJ. Enjoy a few of the stories. Barka da Sallah:
LACK OF MALICE LEADS TO PARADISE: Anas bin Malik narrates: “One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (upon whom be peace), he said: ‘Now there will come before you a man of paradise.’ A man from the Ansar [people of Median] camewhose beard was dishevelled by the water of ablution and he was carrying both of his shoes with his left hand. The next day the Prophet repeated the same words, and the same man came in the same condition.
The third day the Prophet repeated the same, and the man came in the same condition. When the Prophet stood up to leave, Abdullah ibn Amr followed the man and said, ‘I am in a dispute with my father and I have sworn not to enter my home for three days.
May I stay with you?’ The man said yes. Abdullah stayed three nights with the man but he never saw him praying at night. Whenever he went to bed, he would remember Allah and rest until he woke up for morning prayer. Abdullah said that he never heard anything but good words from man’s mouth. When three nights had passed and he did not see anything special about the man’s actions, Abdullah asked him, ‘O servant of Allah, I have not been in dispute with my father nor have I cut relations with him.
I heard the Prophet say three times that a man from the people of paradise was coming to us and then you came. I thought I should stay with you to see what you are doing so that I should follow, but I did not see you do anything special. Why did the Prophet speak so highly of you?’ The man said, ‘I am as you have seen.’ When Abdullah was about to leave, the man said, ‘I am as you have seen, except that I do not find dishonesty in my soul towards the Muslims and I do not envy anyone because of the good that Allah has given them.’ Abdullah said, ‘This is what you have achieved and it is something we have not accomplished.’
I’M DEAF, NOT BLIND: Naaseh related to Caliph Abu Ja’far Mansoor: “O Ameeru-ul-Mu’mineen! Once, when I travelled to China, I learnt that the king of that country had lost his hearing and become deaf. He wept bitterly over his affliction. When his courtiers tried to console him, he said: ‘I’m not weeping over the affliction but because if a man who has been wronged comes to my door, I won’t be able to hear his plea for help.’ Then the king said to his men, ‘Alright, I’ve lost my hearing but not my eyesight. I can see very well. Go forth now and make an announcement that no one shall wear red except the one who has been wronged.’ Afterwards, the king would go out in a chariot in the afternoon and look around, with eyes wide open, to find out if there was anyone wearing a red garment so that he could redress his grievance.”
WHO IS BETTER: “A Westernised [or secularised] Muslim once poked fun at a student who was reading Sahih Bukhari, the book of Hadiths of the Prophet (upon whom be peace). ‘They have reached the moon while you are still engrossed in reading Al Bukhari.’ The student retorted: ‘You’ve not read AlBukhari nor reached the moon. Now tell me, who is better, you or me?’”
THE GIFT OF GOOD ADVICE: One day Caliph Haroon ar-Rasheed saw his son Ma’moon in his library holding a book and browsing through it. Haroon ar-Rasheed asked him, ‘What are you holding in your hand?’ Ma’moon replied, ‘A thing that nourishes the mind, drives away negligence and saves from loneliness.’ Haroon ar-Rasheed was pleased with his answer and asked him, ‘What gift would you like?’ Ma’moon answered, ‘Your good advice.’ Hearing this, Haroon ar-Rasheed said, ‘All praise is for Allah who honoured me with a son who sees the affairs of this life with the eyes of wisdom more than with the eyes of body and age.’
ALLAH IS KIND EVEN TO SINNERS: Yusuf bin Husain narrates: “One day while [the great Sufi] Zun-Nun Misri and I where strolling together along a river, I spotted a large scorpion creeping up on the bank. All of a sudden, a large frog came to the surface of the river and the scorpion hopped onto its back. As the frog swam along with the scorpion, I said to Zun-Nun Misri: ‘There must be some reason for this. The scorpion must have a purpose.
Let’s see where it goes and what it does.’ We crossed the river and followed the scorpion. As we moved along, we saw a man lying intoxicated and unconscious. A snake was creeping up on the side of his belly up to his chest, towards his ear.
As we watched, the scorpion reached the snake, stung and killed it. Then the scorpion returned to the bank of the river and waited. Again, the same frog swam up. The scorpion hopped onto its back and crossed over to the other side of the river. Zun-Nun shook the man lying on the ground and woke him up.
When he opened his eyes, he said to him: ‘Look how Allah saved you from being killed by this snake!’ Then he said the following [lines of poetry]: ‘O ignorant man, see how the Glorious guards you against every evil creeping in the darkness/How do you sleep, careless of the King/Who bestows on you so many blessings.’
The intoxicated man sprang up in surprise and said: ‘O my God! If this is how You treat the disobedient, how kind then will You be to the one who obeys You!’ As the young man started to go, I asked him: ‘Where are you going?’ He replied: ‘To go obey God!’”
May Allah be kind to us.