Sunday, November 1, 2009
The 8 benefits
Hātim Al-Asam was among the friends of Shaqīq Al – Balkhi (may Allah have mercy on them both). One day Shaqīq asked Hātim: “You have accompanied me for thirty years; what have you gained?” Hātim replied: “I have gained eight benefits from the knowledge which suffices for me as I hope my success and safety are embodied in them.”
Shaqīq asked; “What are they?”
The first benefit ~ I observed the creation and saw that everyone had a loved one and one passionately desired whom he loved and longed for. Some of the beloved accompany the lover up to the brink of sickness and death and others to the gate of the graveyard. All of them return and leave him there alone. No one goes into the tomb with him. I reflected on that and said to myself:
“The best beloved is that which would enter the tomb with the lover to console him”; I found nothing other than good works, so I took this as my beloved where with to illuminate my grave and to comfort me in it and not leave me alone.
The second benefit ~ I saw that creation(people) were following their lusts and hastening towards (fulfilling the demands of lowly) desires of the selves; and I meditated on the saying of the Exalted:
“Whoever has feared the lofty position of his Lord and has refrained his soul from lust, truly the Garden shall be his dwelling place.” Convinced that the Qur’an was true and tight, I began to oppose the notion of yielding to the demands of the self and hastened to combat it and refuse it its lowly desires, until it enjoyed satisfaction in being obedient to Allah the Exalted.
The third benefit ~ I noted that every human being rushes to accumulate as much as he can from the wreckage of this material world and then holding on strongly to it. I meditated on the saying of the Most High:
“What is with you must vanish’ what is with Allah endures.”
So I gave freely my worldly possessions for the sake of the Most High by distributing them among the poor so that it would be my provision in the future with Him the Exalted.
The fourth benefit ~ I observed some people thought that their dignity and honor lie in the multitude of their family and large clans and they were fascinated by those things. Others considered honor and dignity to be in abundance of wealth and children and they were proud of it. Some believed honor and power abide in appropriating the wealth of others, oppressing them and killing them. Others considered dignity to consist of extravagance and spending wealth like water. I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted:
“The most honored of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you.”
I chose righteousness for myself, convinced that the Qur’an is right and true and those claims and opinions of people are false and temporal.”
The fifth benefit ~ I noticed the people undermining each other and speaking ill of one another and I found that was due to envy of fortune, power or knowledge. I meditated upon the saying of Allah:
“It is We who divide their livelihood among them in the life of this world.”
I realized that the process of dividing livelihood is in the hands of Allah since the beginning of time. I therefore never envied any one anyone and was satisfied with the distribution of Allah the Exalted.
The sixth benefit ~ I saw people becoming enemies of each other for various reasons. I mediated upon the saying of the Exalted: “Verily Satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy.”
I became aware that enmity with anyone but Satan was not permissible.
The seventh benefit ~ I saw everyone working very hard, exhausting themselves in obtaining food and sustenance, tempted by doubts and forbidden things. They degrade themselves and diminish their potential..
I pondered over the saying of the Exalted:
“There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependent on Allah.”
I knew that my livelihood is guaranteed by Allah the Exalted so I engaged myself in worship and cut off my covetousness of other than He.
The eighth benefit ~is that I saw that everyone relied on some created thing, some on the dinār and dirham, some on wealth and property, some on trade and industry and some on creatures like themselves.
I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted:
“And whosoever places his reliance on Allah, sufficient is [Allah] for him. For Allah will surely accomplishes His purpose. Verily for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion for everything.”
I therefore placed full reliance in Allah the Exalted. He is sufficient for me and He is the best Disposer of affairs.’
Shaqīq then said: “May Allah bless you and grant you success. I looked into the Old Testament, and Gospel, the Psalms and the Qur’an and have found that the four books revolve around these eight benefits. Whoever acts according to them is acting according to these four books.”