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The Eye of Gratitude

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During the year 296 A.H. Ibnul Mu’tazz attempted a coup to overthrow the khaleefah, Al-Muqtadir. However, the coup eventually failed, and Ibnul Mu’tazz fled, seeking sanctuary in the home of the merchant, Ibnul Jassaas Al-Jowhary. One of the servants of Ibnul Jassaas informed Al-Muqtadir that Ibnul Mu’tazz was in the home of Ibnul Jassaas, due to which Ibnul Mu’tazz was arrested and executed for treason. As for Ibnul Jassaas, due to his role in granting refuge to Ibnul Mu’tazz, the khaleefah ordered that he be meted the punishment of his wealth being confiscated. Thus, assets worth approximately sixty million Dinaars (gold coins) were seized!

Ja’far bin Warqaa narrates the following:

I came across Ibnul Jassaas a few days after his wealth was confiscated. We were good friends and were even related through marriage. I found him on the balcony of his home overlooking the Tigris River. The heat was intense, as it was a scorching day, and he was bare-headed and bare-foot. In anguish, he was running from one end of the balcony to the other end like a madman. Seeing him in this state, I boarded a small boat and sailed across to him. As soon as I disembarked, he noticed me, and feeling embarrassed over his behaviour, regained some of his composure and sat down.

I asked him, “What is the matter with you? What happened to you?” Before answering me, he asked for a bowl of water and washed his face and feet. He then lay for some time as if he was unconscious. Eventually, he said, “First of all, I should be insane by now, considering the fact that I lost this wealth, and that wealth,” and saying so, he began to recount all the assets that had been confiscated from him. He concluded, “When can I ever hope to recover this wealth? Why should I not lose my mind in grief over this loss?”

I then addressed him saying, “My friend! There is no limit to the wealth that a person can earn. What you need to realize is that a person’s life, Deen and sanity can never be replaced. Hence, so long as your life, Deen and sanity are safe and sound, there is actually a lot that you are enjoying. The only reason that people become grieved, when losing wealth, is that they fear the onset of poverty and becoming dependent on other people, or they fear the standard of their lifestyle dropping, due to which they will be deprived of the food, clothing and other luxuries to which they are accustomed, or they fear their reputation and social standing being affected. Therefore, be patient and allow me to show you that even after a great amount of your wealth has been confiscated, there are few people in Baghdad whose wealth can compare to yours.”

I thereafter began to show him the various properties that he still possessed, until we had counted properties to the value of seven hundred thousand Dinaars! I next said to him, “Tell me the value of the jewels, valuables, fabric and textile, perfume, slaves, animals and home that you still possess.” He began to calculate, until we found that the value of these items totaled a further three hundred thousand Dinaars, besides the seven hundred thousand Dinaars that he possessed in properties!

I said to him, “My friend! Who in Baghdad can today claim that their assets equal one million Dinaars? Furthermore, your reputation and standing among people is just as it was before! In fact, the people are under the impression that your wealth is worth far more than this!”

Hearing these words, Ibnul Jassaas fell into sajdah, praising Allah Ta‘ala and crying in gratitude. He then said to me, “By Allah! I was so grieved and concerned over what I had lost, that I showed disregard to all that I still possessed and had not eaten for three days! In fact, I considered this wealth to be insignificant because I was comparing it to the amount of wealth that was confiscated. If you had not come to me at this moment, I would have lost my mind in grief. Allah Ta‘ala saved me by sending you, and people’s consoling me over the loss of my wealth did not benefit me as much as your consolation did.” (Nishwaarul Muhaadharah lit Tannookhi, vol. 1, pg. 25-28)

Lessons:

1. Deen teaches us to always look at those that are less fortunate than ourselves. If a person loses an arm, there are many people who have lost both arms! Similarly, if a person’s car is stolen, there are people who cannot even walk! If we train ourselves to view everything with the eye of gratitude, then we will never fall into depression, especially over losing wealth. Unfortunately, our hearts sometimes become so corrupted with the love for wealth, that on failing to secure a lucrative business deal, a person begins to complain over the wealth that he ‘lost’ (how can one lose something that he did not own in the first place?). Sadly, this causes one to fall into the sin of showing ingratitude to Allah Ta‘ala for the invaluable bounties that he still enjoys at every second.

2. A true friend is one who, in all circumstances, will turn a person’s attention to Allah Ta‘ala.