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Embodiment of Honesty

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Shaikh ‘Abdul Qaadir Jeelaani (rahimahullah) is a personality who needs no introduction as his piety and righteousness are well known. He narrates the following inspiring incident from his youth:

On the occasion when I took leave of my mother to travel to Baghdad, seeking the knowledge of Deen, she made over to me forty dinars (gold coins). In order for the gold coins to be safe and concealed, she sewed them into my kurta, near the region of my armpit. Thereafter, when bidding me farewell, my mother made me promise that I would always be truthful.

During the journey, our caravan was accosted by sixty robbers. At first, none of the robbers interfered with me. Eventually, one of the robbers passed by and asked me, “O pauper! How much of money do you have?” I replied by truthfully stating, “Forty dinars.” He asked me, “Where is the money?” I replied, “Sewn into my kurta beneath my armpit.” On account of my forthright honesty, the robber thought that I was joking and thus left me, continuing on his way.

After a few moments, another one of the robbers passed by and asked me the same questions, to which I gave the same answers. This robber also thought that I was joking and thus left me, proceeding on his way.

Later on, when the robbers were reporting to their leader, both the robbers who had questioned me mentioned what had transpired. The leader was surprised and said, “Bring him to me.” They thus fetched me and took me to a small hill where they were distributing the wealth that they had stolen among themselves.

When I was brought before the leader, he asked me, “What wealth do you have with you?” I replied, “Forty dinars.” He asked me, “Where is it?” I replied, “Sewn into my kurta near my armpit.” He was astonished and asked me, “What made you confess that you had this wealth (whereas it was hidden and we would have never known of it)?” I replied, “My mother made me promise that I would always be truthful, and I will not break my mother’s promise.”

Hearing this answer, the robber was extremely affected and began to weep. He exclaimed, “You refuse to break the promise to your mother, whereas I have been breaking my promise to Allah Ta‘ala (to refrain from sin and haraam) for so many years!” Saying this, the leader repented at my hands from his life of robbery. When the other robbers witnessed his repentance, they said, “You were our leader in crime, and now we make you our leader in repentance as well.” They thus repented at my hands and returned all the stolen wealth to the caravan.

(Bahjatul Asraar pg. 186 and Qalaa-idul Jawaahir pg. 9)

Lessons:

1. The values that the mother instills within the child are perhaps the values that are entrenched the deepest. These values guide the child through childhood, and beyond through adulthood, assisting him to live a life of righteousness and piety.

2. When a Muslim brings the qualities of Islam into his life, he becomes a true flag bearer of Islam, attracting people to the beauty and purity of Islam and the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The effect of interacting with this type of person – a person blessed with the true values of Islam – is such a great da’wah to Islam that it sometimes inspires countless people to change their lives.

3. The value of a promise and truthfulness is such that Shaikh ‘Abdul Qaadir (rahimahullah) was prepared to lose his money, but was not prepared to lose his honesty and truthfulness. We have all pledged to be the faithful servants of Allah Ta‘ala, yet behave treacherously and unfaithfully by disobeying Him and breaking His commands. If we uphold our pledge to Him, we too will be blessed and will gain His proximity and favour.