Shaikh ‘Abdul Fattaah Abu Ghuddah (rahimahullah), the renowned Syrian ‘Aalim, writes that he heard the following incident from an ‘Aalim of Pakistan:

Once, a certain person went to visit one of the rulers in Northern Pakistan. When he received him and asked him how he was, the visitor launched into a lengthy list of complaints, explaining all the difficulties and grievances that he was suffering.

After listing his extensive complaints, he remarked to the ruler, “How fortunate are you! You lead a good and comfortable life! You enjoy the best quality of food, drink and sleep, and your life is free from all problems and worries! You are the ruler, so everything (you wish for) is presented before you!” The ruler remained silent and did not reply.

Sometime later, the ruler invited the man to his home for a meal. However, above the person’s seat, was a sharp, unsheathed sword suspended only by a thin thread. Realizing that this could snap at any second and fall on him, the man was filled with such fear that he lost his appetite and interest in the food!

The ruler encouraged him to eat saying, “You should eat from all the different varieties and dishes (that we have served), for they are all tasty and delicious.” However, the man responded, “As tasty as the food may be, my fear of the sword falling on me has robbed me of the enjoyment of the food and has made me lose all interest in eating!”

The ruler then said, “That is exactly the state of my life which you envy. You yearn to lead a life like mine, whereas you are completely ignorant of the reality of my life and what I experience. My entire life is similar to yours at this given moment, where you fear the sword falling on you. My life is in danger constantly from my enemies and close associates who wish to seize power from me. They wish to take over my rule through having me assassinated and killed, poisoning my food, killing me in my sleep, or through inciting an uprising and rebellion against me.

“I constantly suffer from insecurity, insomnia, fear and anxiety. Every moment, I am forced to remain vigilant and on guard. You however, are so fortunate! You sleep in peace and safety, walk in peace and safety, eat in peace and safety, and whether you are traveling or at home, you enjoy peace and safety. you are the one who leads an envious life – not me.”

On hearing this, the man acknowledged that the ruler was correct. He thus praised and thanked Allah Ta‘ala for the life that He had given him.

(Risaalatul Mustarshideen pg. 223 – footnotes)


1. An English proverb states, “The grass in always greener on the other side.” In other words, no matter how good a person’s life may be, and how many bounties of Allah Ta‘ala he may enjoy, he will always feel as though others are more fortunate than himself. In reality, this is the trap of Shaitaan. Shaitaan makes us turn our gazes to the bounties of others, while blinding us to the bounties we enjoy, so that we fall into ingratitude. Hence, the hadeeth teaches us with regards to the bounties of this world, that we should always look at those who are less fortunate and less privileged than ourselves. This will make us grateful and appreciative by making us realize how much we enjoy.

2. Allah Ta‘ala loves us, and He knows what is best for us. At times, we may want something, but He does not give it to us, as He knows that it is not good for us. Instead, He gives us something better – in this world or the next. We may not understand or see the infinite wisdom behind the decision of Allah Ta‘ala, but we should nevertheless trust in Him and always remain pleased with His decision.

3. Most people labour their entire lives to amass wealth, convinced that abundant wealth will guarantee them lives of happiness and joy. However, wealth, power and position do not guarantee happiness and peace. Many wealthy people live in constant fear and stress regarding the safety of their lives and wealth. Conversely, there are many people who are not wealthy, but lead happy and contented lives. Thus, we should learn to be content and grateful for what we have – this is the key to a ‘good life’.