Pearl of Wisdom

'Whoever has conviction that Allah sees him while he continues to commit sins, then he has considered Him the most insignificant of onlookers.'

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Ibid. v. 78, p. 92, no. 98

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Islamic Occasions » Hajj - The Pilgrimage » Inspirational Hajj Story
Inspirational Hajj Story E-mail

Cobbler's Hajj

It is related that a noted Muslim scholar Abdullah bin Mubarak, had a dream while he was sleeping near the Holy Kaaba in Makkah.

Abdullah bin Mubarak saw two angels' descend from the sky, and start talking to each other.

One of the angels asked the other: "Do you know how many people have come for Hajj this year?"

The other angel replied: "Six hundred thousand have come for Hajj."

Abdullah bin Mubarak had also gone for Hajj that year.

The first angel asked: "How many people's Hajj has been accepted?"

The second angel replied: "I wonder if anyone's Hajj has been accepted at all."

Abdullah bin Mubarak was grieved to hear that. He thought, "So many people have come from all over the world, crossing so many obstacles like rivers, jungles, desert and mountains, suffered so many hardships, and meeting so many expenses. Would their effort be wasted? Allah (SWT) does not let anyone's effort go to waste."

Abdullah bin Mubarak had thought only so far when he heard the other angel speak: "There is a cobbler in Damascus. His name is Ali bin al-Mufiq. He could not come for Hajj, but Allah (SWT) has accepted his intention of Hajj. Not only will he get the reward for Hajj, but because of him, all the Hajjis will be rewarded."

When Abdullah bin Mubarak woke up, he decided he would go to Damascus and meet that cobbler whose Hajj intentions carried such a lot of weight.

On reaching Damascus, Abdullah bin Mubarak inquired if anyone knew a cobbler named Ali bin al-Mufiq. The town people directed him to a house. When a man appeared from the house Abdullah bin Mubarak greeted him and asked his name. The man replied "Ali bin al-Mufiq."

Abdullah bin Mubarak asked: "What do you do for a living?"

Ali bin al-Mufiq replied: "I am a cobbler." Then Ali bin al-Mufiq asked the stranger's name that had come looking for him.

Abdullah bin Mubarak was a very well-known scholar of Islam, when Abdullah bin Mubarak introduced him self, the cobbler was anxious to find out why such a well known scholar was seeking him out.

When Abdullah bin Mubarak asked Ali bin al-Mufiq to tell him if he had made any plans to go for Hajj. Ali bin al-Mufiq replied, "For thirty years I have lived in the hope of performing the Hajj. This year I had saved enough to go for Hajj, but Allah (SWT) did not will it, so I couldn't make my intention translate into action."

Abdullah bin Mubarak was eager to find out how could this man's Hajj be accepted and blessed for all the people who went for Hajj that year when he didn't go for Hajj in the first place. While talking to the cobbler he could feel certain purity in his heart. Islam regards greatness not in wealth or in power, but in civility, in good manners and the goodness of heart.

Abdullah bin Mubarak further asked: "why could you not go on Hajj?" In order not to disclose the reason, Ali bin al-Mufiq again replied "it was Allah's (SWT) will."

When Abdullah bin Mubarak persisted, Ali bin al-Mufiq revealed: "Once I went to see my neighbour's house. His family was just sitting down for dinner. Although I was not hungry I thought my neighbour would invite me to sit down for dinner out of courtesy but I could see that my neighbour was grieved about something and wanted to avoid inviting me for dinner."

After some hesitation the neighbour told me: "I am sorry I cannot invite you for food. We were without food for three days and I could not bear to see the pain of hunger of my children. I went out looking for food today and found a dead donkey. In my desperation I cut out some meat from the dead animal, and brought it home so that my wife could cook this meat. It is Halal (lawful or permitted) for us because of our extreme condition of hunger, but I cannot offer it to you."

Ali bin al-Mufiq continued: "On hearing this, my heart bled with tears. I got up and went home, collected the three thousand dinars I had saved for Hajj, and gave my neighbour the money. I too had to go hungry but that was to save money for Hajj, but I thought helping my neighbour during his difficult times was more important. Although I still desire to go for Hajj if Allah (SWT) wills."

Abdullah bin Mubarak was greatly inspired by the cobbler's story and told the cobbler of his dream.

Allah (SWT) is merciful and shows mercy to those who do likewise to his creatures. This act of compassion on the part of the cobbler was so pleasing to Allah (SWT) that it not only earned him the reward of Hajj but was extended to all the people who came for Hajj.

Hajj is a journey that can ignite the soul to be reminded of the time it was created and takes it beyond the dimensions of this life to the time it will meet the creator.

The sincere performance of Hajj can transcend a person's day to day life into a spiritual awakening of the highest magnitude. A successful Hajj experience connects us to our creator and the greater compassion of humanity.

The Pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the essential elements of the Islamic faith. It is obligatory on all believers provided they have the financial capability and physical ability to endure the challenges of the pilgrimage.

According to Islamic tradition the Holy Kaaba, a simple square cube structure in Makkah, was the first house of worship established to remind humanity of the One Supreme God. The structure was reconstructed by Prophet Ibrahim / Abraham (as) and his son Prophet Ismail / Ishmael (as) more than 3000 years ago.

And when We made the House (at Makkah) a destination for humankind and a sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of worship the place where Abraham stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon Abraham and Ishmael, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in worship). Holy Quran (2:125)

The gathering of millions of faithful in Makkah during the days of annual pilgrimage, Hajj is a fulfillment of Prophet Abraham's prayer.

And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." Holy Quran (2:126)

The Pilgrimage to Makkah is a sign of supreme significance. It was Prophet Ibraham's unconditional commitment to Allah (SWT) that led him to leave his wife Hagar and his infant son Ismael in this desolated desert. Prophet Ibrahim / Abraham (as) was reward for his unwavering submission to Allah (SWT), by a promise from Him to make this uninviting land into a place of promise and plenty.

Muslims who visit Makkah for Hajj become part of Allah's (SWT) promise to Prophet Ibrahim / Abraham (as). Like any other article of faith, the pilgrimage can become meaningless if it is regarded as an end in itself rather than a means for the attainment of a meaningful life.

Lost Pouch!

I was in Makkah during the season of Hajj and I saw a man from Khurasan calling out to the people, "Pilgrims, people of Makkah, I have lost a pouch that contains a thousand dinars. So whoever returns the pouch will be rewarded by Allah (SWT) with good and saved from the Hellfire and Allah's (SWT) bounty and favors will be acquired on the Day of Judgement."

An old man from the people of Makkah approached him and said, "Khurasani, our city is in very tough condition, and the days of Hajj are few, and its season is appointed, and the doors of profit making are closed. This money might fall into the hands of a believer who is poor and old in age. Maybe he plans to give it back if you promise that you will give him a little bit of money that is Halal (lawful or permitted) for him to use."

The Khurasani asked, "How much does he want?"

Old man replied, "He wants one tenth of the money."

The Khurasani replied, "No, I will not grant him the money. Instead I will take my case to Allah (SWT) and complain to Him on the day we meet Him, and Allah (SWT) is sufficient for us and the best one to trust in."

I realized that it was the old man who was poor, and he was the one who had taken the pouch of dinars and wished to have a little portion of it. So I followed him until he returned to his home. My assumptions were confirmed. I heard him calling onto his wife, "Lubabah!"

She said, "I am at your service, Abu Ghayth."

The old man said, "I found the owner of the dinars calling for it, and he does not intend to give any reward to the person who finds it. I said to him, 'Give us one tenth of the money,' and he refused and said he would take his case to Allah (SWT). What should I do, Lubabah? I must return it, for I fear my Lord and I fear that my sin is multiplied."

The wife replied, "Oh man! We have been struggling and suffering from poverty with you for the last 50 years, and you have four daughters, two sisters, my mother and me, and you are the ninth. Keep all the money and feed us, for we are hungry, and clothe us, for you know better our situation. Perhaps Allah (SWT) the Almighty will make you rich afterwards and you might be able to give the money back after you have fed your children, or Allah (SWT) will pay the amount you owe on the day when the kingdom will belong to the King (Allah)."

The old man exclaimed, "Will I consume Haraam (unlawful) after 86 years of my life, and burn my organs with Hellfire after I have been patient with my poverty, and become worthy of Allah's (SWT) anger, even though I am close to my grave? No, by Allah (SWT), I will not do so!"

I left amazed at his condition and that of his wife.

Later I heard the owner of the pouch, man from Khurasan, calling out again, and the old man repeated his advice. This time he asked for ten dinars instead of hundred dinars. The Khurasani refused. The people dispersed and left.

Later, once again, the Khurasani made the same call. The old man came again and said, "Khurasani, I said to you the day before yesterday to reward the finder a hundred dinars and you refused. Then I advised you to give him ten dinars and you refused. So will you give only one dinar so that he can buy with half of it things he needs and with the other half sheep's milk so that he can give to the people and feed his children?"

The Khurasani again refused. The old man said angrily, "Come and take your money so that I can sleep at night, for I have not been in a good mood ever since I found this money pouch."

So the owner of the pouch went with the old man and I followed them until the old man entered his house, dug a hole, and pulled out the money and said, "Take your money and ask Allah (SWT) to forgive me and bless me from His bounty."

The Khurasani then said, "Old man, my father died - may Allah have mercy on him - and left behind three thousand dinars and said to me, 'Take out a third of this money and give it to a person from the people who is most deserving of it.' By Allah (SWT), I have not seen a person since I left Khurasan until now, who is more worthy of it than you. So take it, may Allah's (SWT) blessing be upon you, and may He reward you for the trust you kept and your patience during poverty."

The Khurasani man left without the money. The old man wept and prayed, "May Allah bless the owner of the money in his grave, and may Allah bless his son."

I left after the Khurasani but Abu Ghayth, the old man, brought me back. He said, "I have seen you following me since the first day; you have come to know of our situation yesterday and today. So this is a gift from Allah (SWT) to all those attending."

The old man called his daughters, his sisters, and his wife and her mother, and sat down and made me sit down. We were ten people. The old man gave out the dinars one by one in order until he reached me and said, "Here is a dinar." The process continued until the bag was empty and I received a hundred dinars. So joy filled my heart because of the provision they received, more than the joy I had because I received a hundred dinars.

When I was leaving the old man said, "Young man, you are blessed. Keep this money with you, for it is Halal (lawful or permitted). And know that I used to wake up for Fajr (Early Morning) Prayer with this wet shirt. After I was done I would take it off and give it to my daughters so that they could pray, one by one. Then I would go to work between Zuhr Prayer and Asr Prayer and then I would come back at the end of the day with what Allah (SWT) has given me of dates and dry pieces of bread. Then I would take off my clothes for my daughters and they would pray Zuhr and Asr, and the same would happen for the Maghrib and Isha Prayers. And we did not ever expect to see this kind of money. So may Allah (SWT) make us make good use of them, and may Allah (SWT) bless the person in his grave and multiply the reward for him."

So I told him goodbye and took the hundred dinars and used them to write knowledge for two years. I used it to buy paper and pay rent.

"...And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him ..." Holy Quran (65:2-3)

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