A Man from Egypt (Ibn al Jawzee, The Lives of the Salaf)
- One of the wise men of the past said:
“I passed by a village in Egypt seeking to engage in Ribat (guarding the Muslim frontier against the disbelievers), when suddenly I passed by a man in sitting in the dark. He was missing his eyes, as well as his hands and legs. He was suffering all types of difficulty, while saying: “Praise be to You, Allah – a praising that combines the praises of all of Your Creation – for what You have blessed me with, and preferred me greatly over many of those whom You have Created.”
So, I said to him: “For what blessing are you praising Allah? For what preference are you thanking Him for? By Allah, I do not see any type of difficulty except that you are experiencing it!”
So, he said: “Do you not see what has happened to me? By Allah, if He were to cause the heavens to rain fire down upon me, and I were to be burned up because of it, and He were to command the mountains to crush me, and He were to command the oceans to drown me, I would not increase except in praising and thanks to Him, and I request something of you: I have a daughter who used to serve me and break my fast with me. Can you see if you can find her?”
I said to myself: “By Allah, I hope that in fulfilling the request of this pious servant, I will gain nearness to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.” So, I went out looking for her in the desert to discover that she had been eaten by wild beasts. I said to myself: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return! How will I tell this pious servant that his daughter had died?” So, I went to him and asked him: “Are you better in the Sight of Allah than Prophet Ayyub? Allah put him to trial with his wealth and his children and family.”
He replied: “No, rather, Ayyub is better!”
I said: “Well, the daughter that you had asked me to find, I found that she has been eaten by wild beasts.”
He said: “Praise be to Allah who has taken me out of this World without putting in my heart any love for it.” Then he collapsed and died.
I said: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return! Who will help me to wash his body and bury it?” Suddenly, a group of horsemen engaging in Ribat passed by, so I motioned for them to stop. They came over, so I informed them of what had happend, so we washed the man’s body, shrouded it and buried it in this village, and the group of men then went on their way.
I spent the night in the village unable to leave this man. When a third of the night had passed, I began dreaming that I was with him in a green garden. He was wearing two beautiful green garments, and he was standing up and reciting the Qur’an. I said to him: “Are you not my companion from yesterday?”
He said: “Yes, I am.”
I said: “How did you reach your current state (of health and happiness)?”
He replied: “I have reached a level that none of the patient reach, except those who are patient during times of calamity and thankful during times of ease.”"
[‘Sifat as-Safwah’; 2/452]
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