>> Friday, September 12, 2008
This is part 3 of the series. Here is only one sign of a learned man because this sign is quiet lengthy, because it narrates one of the stories of Hatem Asem.
In The Words of Imam Ghazzali
Third sign. Another sign of the learned man of the next world is that his mind would be directed towards such learning as will be useful for the next world and give encouragement to pious deeds. He will avoid those learnings which will bring lesser benefit and wherein there are much arguments. He who shuns the learning of practice and remains busy in arguments is like a sick man who suffers from many diseases, but when he fears death, he goes to an experienced physician and asks him many questions of the qualities of drugs and complexities of medical profession but he does not ask him about his diseases. This is the height of foolishness.
One day a man came to the Apostle of God and said: Teach me some of the strange things of knowledge. He asked him: What have you done with the beginning of knowledge? The man said: What is the beginning of knowledge? The Prophet replied: Have you known God? He §aid: Yes. He asked: What have you learned about this truth? He said: What God willed. The Prophet said: Have you known death? He said :Yes. He said: How have you prepared for it? He said: What God willed. The Prophet said: Go and gain experience of these things first and then I shall teach you some of the strange things of knowledge.
A student should be like Hadrat Hatem Asem who was the disciple of Hadrat Shaqiq Balakhi. He once asked Hatem: How long are you in my company? Hatem said: For the last 33 years. He said: What have you learned from me during this period? Hatem said: I have learned only eight things. Shaqiq said: You have not learned except eight things. He said: Yes, 0 dear teacher, I have learned nothing except eight things. I don't wish to speak falsehood. He said: Describe those eight things to me. Let me hear them. Hatem began to describe them.
First, I looked around and beheld that every man has got an object of love and he lives with that thing until his death. When he goes to the grave, it becomes separate from him. I pondered over the following words of God– "We are for God and to Him we shall return." So I have made good deeds as my object of love. When I will go to the grave, my good deeds will accompany me to the grave. The sage Shaqiq said: 0 Hatem, you have done well.
Second, I have pondered over the following words of God: "As for one who fears the majesty of his Lord and refrains his soul from lust, paradise is his resting place— 79:40. 1 have come to know that the words of God are true. I have tried my utmost to suppress I my lust and remained satisfied with obeying the injunctions of God.
Third, I looked around the people and found that ever one values what he possesses. Then I turned to the following words of God: What is with you will end and what is with God will last- 16: 98. Then I began to give unto God whatever valuable things fell into my hands.
Fourth, I looked around and saw that everyone puts his trust in his wealth and properties, his name and fame and his honour and glory and found that there is nothing in them. Then I looked towards the following words of God: "The most honourable of you to God is one who is the most God-fearing among you"- 49: 13. Then I intended to accept God-fear in my life till I am honoured by God.
Fifth, I looked around the people and found them slandering and cursing one another because of envy and hatred and then I looked towards the words of God: "It is I who distributed their subsistence among them in this world's life"- 43 : 71. So 1 gave up envy and hatred and realised that subsistence comes from God and then I disliked the people more.
Sixth, I looked to the people and found them ungrateful to one another and even some of them kill others and then I looked towards the following words of God: The devil is your foe and so take him as foe- 35 : 6 . So I took the devil as a foe and ceased to have enmity with the people.
Seventh, I turned to the people and found everyone seeking his livelihood and for that debasing himself and committing unlawful things and then I looked towards the following words of God: There is no animal in the earth of which the provision is not upon God- 11 : 8 . Finding that I am one of the animals whose provision is upon God, I turned towards the duties prescribed by God and entrusted my fate unto Him.
Eighth, I turned to the people and found that everyone placed his trust in something created, some in his wealth, some in his profession, some in his industry and some in the health of his body and then looked towards the following words of God: If a man relies on God, He is sufficient for him- 65 : 3 Then I relied on God and He is sufficient for me.
On hearing Hatem, Hadrat Shaqiq exclaimed: Hatem, may God prosper you. I examined the Torah, the Bible, the Zabur (Psalms) and the great Quran and found that all these centre round these eight things and he who puts them into practice follows these four books.
In short, the learned men of the hereafter seek and acquire knowledge but the learned men of the world are engaged in acquiring wealth and name and fame and give up those learningss for which God sent the Prophets.