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The Incident of the Sock

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The Incident of the Sock
Once upon a time there was a very rare, wise and saintly rich man whose name was Hamza. Sensing his approaching death, Hamza called his son to his side and gave him these instructions, “My son, I shall be leaving you very shortly. On the day I die and they have washed my body and shroud it, I want you to put one of my socks on my foot, burying me with it. This is my final request of you.”
Soon after this, Hamza did indeed die, leaving behind his goods, his property, his children and his dependents. The body had been washed and was almost completely wrapped in the shroud, when the son remembered his father’s wish. Finding an old sock of his fathers, he handed it to the washer of the dead, saying, “In accordance with my father’s last request, please put this sock on his foot.”
“That is quite impossible” said the washer of the dead, “Such a thing is utterly impermissible, I cannot do this.” Despite this valid objection, the son insisted, “That was my father’s final request; it must certainly be carried out.” The washer was unmoved, “If you won’t take my word for it, go and ask the scholarly elders. They will confirm what I tell you, that it is not permissible.”
Holding up the funeral, the son consulted the elder men, religious head and scholars, all of whom declared that this was impermissible.The son kept on insisting, but to no avail. Hours and hours of deliberation went on, with no success.Family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours that attended Hamza’s funeral, were getting frustrated, wondering what all the fuss was about.
Just then, an aged old friend of Hamza interrupted the debate with these words to the son, “My boy, your late father entrusted me with a letter which I was to hand over to you after his departure, but not until there was a long delay at his funeral.” The whole crowd were taken by surprise. Teary eyed, the son opened the envelope and read out the contents of his father’s letter…
“My son, all this wealth and property I have left to you. Now you see, at this last moment, they won’t even let me take an old sock with me to my grave. You yourself will be in my condition one day and they will also refuse to let you take anything with you to your grave; except for your good deeds which will be the only thing you can carry over from this fleeting world into the Hereafter. So pull yourself together and be prepared. Spend the fortune I have left you, not for the satisfaction of vain desires, but in ways pleasing to Allah Ta’ala, that you may achieve honour in both worlds.”

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

Council of Muslim Theologians

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