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Six Lessons for Eternal Success


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(Haatim Asamm (rahimahullah)
On one occasion, after Haatim (rahimahullah) had spent thirty years in the company of his shaikh and teacher, Shaqeeq Balkhi (rahimahullah), Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) asked him, “What have you learnt (from me) since the time you have accompanied me?”
Despite spending such a lengthy period of time in his company, Haatim (rahimahullah) replied that he had learnt (only) six lessons. When Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) enquired as to what these lessons were, Haatim (rahimahullah) explained them as follows:
First Lesson: “I have seen everyone in doubt (and concerned) when it comes to the matter of (their) sustenance, whereas I have relied on Allah Ta‘ala (when He says), “And there is no moving creature on earth, but that Allah is fully responsible for the providing of its sustenance.” (Surah Hood ; V:6)
Thus, I have realized that I am (also) one of these creatures (whose sustenance Allah Ta‘ala has taken care of). Hence, I did not engross myself in something which my Rabb has taken responsibility of for me.” On hearing this, Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) said, “Excellent! What is the second (lesson)?”
Second Lesson: Haatim (rahimahullah) continued, “I have noticed that every person has a friend with whom he shares his secrets and complaints. I thus thought of looking for someone I could befriend, (only to realize that) every friend and brother only remains till death. I therefore decided to take up a friend who will be with me (even) after death. Hence, I befriended good deeds so that they may remain with me till the reckoning, they may cross the siraat (bridge over Jahannam) with me, and they may keep me firm in front of Allah Ta‘ala.” To this Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) responded, “Correct! What is the third (lesson)?”
Third Lesson: Haatim (rahimahullah) said, “I have seen that everyone has an enemy. I decided to see who my enemy (really) was. (I thus realized that) the one who backbit me is not my enemy, nor is the one who took something from me. Rather, my enemy is the one who commands me to disobey Allah Ta‘ala when I am in His obedience. I had seen that this is Iblees and his army, hence I have taken them as an enemy. I have declared war with them, placed the string on my bow and positioned my arrow (towards them), not allowing him (Iblees) to get close to me.” Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) exclaimed, “Excellent! What is the fourth (lesson)?”
Fourth Lesson: Haatim (rahimahullah) explained, “I have realized that there is someone who pursues every person (and gets hold of them) one day (or another). I have seen that this (person) is the Angel of Death. Hence, I have freed my soul for him so that the day he comes, I will not have to hold (my soul) back from him and I will proceed (happily) with him.” On hearing this, Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) said, “Excellent! What is the fifth (lesson)?”
Fifth Lesson: Haatim (rahimahullah) further mentioned, “I pondered over the creation (and realized that) I love some and hate others. (However,) the one whom I love has not given me (anything in order for me to like him), and the one whom I hate has not taken anything from me (which would cause hatred for him in my heart). I thus (fell into retrospect and) enquired (from myself), ‘On what basis have you developed this?’ I then came to realize that I had developed this because of jealousy. Hence, I have shunned jealousy from my heart and I (now) love everyone. (Now,) whatever I dislike for myself, I dislike for them (as well).” To this Shaqeeq (rahimahullah) responded, “Excellent! What is the sixth (lesson)?”
Sixth Lesson: Haatim (rahimahullah) concluded by saying, “I have noticed that everyone has a house and abode while I have realized that my (real) abode is the grave. So whatever good I am able to carry out, I send it forward (to the Hereafter) for myself so that I may furnish my grave (with it), for indeed if the grave is not furnished, living in it will not be possible.”
After hearing these lessons, Shaqeeq Balkhi (rahimahullah) instructed Haatim (rahimahullah) thus, “Hold firm to these six qualities for you will not require any other knowledge besides this.” (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 6, pg. 316)
NB: Imaam Ghazaali (rahimahullah) has mentioned another version of this incident, which contains eight lessons. (Ihyaau ‘Uloomid Deen vol. 1, pg. 277)
One of the gems of wisdoms of Haatim (rahimahullah) were, “A calamity in Deen is (far) worse than a worldly calamity. However, when my daughter passed away, more than ten thousand people consoled me, whereas when I missed a salaah in congregation, not a single person consoled me.” (Mufeedul ‘Uloom pg. 268)
1. In order for a person to acquire the true qualities of imaan and become a practical Muslim, it is extremely important that he adopts the company of the pious and remains under their guidance for a lengthy period of time. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) became the best of the creation after the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) because of being in the company of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In a like manner, Haatim (rahimahullah) became who he was by remaining in the company of his shaikh, Shaqeeq (rahimahullah), for 30 long years and learnt these great important lessons from him.
2. When a person is convinced about the temporary nature of this world and the everlasting nature of the Hereafter, he understands the great importance of Deen and the insignificance of the material world. He will therefore be able to manage a calamity affecting his material possessions, whereas a loss to his Deen will be unbearable.
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