A Selfless Sacrifice

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Egypt was once struck by famine during the rule of the governor, ‘Abdul Hameed bin Sa‘d (rahimahullah). As normally happens, the onset of famine caused the prices of food and other goods to escalate. Before long, the prices had rocketed to exorbitant rates. On seeing the difficulty and plight of people who could no longer afford even basic commodities, ‘Abdul Hameed (rahimahullah) resolved to oppose Shaitaan, who urges a person to be miserly, and promised himself saying, “I am going to seize this opportunity to prove my animosity towards Shaitaan by spending generously on the poor!” He thereafter made it his personal responsibility to see to the needs of all the poor and needy people until conditions had improved and prices stabilised.A

It so happened, however, that he was dismissed from his post as governor when the drought ended and thus had to leave Egypt. At the time of his departure, it was calculated that he owed a million silver coins to the local businessmen from whom he had loaned the money in order to assist the destitute and underprivileged people suffering from the famine. Realizing that he was unable to settle the debt, he collected the jewellery and other items of the women of his family and deposited them with his creditors as collateral for the money he owed. The total value of the items he had pledged in security amounted to five hundred million silver coins!

‘Abdul Hameed (rahimahullah) later tried to pay off the debts and redeem the pledged valuables but could not raise the money. He therefore wrote to the businessmen and instructed them saying, “I authorize you to sell all the valuables lying in pledge with you and to use the proceeds to pay off all my debts. After my debts have been settled, spend the remaining money on the poor.” The money which remained equalled to no less than 499 million silver coins! (Ithaafus Saadatil Muttaqeen vol. 8 pg. 184)

Lessons:

1. A true Muslim is one who is affected by the suffering and difficulties of those around him. A true Muslim does not lead a self-centred life in which “Me”, “Myself” and “I” are his only concerns.

2. True generosity and selflessness is where a person is prepared to sacrifice his own comfort and wealth for the comfort and ease of others. If we are unable to do this, let us at least share some of what we have with those less privileged than ourselves.

3. If we are unable to even share with others, at the very least, let us not flaunt what we have in front of the underprivileged thus causing pain to their hearts.

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