Look on the Bright Side

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Sa‘eed bin Musayyab (rahimahullah) narrates the following incident regarding Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) and his son:

On one occasion, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) said to his son, “O my beloved son! No matter what happens to you, whether it is something that you like or dislike, always speak to your heart and tell yourself that what happened was for the best.” His son responded, “As far as your advice is concerned, I cannot assure you that I will be able to hold firmly to it until I am not convinced that the reality is exactly as you say.”

Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) replied, “O my beloved son! Indeed, Allah Ta‘ala has deputed a Nabi, so let us go to him as he will be able to explain that which I mentioned to you.” The son agreed saying, “Let us go, O father!” They then departed with each seated on a different donkey, taking with them the supplies which they required for the journey.

After travelling for many days and nights, they finally arrived at a desert. As they needed to traverse the desert, they made the necessary preparations and then entered the desert. They continued travelling until it was midday, the sun was high and the heat was intense. At this point, their water and provisions had depleted and even their donkeys were beginning to flag (become weak and tired). Thus, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) and his son dismounted and began to walk on foot.

While walking, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) looked ahead and suddenly caught sight of some shapes and smoke in the distance. Based on what he saw, he thought to himself, “The shapes that I saw must be trees and the smoke must be from a settlement with people.” However, while they were walking, his son stepped onto a bone lying on the path, causing it to stab through the bottom of his foot until it emerged from the top of his foot, and resulted in him falling unconscious.

When Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) turned to look for his son, he saw him lying senseless on the ground. He rushed towards him and embraced him, holding him to his chest. Then, to remove the bone, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) gripped it with his teeth and pulled it out of his son’s foot. Thereafter, he used his turban as a bandage and tied it around his son’s foot.

Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) then gazed at his son’s face with his eyes welling with tears. As he wept, a single tear fell onto his son’s cheek, stirring him from his unconscious state. As he recovered his senses, he looked at his father, and on noticing that he was crying, he said, “O my beloved father! Why do you weep when this is best for me, as you yourself said to me?” The son then asked, “How can this be best for me when our food and water have become depleted and you and I are stuck in this place? If you now go and leave me in this condition, you will carry grief and sorrow with you so long as you live, and if you remain here with me, both of us will perish. When this is the condition then how can this be best for me?”

Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) replied, “O my beloved son, I am weeping because I wish that I could give all the wealth which I possess in order to save your life. I am your father, and I possess the compassion of a father (which causes me to weep). As for your question as to how this can be best for you, then it is possible that (due to this difficulty,) an even greater calamity was diverted away from you.”

As he spoke to his son, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) looked into the distance, but to his surprise, he failed to see the shapes and smoke. He thus doubted and wondered to himself for a moment, “Did I actually see anything?” But then, after a moment, he said to himself, “I did see something. However, it is possible that my Rabb caused something to transpire to that which I saw.”

While pondering over this issue, Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) looked in front of him and suddenly saw a man arriving on a piebald (two-coloured) horse. He was dressed in white clothing, had a white turban on his head and seemed to be riding the wind. Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) continued to watch the horseman as he drew nearer, until suddenly, he disappeared from sight.

The horseman then called out, “Are you Luqmaan?” When Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) responded in the affirmative, the horseman further asked, “Are you the one known as ‘Hakeem’ (the wise one)?” Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) answered, “That is what people refer to me as and this (wisdom) is what my Rabb has granted me.”

The horseman then asked, “What did this foolish son of yours say to you?” Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) responded by asking, “O servant of Allah! Who are you? How is it that I can hear your voice but cannot see your face?” The horseman replied, “I am Jibreel, and it is only a close angel or a Nabi who can see me. Had that not been the case, you would have also been able to see me.”

Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then repeated his question saying, “What did this foolish son of yours say to you?” Sayyiduna Luqmaan (‘alaihis salaam) thought to himself, “If you really are Jibreel, then you should know what my son said even better than I do.”

Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then remarked, “I do not have any knowledge regarding your affair. However, your Guardian Angels came to me when my Rabb had commanded me to sink this entire city as well as its surrounds and inhabitants into the ground. They informed me that the two of you were headed towards this city. I thus made du‘aa to my Rabb to hold you back from me as He wishes. Therefore, he kept you away from me through the difficulty which afflicted your son. Had he not been afflicted, I would have sunk the two of you into the ground together with the others.”

Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then passed his hand over the foot of Sayyiduna Luqmaan’s (‘alaihis salaam) son. As a result, it healed completely and he was able to stand uninjured. Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then passed his hand over the water and food bags, causing them to fill with food and water. Thereafter, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) carried them with their conveyances, leaving them in the home from which they had commenced their journey.” 

(Ar Ridha ‘anillahi biqadhaa-ihi – Ibnu Abid Dunya #29)

Lessons:

1. A believer should always have a positive mindset. We must always remember that Allah Ta‘ala knows what is best for us. Hence, if we are undergoing any difficulty, then apart from the difficulty being a means of our sins being expiated, we must remember that the calamity could have been far worse. In this way, we will learn to look on the bright side and will insha-Allah never complain against the decision of Allah Ta‘ala or show Him ingratitude for His invaluable bounties.

2. We may not always understand the wisdom behind some calamity we faced or the benefit we enjoyed through it. However, this does not mean that there was no wisdom or benefit behind it. Hence, instead of pondering why the calamity transpired, we should trust in Allah Ta‘ala and beg Him to safeguard us and keep us in His mercy.

3. When a person engages in good deeds and righteous works, the angels befriend him, protect him, encourage him and make du‘aa for him. Conversely, when one engages in evil, he distances himself from the angels of protection and other angels that wish to assist him. Hence, we should strive to keep the friendship and company of the angels by always remaining clean and pure, internally and externally.

4. As Muslims, we have complete belief and conviction in the words and promises of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) based on him being the truthful Nabi of Allah Ta‘ala. We do not need to experiment, witness or see before we believe. It is for this reason that our belief is known as ‘belief in the unseen’.

5. When the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala descends on evil people, causing them to be destroyed, then even the innocent among them are destroyed (though on the Day of Qiyaamah, they will be separated from the evil doers). Hence, we must keep away from places of vice and sin.  

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