Sahal bin ‘Abdillah Tustari (rahimahullah) had a neighbour above him who was a fire worshipper. Once, a hole developed in the floor of the fire worshipper’s toilet, and through this hole, the toilet would leak down into one of the rooms in the home of Sahal (rahimahullah).
Noticing what had happened, Sahal (rahimahullah) would daily place a container beneath the leak to catch the filth that dripped into the room. Sahal (rahimahullah) would then take the full container and empty it at night where nobody could see what he was doing.
This continued for a long time, until the day when Sahal (rahimahullah) neared his final moments and realized that he would soon leave this world. At that time, he called for his neighbour. When the fire worshipper arrived, Sahal (rahimahullah) said to him, “Enter that room and look inside.” On entering, the fire worshipper observed the hole and the filth that was falling through it into the container. He asked Sahal (rahimahullah), “What is this?” Sahal (rahimahullah) replied, “This has been happening for some time. The filth falls from your toilet into this room. I allow it to accumulate in the container during the day, and thereafter dispose of it at night. If it was not for the fact that I am about to leave this world, and I fear that those after me will not be tolerant and show you good character, I would not have showed you this and informed you about it. Now that you are aware of the problem with your toilet, you may fix it as you see fit.”
The fire worshipper was absolutely amazed and exclaimed, “O Shaikh! You have been treating me with kindness and showing me this level of good character for such a long time despite the fact that I am a disbeliever! Stretch forth your hand – I testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah Ta‘ala, and Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the Rasul of Allah Ta‘ala.” Shortly after the fire worshipper accepted Islam, Sahal (rahimahullah) passed away. (Al Kabaa-ir liz Zahabi pg. 208)
1. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) greatly stressed and emphasized the importance of fulfilling the neighbour’s rights and warned that the imaan of a person who causes any harm or inconvenience to his neighbour is incomplete. On account of showing good character to neighbours being such an emphasized and integral part of Deen, Sahal (rahimahullah) was even prepared to tolerate the inconvenience of his neighbour’s toilet dripping filth into his home.
2. Sahal (rahimahullah) would dispose of the waste during the night where no person could see him. One reason for which he did this was perhaps so that nobody would learn of the waste dripping into his home and thereafter fight with the fire worshipper. Furthermore, disposing of the waste in secret also indicates to the humility of Sahal (rahimahullah), as he did not wish people to learn of his tolerance and praise him.
3. If a Muslim adopts the true character of Islam, his interaction and behaviour will shine with the radiance of Islam and will thus be an invitation to Deen. It was this very same character that ‘melted’ the heart of the fire worshipper and let him see the beauty of Islam.
4. Sahal (rahimahullah) was so cautious and concerned that no dispute should arise with the neighbour after his demise, that shortly before passing away, he called the neighbour and showed him that the toilet was leaking. Hence, let alone in his lifetime, he did not even wish for a dispute to erupt with his neighbour after he passed away. We too should do our best to arrange our affairs in such a manner that after our demise, there will be no opportunity or chance for people to become embroiled in arguments and fights.
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