On one occasion, the great saint and ascetic, Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) approached a ship and wanted to board it. The captain of the ship asked him to pay two dinaars (gold coins) in order to travel on his ship. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) explained that he did not have any money on him at that time but he will definitely pay him during the journey. The captain was quite amazed and wondered how Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) would give him the gold coins while they are at sea when he does not have any coins on him now. He nevertheless allowed him to come aboard and they set sail.
Enroute, they stopped at an island. The captain of the ship thought to himself, “By Allah! I will definitely see from where he gives me the money. Has he (perhaps) hidden something here (on this island)?” He thus demanded the money from him. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) agreed (to give him) and left the ship proceeding onto the island, while the captain discreetly followed him. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) performed salaah, and then begged Allah Ta‘ala whilst in sajdah saying, “O Allah this person has demanded from me his right which I owe him, so give it to him on my behalf.”
As he lifted his head from sajdah, there were gold coins around him. Seeing the captain standing there as well, Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) asked him to only take the amount that was owed to him and also instructed him not to relate this incident to anyone. The captain thus took two gold coins and they proceeded with their journey.
As they were sailing, they encountered a severe storm, with darkness, strong winds and high waves, that made the ship rock from side to side. The storm was so severe that the people on board began to scream and cry, out of fear of drowning and destruction. The captain suggested that they approach Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) (and request him to supplicate to Allah Ta‘ala to save them). In the meanwhile, Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) had wrapped his head with a shawl and fell asleep in one corner of the ship. The people approached him and asked, “Do you not see the difficulty (and anxiety) that we are experiencing?” Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) replied, “This is not a difficulty.” They asked (in surprise), “Then what is a difficulty?” He responded, “Expressing (one’s) need to people.” They then requested him to make du‘aa with them.
Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) raised his hands, lowered his eyes and began imploring Allah Ta‘ala thus, “O Allah, You have shown us Your power, so show us your forgiveness and mercy.” As he made this du’aa, the waves became calm, the wind stopped and the ship began to sail smoothly.
(Al-Awliyaa – Ibnu Abid Dunya #86 and Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 6, pg. 323-325)
1. When a person develops a close relationship and bond with Allah Ta‘ala, the divine assistance of Allah Ta‘ala is with him. Hence, when he finds himself in some difficulty or constraint, Allah Ta‘ala grants him ease and a way out through His hidden system, although it may not always be in the extraordinary manner that played out in this incident. Allah Ta‘ala says in the Quraan Majeed, “And whosoever adopts taqwa, He (Allah) will make a way out for him. And He will provide for him from sources which he did not expect.” (Surah Talaaq v2&3)
2. The most effective weapons of a believer are salaah and du‘aa. Whenever any concern or difficulty befalls a believer, he should first turn to Allah Ta‘ala and seek His help, since He is One Who is in control of everything. Thereafter, he may use any other permissible means but then too, his gaze should only be on Allah Ta‘ala.
3. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) firmly believed that Allah Ta‘ala is solely in control and was thus not overtaken by anxiety and worry. His heart was at shore (i.e. at ease) even though he was in the midst of a storm. On the other hand, when a person’s focus in only on material and he totally forgets Allah Ta‘ala, his heart will continuously experience a storm and he will be in turmoil even though he may be surrounded by every type of comfort and luxury.
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