Practical Examples of The Early Righteous Muslims
The Commander of the Believers, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, walked along the street while some children were playing with each other. Upon seeing him coming, the children, save one called 'Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr, fled from him. Wondering about this boy, 'Umar asked him about why he had not fled from him. The child declared, "I am neither guilty nor in fear of you, so I did not escape nor leave the place for you.”
While traveling, Ibn ‘Umar saw a little boy tending a flock of sheep. "Would you sell me one of them?" Ibn 'Umar asked. "But I am not the actual owner of them," answered the boy. Ibn ‘Umar again asked, "What if you pretend that a wolf ate it?" The slave boy replied impressively, "Is not Allah watching me!" Ibn 'Umar, thereupon, kept this statement in mind and uttered it repeatedly for a time.
It happened that a scholar was used to giving one of his students special attention. Some accused him and asked about the reason. He answered them practically. He gave each of his students a bird and ordered them to slay it with the condition that none could see him. All the students slew their bird except for the one to whom he paid special attention. The scholar asked him the reason for not slaying the bird, and upon this the student answered, “I found no place in which I could be alone". Commenting on these indicative words the scholar said, "That is why I shower him with love and attention more than the others.” Meaning that the student realized that there was no place where Allah, the Almighty, could not see him.
In his book, Ihya' 'Ulum Ad-Din, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali narrated a very interesting story: "Sahl ibn "Abdullah at-Tasturi said, 'Wben I was three years old, I woke up at night, and there I found my uncle Muhammad ibn Siwar performing the night prayer. Once be asked me, 'Why don't you remember Allah, Who has created you?' I asked, 'How can I do so?' 'To say these words three times without uttering them with your tongue - Allah supports me, Allah sees me, and Allah keeps a watchful eye on me. I kept repeating them for some days, then I informed him so. Thereupon, he said, 'Do the same thing seven times every night.' So I did, then I told him. 'Do the same thing eleven times every night,' he said. I said them and enjoyed their sweetness. After one year, my uncle said to me, 'Memorize and adhere to what I have taught you, as this brings you great reward in this world and in the Hereafter'. I kept on acting in accordance with his advice for many years until he said to me, 'Whomever Allah supports, sees and keeps a watchful eye on him, could not commit even the slightest sin, could he?' Then he added, 'Be mindful of committing a sin.' When I reached the age of six or seven, I finished learning and memorizing the Qur’an by heart. I observed fasting frequently and made barley bread, my diet for twelve years."
In his book, Anba' Nujaba' al-Abna', Ibn Zufar al-Makki narrated, "One day, during his childhood, al-Harith al-Muhasibi passed by some boys who were playing and he looked at them. The owner of the house, beside the place where they were playing, offered some dates to al-Muhasibi. In his answer to al-Muhasibi's query about the source of the dates the man said, 'They fell from a man, from whom I had already bought some.' 'Do you know him?' asked al-Muhasibi. 'Yes,' was the man's answer. Al-Muhasibi looked at the boys who were playing and asked them, 'Is this man a Muslim?' ‘Yes,' they replied. When he heard this, Al-Muhasibi left the man and walked away, but the man followed him and asked why he had behaved this way to him. Al-Muhasibi turned to him and said, 'O venerable man! As long as you are a Muslim, you should do your best to find the owner of the dates and return them to him. How could you offer ill-gotten property for Muslim children to eat? Shame on you!' The man replied, 'By Allah, I will never make this world my target.'"
In the same book, Ibn Zufar said, "When Abu al-Husayn Ahmad ibn Muhammad memorized the Qur'an, he was obliged to study it in the shop where he worked. Every morning he would leave the shop to go and learn more about the Qur'an and for this reason his father threatened him and sometimes beat him. One day his father asked him, 'Would you gain anything from what you are learning?' The young boy replied, 'To know Allah and make me close to Him is the fruit which I desire.' The father asked, 'How could you know Him?' The child declared, 'When I consider what He prescribed and what He forbade, then I become acquainted with Him.' Again the father asked, 'But how could you bring yourself closer to Him?' The child replied, 'By acting in accordance with what He has taught me.' Thereupon the father said, 'By Allah, I will never hinder you.'"
 Ibn al-Adim, Tazkirat AI-'Aba' Wa Tasliyat Al-Abna', p. 66.
 Ar-Risalah Al-Qushayriyyah, p. 147.
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