Who else than the emperor Salahuddin Aiyubi can deserve to be the representative of the class of kings and conquerors. He was the ruler of the largest Islamic empire of his time and had inflicted defeat upon the mightiest military power of the known world. His companion, Ibn-e-Shaddad testifies that:
‘All the legacy left behind by the Sultan was just an amount of 47 dirhams and a coin of gold. He left no other property in legacy.’
This great conqueror and ruler who ruled over a vast territory extending from the northern borders of Syria in Asia up to south of African deserts of Nuba departed from this world in such a state that he did not possess even so much money as could suffice for his funeral expenditure. Ibn-e-Shaddad writes:
‘Not a piece from his legacy was available to be spent on his funeral. All the arrangement was made from money taken on loan. So much so, that the hay-cocks for the grave were also acquired on loan. The shroud was arranged by his minister-cum-scribe, Qadi Fadil, from some permissible and legitimate source.’
This way of life was not peculiar to any generation or any ideological or spiritual school of thought. But all the saintly sages and godly saints in every era pursued the same course. Their motto was: ‘a new day, a new provision’. They kept nothing saved for future, nor did they practice frugality for fear of getting run-out of funds.
It is not some hoary tale of the past. There are, on the contrary, even today such clerics and spiritual leaders who do not like that anything in excess of their need which might be needed by someone else should remain with them or they pass a night with any excess money lying with them. This trend is not owing to monasticism or renunciation of the mundane.
Nor is there at work behind it the passion for interference with the divine law of nature, or the likeness for harshness in matters made easy by God, or presuming things made lawful and legitimate by Him as prohibited and forbidden.
They did not, also, take to this path under any compulsion. They had, instead, in view only the fear of being called to account in the Hereafter, affection for the humanity, and the eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). They also had in mind that following in the Prophet (Peace be upon him)’s footsteps in the life of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) not only in deeds of magnanimity, altruism and self-sacrifice but in all the righteous deeds is the silent inducement to their followings by means of practical instances and living examples on doing these deeds. In fact this conduct of theirs made very lasting impacts on their disciples and fans who, in turn, got inspiration and zest to follow in their footsteps.
Notwithstanding the shortcomings, weaknesses and various malaises, which had regularly been fought against by the reformers of the Ummah, the Islamic society is still more distinguished and far superior than any other society in the deeds of compassion and commiseration, charity and benevolence.
Thanks to Islamic precepts, the spirit of mutual commiseration, assistance and sympathy has penetrated deep into its veins and arteries. Compared to other societies, the Islamic one is most free from the bondage of materialism and worship of stomach. Moreover, there has never been any dearth of such members as have been raising the banner of revolt against materialism and want to bring it within the control and range of influence of Islamic moral values.
It is only its ensuing effect that the ratio of trade rivalry and competition, individualistic and personal egotism and mammon-worshipping is lowest in it compared to those societies which do not believe in any life after the present one, have no other objective in life than pursuit of pleasure and comfort, and running frantically, head over heels, after illusionary, economic ideals.
It is, notwithstanding its today’s shortcomings and weaknesses, a peculiar, distinctive feature of the Islamic society. It has, therefore, more opportunities available with it, than any other society in the world, for practicing the social justice and loftier human values. It is basically because of the respect it has, in some degree or other, for the Islamic way of life and the in-faith bondage that exists in it and has got all its pieces linked to each other in a string.
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