Forbidden to look down on others
Tawaadhu’ (humility) was an outstanding attribute of Hadhrat Hasan. He considered himself inferior to everyone else. One day while walking along the bank of the river Dajlah he saw a Habshi (Abyssinian) with a woman and a wine-bottle. A thought crossed his mind:
‘This man cannot be better than me because he is with a woman and consuming wine.’
As the thought crossed his mind a boat with seven occupants appeared on the river. Suddenly the boat began sinking. Seeing the plight of the boat-people the Habshi dived into the water and safely brought out one person. He returned and brought out a second man. He continued his rescue until he had saved six people. Turning to Hadhrat Hasan, the Habshi said:
“If you are better than me, then save the seventh one. O Imaam (leader) of the Muslims! This woman is my mother. The bottle contains water. I am here to test you. I have seen that you have failed the test.”
Hadhrat Hasan now realised that the Habshi was a close servant of Allah appointed to test him (Hasan). He fell at the Habshi’s feet imploring:
“Just as you have saved the six persons from drowning in the sea, save me from the sea of egotism and deception.”
The Habshi: “May Allah brighten your eyes (i.e. spiritual eyes).”
Never again did Hadhrat Hasan regard himself better than any person. His state of humility reached such a pinnacle that once seeing a dog he supplicated:
“O Allah! Accept me by virtue of this dog.”
Junaid Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alayhi) saw a handsome young man, neatly dressed, begging in the masjid.
The thought came to Junaid Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alayhi): “A healthy young man, and wearing a good set of clothes, and yet he is begging?”
That night Junaid Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alayhi) had a remarkable dream. (One notes that persons in the class of such people are corrected very quickly by Allah Taala!) In the dream he saw a man approaching him and saying:
“Eat this meat!”
He placed a dead body in front of Junaid Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alayhi) who replied: “But this is a corpse! To eat it is haraam (forbidden)!”
Person: “0 Yes! To eat this is haraam! But when you were eating the flesh of your dead Muslim brother, that was not haraam?! ”
(Note: Speaking or thinking ill of others is termed as Gheebat, a sin whose severity is such that it has been likened by the Qur’an and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to eating the dead flesh of a person)
Junaid: “I never did such a foul thing”.
Person: “0 No? Let me ask you: does the Qur’an Shareef not state that one should not make gheebat, would any of you love to eat the flesh of your dead brother?”
Junaid: “Yes. The Qur’an shareef has stated thus.”
Person: “Well, then you have eaten!”
Junaid: “When did I do so?”
Person: “When you saw the young man begging, you brought the thought into your heart, A young handsome man, fit and healthy, yet begging.”
Did you imagine gheebat is only when you relate a persons fault to others, and when you think of the faults of others it is not gheebat? You deliberately brought his fault to mind”.
The person’s remarks had the desired effect. Junaid Baghdadi’s (rahmatullahi alayhi) heart was in turmoil, and in this anxious state his eyes opened from sleep. He got up, put on his clothes, and went out in search of the youth to ask his forgiveness.
(It has to be pointed out here that this compulsion of Junaid Baghdadi’s to set out in search of the youth to get his pardon, was a special state related to Junaid’s elevated status. Where the abused party is not aware, repentance to Allah alone, is sufficient.)
Approaching the river, Junaid saw a young man strolling along the river-bank and recognised him as the same youth he had seen in the masjid.
Junaid greeted him. “Assalamo alaikum.”
The youth replied: Wa alaikum salam.”
Without a pause, the youth continued, “Having seen a dream you have now come to ask for forgiveness! Without investigating, you jumped to conclusions: a fit young man, dressed in neat white clothes, and begging! You should, at least, have verified the facts first! How many days have I not spent without food. In spite of searching for work, I found no means. Is it not permissible, under the circumstances, for me to ask? As for these clothes that you see me wearing, they were handed to me Just this morning. Seeing externals only, you jumped to conclusions!”
(The youth was not just anybody. He was one who had some rank! It just goes to show that it is not only old people who attain high spiritual ranks. Nay. This youth had also reached an elevated stage, through ibadat (worship), taqwa (God consciousness), zikrullah (remembrance of Allah), abstention from sin and t’alluq m’allah (relationship with Allah).
The youth addressed Junaid Baghdadi (rahmatullahi alayhi) further:
“I had thought that you had attained a very elevated rank, but it appears that you still have some deficiency!”