Better to Give

A young man, a student in one of the universities, was one day taking a walk
with his Professor. The professor was commonly called the ‘student’s friend’,
from his kindness to those who waited on his instructions.

As they went along, they saw lying in the path a pair of old shoes. They belonged to a poor
man who was employed in a field close by, and who had nearly finished his day’s
work. The student turned to the professor, saying: “Lets play a trick on this
man.” “We will hide his shoes and hide behind those bushes there and see what he
does when he cannot find them.”

“My young friend,” answered the
professor, “we should never amuse ourselves at the expense of the poor. But you
are rich, and may give yourself a much greater pleasure by means of this poor
man. Put a coin in each shoe, and then we will hide ourselves and watch how this
affects him.”

The student did so & they both hid nearby. The poor man
soon finished work & came out of the field to where he had left his coat
& shoes.

While putting on his coat he slipped his foot into one of
his shoes, but feeling something hard, he stooped down to feel what it was, and
found the coin. Astonished and full of wonder he gazed upon the coin, turned it
around, and looked at it again and again.

He then looked around him on all sides, but no person was to be seen. He now put the money into his pocket,
and proceeded to put on the other shoe; but his surprise was doubled on finding
the other coin.

His feelings overcame him; he fell upon his knees, looked
up to the heavens and uttered aloud a fervent thanksgiving in which he spoke of
his wife who was sick and helpless, and his children without bread, whom this
timely bounty, from some unknown hand,would save from perishing.

The student stood there deeply affected, and his eyes filled with tears. “Now,” said
the professor, are you not much better pleased than if you had played your
intended trick?”

The youth replied, “You have taught me a lesson which I
will never forget. I feel now the truth of these words, which I never understood
before: “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said that encouraging good,
prohibiting evil, lifting the burden of the weak person and removing an
offensive thing from a path are all acceptable prayers to Allah. [ibn Majah]

The Pious Man and the Shopkeeper

There lived a pious man all by himself, who spent most of his time in
praying, fasting and praising Allah. Almost all his waking hours were utilised
in meditation and devotions. He was very happy with his spiritual progress. No
wicked thoughts came to his mind and no evil temptations entered his heart.

One night, he dreamt a rather disturbing dream. He saw that a shopkeeper in
the town was far superior to him in spirituality and that he must go to him to
learn the basics of true spiritual life. In the morning, the pious man went in
search of the shopkeeper.

He found him busy with his customers, selling goods and collecting money with
a cheerful face. He sat there in a corner of the shop and watched the shopkeeper
carefully. No signs of any spiritual life at all, he said to himself. His dream
could not be true. But then he saw the shopkeeper disappear to pray his

When he returned, he was busy dealing with money matters again. The
shopkeeper noticed the pious man sitting in the corner and asked: “As Salamu
Alaikum, would you like something, brother?” “Wa Alaikum As Salam. Oh! No! No!”
said the pious man. “I don’t want to buy anything, but I want to ask you a

He then related his dream. “Well, that is very simple to explain,” said the
shopkeeper, “but you will have to do something for me before I answer your
question.” “I will do anything for you,” replied the pious man. “All right! Take
this saucer; there is some mercury in it.

Go to the other end of the street and come back fast within half an hour. If
the mercury falls out of the saucer, you will hear nothing from me. There you go
now.” The pious man took the saucer and started running. The mercury nearly
wobbled out of the saucer. He saved it just in time, and slowed down.

Then he remembered he had to return within half an hour, so he started
walking at a fast pace. At long last he returned puffing and panting. “Here is
your mercury, safe and sound,” he told the shopkeeper. “Now tell me the true
interpretation of my dream.”

The shopkeeper looked at the pious man’s weary condition and asked him:
“Well, friend, how many times did you remember Allah while you were going from
this end of the street to the other?” “Remember Allah!” exclaimed the pious man.
“I did not remember Him at all.

I was so worried about the mercury in the saucer.” “But I do remember Him all
the time,” said the shopkeeper. “When I am doing my business, I am also carrying
mercury in a saucer. I am fair, honest and kind to my customers. I never forget
Allah Ta’ala in my dealings with other men.”

“Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the
remembrance of Allaah (with heart and tongue) nor from performing As‑Salaah
(Iqaamat‑as‑Salaah) nor from giving the Zakaah. They fear a Day when hearts and
eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of
Resurrection). That Allaah may reward them according to the best of their deeds,
and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allaah provides without measure
to whom He wills” [Al Quran, Surah an-Noor 24:37-38]