The Fighter & the Shaykh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There was once a fighter, who had immense strength and by nature he was a very fiery person.  One day, he decided that he wanted to learn from a shaykh, a teacher.  He when to the house of the shaykh to meet him, and told the shaykh that he wanted to be a student of his way.  The teacher accepted him as his student.

His first instruction to the fighter was to go to the market place and bash up a butcher.  On hearing this, the fighter was excited that he could continue to be a fighter and do what he does best.

So he went to the market and spotted the butcher, he got closer and struck the butcher square in his back, and this made the butcher fall forward because of the massive impact.  The fighter stood in guard, ready for a fight, expecting the butcher to get up and fight back.  But the butcher, merely turn his head, and looked at him with anger in his eyes, stood up and pick up the meat that fell on the ground and walked away.  This made the fighter pause.  He was slightly disappointed because he was hoping for some action.

The fighter went back to his shaykh and reported the event.  On hearing this, the shaykh nodded and instructed him to go out and hit another man.  The fighter noted the description and went out in search of this man.  After spotting the man, he punched him, and the man fell down.  The man stood up and continued walking in the same direction, without any reaction or facial expression.  The fighter moved closer and struck him again, but the man reacted just as before.  This confused the fighter, and he went back to the shaykh to report the second event.

The shaykh nodded silently, and gave the fighter a third instruction, to go to the field and look for an old farmer, and beat the old farmer.  The fighter went out again in search for the old man, ready to give him a good beating.  On seeing the old man who was busy ploughing, the field, the fighter when forward and struck him in his back.  The old man who was ploughing at a normal pace, started to plough faster, saying "al-Hamdulillah!  This must be from my Lord."

The fighter struck the old man again, harder this time, and the old farmer ploughed faster, and repeated the same, saying “al-Hamdulillah” each time.  This made the fighter irritated and angry, feeling that he was being mocked at, and he continued to strike this old man repeatedly, but the old man continued to repeat the same line, ploughing faster and faster until he practically completed ploughing the entire field.  But never once did he strike the fighter back, nor did he ask the fighter to stop what he was doing.  It was as if the fighter's presence and actions did not anger him one bit at all.  Instead it gave him more strength to finish his work, all this while exclaiming “al-Hamdulillah” and thanking Allah (s.w.t.) with all his heart.

The fighter gave up and when back to the shaykh to report the third event.  And on hearing this, the shaykh smiled and asked him if he wanted to know the wisdom of what he had experienced.  The fighter, who was already irritated, angry and fed up with the series of events, said, “Yes.”

The shaykh told him, the butcher, was his student, but he was only a beginner.  That was why he still had anger in his eyes when he was struck.  The second man was also a student.  He knew that he was being tested by Allah, so he did not react out of any anger.  Finally, the third man, the old farmer, was a murid.  He knew in his heart that everything that happens comes from Allah (s.w.t.); and since it comes from Allah (s.w.t.), it must be the best for him, so showed his gratitude to Allah (s.w.t.) by saying “al-Hamdulillah.”


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