A Rich King Who Died Hungry

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.) on the 10th April 2010.

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) said greeting as-Salamu'alaykum brings Divine Blessings like falling rain.  It is Divine nourishment for the soul that keeps us going.  We often mistakenly believe that it is the material food we eat that does so.  He said reciting the Basmallah was the sign of Islam for whosoever recites it enters the Circle of Islam.  We must never think that we are actually alive due to the nourishment that we attain from food and drinks.  We do not exist on that.  Our strength is not derived from food.  We are Creations of Allah's (s.w.t.).  We cannot exist without that Divine Connection.

Why do we eat and drink in dunya?  Allah (s.w.t.) Gave us eating and drinking in dunya, as a Mercy from Himself.  It is a means of pleasure and enjoyment relished by our physical bodies.  It is one of dunya's greatest pleasures.  In reality, Allah (s.w.t.) Created us as being who do not need to eat a lot to survive.  Because we enjoy it so much, and because we believe that it is food that gives us energy, we keep eating and eating, right until our last days.  We must know that food is actually a source of worldly pleasure only.  Real strength and energy is Divinely Sent.  Real power comes from the Divine.  Look at a thirsty man.  He may be close to death but once he finds a cup of water, he is up and about, just seconds after drinking that cup.  Similarly, a starving man, weak and disoriented, once given some soup, is revitalised.  We know that scientifically, food takes three to four hours to pass through the intestines for complete digestion, so how did this man come to life mere minutes after eating?  Clearly, all food and drink are but a wasilah, the means by which we get energy, the worldly reason by which we gain strength.  This world is a world of cause and effect.  Our real strength is Divinely Sent.

Angels have lived for millions of years without food or drink.  They have a complete dependence on Allah (s.w.t.).  Similarly, the prophets have a complete dependence on Allah (s.w.t.).  They stand for Haqq, thus Allah (s.w.t.) Sends Divine strength to their physical bodies.  They had been endued with so much strength and abilities, they were even able to perform miracles, mu’jizat.  We must realise that it is the spiritual self, not the material self that is really alive.  These are not taught by those who only have book-knowledge for they are seldom privy to such secrets.  We must change our mindset and not feel a dependence on food and drink for physical sustenance anymore.  Instead, we should look to what Allah (s.w.t.) has Prepared for us here.  Dependence on food and drink is a hijab, as is dependence for any material aspect of life.  It keeps us apart from our true self.  In order to advance beyond these veils, we must nurture our souls.  We must develop our spiritual self, not our material self.  We are in a time now where humanity is in dire need of such knowledge, for once we know that our real strength is not derived from food and drink, we will all then aim to develop our spirituality, as a means of drawing closer to Allah (s.w.t.).  Unfortunately, since such teachings are not propagated, people ignore their spiritual development completely.  Shaythan ties them to dunya.  Day and night, people seek dunya.  What is the point of collecting more and more of this worldly riches?  The learned must preach to their flocks and awaken them from their heedlessness; teach them that Allah (s.w.t.) did not Create them for such a purpose.

Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) told a story of a Jewish man who had found some treasure.  Before continuing, he mentioned two points of note.  Firstly, it is good to use parables and stories when teaching, since they help to make a lasting impression.  Allah (s.w.t.) Himself uses so many parables and stories in the Holy Qur'an.  Some intellectuals may feel that using such a method of teaching is immature; they prefer to drone on egoistically about technical data and hypothetical analysis.  Their method of teaching is not the way.  We must follow the Qur'anic model of using parables for each story conveys a moral lesson in a memorable way.  That is why Allah (s.w.t.) asked us to relate these stories, and to ponder over the parables and stories in the Qur’an:

…so relate the story; perchance they may reflect. (Surah al-A’araf:176)

Secondly, some scholars avoid using Qur’anic parables, because so many of the parables are pertaining to the Jews.  They feel upset that the Qur’an is almost like a Jewish manual, and they question why Allah (s.w.t.) did not use more Arab examples and stories.  These scholars even question Allah (s.w.t.).  So many of the prophets were Jewish; they had a very long history, so for sure the Qur’an’s stories will contain many Jewish examples.  We cannot be against any race or religion.  The Jews are also the Children of Adam.  We must treat them as our brothers.  They are also descendents of Ibrahim (a.s.), so they are brothers to the Arabs too.  So many stories of the Children of Israel contain beautiful examples and lessons that we can learn from.

We have Put Forth for men, in this Qur’an every kind of parable, in order that they may Receive Admonition. (Surah az-Zumar:27)

Back to the story of the Jewish man, he had found a hoard of treasure.  He was overjoyed when he saw the contents of the chest – gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds – and a strange letter.  The letter had been written by a king who had lived many years before that.  The letter read as follows:

“Oh you who have found this treasure, this treasure used to belong to me when I was king.  I was a rich king, with much land under my rule, and I had many subjects.  Allah (s.w.t.) had Given me Generously from His Bounties but I was not thankful.  I never once thanked Him.  So He Sent down a trial over me.  My country was afflicted with a severe drought; not a drop of water was to be found anywhere, and one by one, people began to die from thirst and hunger.  I, too, was without much food or water.  I filled one basket with gold, and sent it to the town, asking to buy one morsel of food or a drink of water with it.  Despite making that offer to my subjects, no one would take my gold in exchange for food.  The next day, I emptied out the gold and filled that same basket with my most expensive jewels and sent it to the town again.  Still no one would take my basket in exchange for food, not even for a piece of bread.

In desperation, I crushed and ground some of my jewels, mixed it with my last glass of water, and drank it.  I was hoping that this meal would remove my hunger and save my life.  On the contrary, it hastened my death.  As I lay dying, I pen this letter you read now.  Let it be a lesson for those who come after me, as the Lord’s Will is such.”

What is the benefit of worldly riches?  From the demise of the king in the parable, we draw two lessons.  Firstly, we learn not to pin your hopes on our wealth in dunya.  Instead, we should pin all our hopes on Allah (s.w.t.).  We must be like the prophets who depend on Him, unconditionally.  Secondly, we must always be thankful to Allah (s.w.t.).  When we are obedient to Him and strive to be His servant, we will be safe in this world and the hereafter.


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