The story of a rich King who died hungry

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Summary of Maulana Shaykh Nazim’s daily Suhbahs

10th April 2010, Saturday

The story of a rich King who died hungry

A’uzubillah himinash shaitan nirrajeem

Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem

Assalamu’alaikum wrh wbkt

  • Mawlana greeted the attendees with Assalamu’alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh repeatedly, as such recitations brought heavenly blessings like the falling rain. It is such heavenly provisions that is keeping us going, though we often mistakenly believe that it is the material food we eat that is doing so.
  • He then recited Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem, as that was the sign of Islam, for whosoever recited Bismillah-hir Rahman-nir Raheem, had entered the Circle of Islam. Mawlana advised attendees to kick Shaytan out of their lives with A’uzubillah himinash shaitan nirrajeem, since they were seeking Divine knowledge to illuminate both their worlds, in order to attain good tidings in dunya and in akhirah. Those who absented themselves from suhbahs, and those who got angry when advised about the truth – they were those enveloped in darkness, filth and Fire.
  • Never think that we are actually alive due to the nourishment that we attain from food and drinks. Man does not exist on that, his strength is not derived from food. After all, he is a creation of Allah – living, surviving and growing by the Will and Power of Allah. Man, together with all other creatures, exist under His Power. We cannot exist without that Divine connection, it is He who keeps us alive. Each human being who is alive on this Earth, has a star in space that exists for as long as that person is alive, it is via that Star that he draws Divine nourishment that keeps him alive.
  • Then why do we eat and drink in dunya? Allah gave us eating and drinking in dunya, as a Mercy from Himself, as it is a means of pleasure and enjoyment, relished by our physical bodies. In fact, it is one of dunya‘s greatest pleasures, Man truly enjoys eating and drinking.
  • In reality, Allah has created us as creatures who do not need to eat a lot to survive, but because we enjoy it so much, and because we believe that it is food that gives us energy and heath and growth and development – we keep eating and eating, seeking delicious and nutritious food, right till our last days on Earth! Mawlana says that we must know that food is actually a source of worldly pleasure only, the real strength and energy is Divinely sent. Real power comes from the heavens above!
  • To prove this point, Mawlana tells us to look at a parched and thirsty man. He may be so close to death, but once he finds a cup of water, and drinks it, he is up and about, smiling and energized – just seconds after drinking that cup of water. Do you really believe that the water provided energy, rejuvenation and strength within those few seconds? Similarly, a starving man, so weak and disoriented, once given some soup, perks up and is revitalized, immediately after eating. We all know that scientifically, food takes 3 to 4 hours to pass through the intestines for complete digestion and absorption of the digested food – so how did this half-dead man come to life, a mere five minutes after eating?
  • Clearly, all food and drink are but a waseelah (medium/means) or asbab (cause/means), the means by which we get energy, the worldly reason by which we gain strength, as this world is a world of cause and effect (asbab). Man’s real strength, growth and development are Divinely sent, and it reaches us via our Star in the heavens. There is the special star that appears when we are born, and it disappears at the moment we leave this Earthly realm. Only the Children of Adam are given this special honour.
  • When Sayyidina Adam (as) was expelled from Paradise and sent to Earth, he was very dejected. He isolated himself in deep reflection, and did not eat or drink for forty days. Look, said Mawlana, Sayyidina Adam (as) survived for forty days without food or drink, with no ill effects – it is a further proof that Man can survive without physical food. In that time, Sayyidina Adam (as) just sat despondently, staring at his star in the sky. If Allah had not moved him, he could have easily sat there for fifty years, without food or drink, staring at the sky.
  • Angels have lived for millions of years – without food or drink. Where do they get their energy and strength? They have a complete dependence on Allah, from whose grants they acquire all their abilities. Similarly, the Prophets have a 100% belief and dependence on Allah, so unlike us, they do not depend on health supplements and various medications. They stand on haqq (Truth), they stand for haqq, hence Allah sends heavenly 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 being – not the material being – that is really alive.
  • These are things that are seldom taught by those who only have book-knowledge, for they are not privy to such secrets. Change your mindset from now on, Mawlana said, do not feel a dependence on food and drink for your physical sustenance anymore. Instead, look to the heavens – your own star in particular – to understand what Allah has prepared for you here.
  • Why is this dependence on material food unhealthy? Dependence on food and drink is a thick veil (hijab), as the desire or dependence or even a yearning for any material aspect of life (in this case food and drink), is a veil that keeps you apart from your true self. In order to advance beyond these veils, we must nurture our souls, we must develop our spiritual beings, not our material beings. We are in a time now where Man is in dire need of such teachings, for once he knows that his real strength is not derived from food and drink, he will then aim to develop his spirituality, as a means of drawing closer to Allah.
  • Unfortunately, since such teachings are not propagated, Man ignores his spiritual development completely. Shaytan then ties him to dunya, so that day and night, Man seeks dunya- he seeks the riches of this world, good food and entertainment. Shaytan urges Man on, “Keep working, till your last ounce of energy, collect more and more of dunya.” What is the point of collecting more and more of this worldly riches? Learned ones must preach to their flocks and awaken them from their heedlessness, teach them that Allah did not create them for such a purpose.
  • Mawlana began telling a story of a Jewish man who had found some treasure. Before going on, he mentioned two points of note. Firstly, it is good to use parables and stories when teaching, for they help to make a lasting impression on attendees. Allah Himself uses so many parables and stories in the Holy Qur’an. However, some modern day intellectual lecturers on Islam feel that using such a method of teaching is childish and unprofessional; they prefer to drone on egoistically about technical data and hypothetical analysis, sending their students nodding off into slumberland. “We are not story-tellers,” they say, “we are doctors of Shariah!” Their method of teaching is not the way! They must follow the Qur’anic model of using parables/stories – for each story conveys a moral lesson in a memorable way. That is why Allah asked us to relate these stories, and to ponder over the parables/stories in the Qur’an.

“So relate the story; perchance they may reflect.” (Surah Al-A'raf 7:176)

  • Secondly, some Muslim 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 did not use more ‘Arab’ examples and stories. MasyaAllah, these scholars even question Allah! Mawlana says that thousands of Prophets were Jewish, they had a very long history, so for sure the Qur’anic stories will contain many Jewish examples. We cannot be against any race/religion, the Jews are also the Children of Adam, we must treat them as our brothers, they are also descendents of Sayyidina Ibrahim (as), and 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 39:27)

  • Now back to the story of the Jewish man who found a hoard of treasure. “I am so blessed,” said the man, as he opened the treasure chest. He was overjoyed when he saw the contents of the chest, he found 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 has found this treasure, this treasure used to belong to me when I was King. I was a rich King, so much land was under my rule, and I had many subjects. Allah had given me generously from His bounties, but I was not thankful, I never once said, ‘Oh My Lord, I am thankful to You.’ So Allah send 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, and 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, but despite making that offer to my subjects all day long, 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 – pearls, rubies, diamonds – and sent it to the town again. Still no one would take my basket in exchange for food, not even for one piece of bread. In desperation, for I was so hungry and thirsty, I crushed and ground some of my jewels, mixed it with my last glass of water, and drank it, hoping that, that ‘meal’ would remove my hunger and save my life. On the contrary, it hastened my death, and as I lay dying, I penned this letter that you are reading now, so that it would be a lesson for those who came after me, as the Lord’s Will is such.”
  • Take a lesson from this powerful parable. What is the benefit of worldly riches? Kings, presidents and rich people must be told parables like this, to lift the veils (of material wealth) from their eyes. From the sad demise of the King in the parable above, we must draw two lessons. Firstly, learn not to pin your hopes on your wealth or on any treasure that you possess or that you have collected from this dunya. Instead, pin all your hopes on Allah, be like the Prophets, who depend on Him, unconditionally. Secondly, always be thankful to Allah, be obedient to Him, strive to be His servant, and you will be safe in this world and the hereafter.

Fatihah.


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