Monday, January 23, 2012

Selfless or Selfish

Imam Sirr al-Saqati narrates:
— For thirty years I have been asking God's forgiveness for an Alhamdolillah (Thanks and praise be to God) which I uttered with joy thirty years ago. When asked if it was a sin to praise and thank God, Sirr al-Saqati explained:
— In the Mosque of Baghdad, even as I was teaching the Prophetic Tradition, 'The one who does not feel troubled because of the troubles of Muslims', a man came rushing in and said that a great fire had broken out in the Baghdad market burning all the shops to ashes, but adding: ‘Nothing has happened to your shop'. Glad that my shop had been saved from the fire, and not remembering that all the other shops had not, I happened to utter 'Alhamdolillah'. That was clearly a selfish act. While the shops of all other people were burnt, I should not have been rejoicing over mine being saved. It is for that selfish act of mine that I have been asking God's forgiveness for thirty years and praying to God that He may not make me a selfish one.
Sirr al-Saqati continued to repent of that act until his death. Before he died, he asked to be buried in a solitary place no one knew of, and explained why:
— It sometimes happens that earth throws out the dead bodies of some sinful ones so that the living ones may take a lesson. If I am a selfish one who does not feel troubled because of the troubles of other Muslims, the earth may throw me out. So [bury me some unknown place so that the people do not know me as one wicked and sinful to that degree. 

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