The Story of A Pot of Gold – A Precious Lesson

This is a story of an ancient time, before the birth of our Prophet, Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-. This beautiful story tells us the meaning of trustworthiness, self-restraining from anything that can harm one’s self (zuhd), honesty, and wara’, the scarce qualities to be found in man nowadays.

Al Imam Al Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him-, he said: The Messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said:

“A man bought a piece of land from another man, and the buyer found an earthenware jar filled with gold in the land.

The buyer said to the seller, ‘Take your gold, as I have bought only the land from you, but I have not bought the gold from you.’

The (former) owner of the land said, ‘I have sold you the land with everything in it.’

So both of them took their case before a man who asked, ‘Do you have children?’ One of them said, ‘I have a boy.’ The other said, ‘I have a girl.’ The man said, ‘Marry the girl to the boy and spend the money on both of them and give the rest of it in charity.’”

Verily, how beautiful is this story from the Messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-! In a time where everything is measured by materials and worldly interests. Even brotherhood is built upon materialistic beliefs. To Allah alone we seek protection.

In this hadith, the messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- narrated about the transaction of 2 pious man over a piece of land. The seller believed that the selling already included everything contained in that land, while the buyer insisted that the contains were not included in their transaction.

Both men insisted, and they chose to be wara’, refused to take or to spend anything from that gold, because it’s dubious status, is it lawful to them, or unlawful? They also did not haste to possess the gold, even they avoided it. Watch the sentence from the buyer, as he said: ‘Take your gold, as I have bought only the land from you, but I have not bought the gold from you.’

If this is our’s condition, each side would seek justification or evidences that he is the rightful over that gold. But this is not what we’re trying to tell through this story.

This hadith explained to us the nobility of their trustworthiness and their void of intention to acknowledge something which is not of their rights. Also, their honesty and self-restraining from unlawful things of the world, without any ambition to take over the dubious thing. Thus, their kind interaction was not only created bond of affection between them, but also created a new knot of marriage between their children, that united them into a family. Even more, the gold was not ousted from their big family. Allahu Akbar (Allah is The Greatest One)

It is obviously contrasted the reality of some people of today, who even says: “Even to seek for unlawful things is hard, what about the lawful ones?” Subhanallah.

Then, let us take a look at the saying of the messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- , in a hadith narrated from An Nu’man Ibn Bashir -may Allah be pleased with them both (he and his father) below:

“Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (unclear) doubtful matters (things). So whoever forsakes those doubtful (unclear) things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and whoever indulges in these (unclear) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allâh’s Hima (i.e., private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment.” (1)

While some of us take this matter of doubtful things with ease. Whereas the messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- had stated, that whoever indulges himself in the doubtful things, will likely to commit the unlawful deeds. One who has fell into doubtful things bravely, and carelessly, will likely to approach the illegal things and be brave to do so, thus he indeed fell into it.

The messenger of Allah -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- already mentioned this condition in another hadith:

“Leave what makes you in doubt for what does not make you in doubt.”

Which means, leave whatever makes you doubt, for things that make you certain, and you are sure that it doesn’t contains unlawful things. The illegal wealth will only vanishes blessings from it, invoke Allah’s wrath upon it, prevents the owner’ s duu’a from npbeing answered, and leads him to the hellfire.

No, this is not a fairytale, but a true story, that was told by Ash Shadiqul Mashduq (The Honest and be Justified) -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-, whom Allah the Exalted and Glorified told us about him -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-:

“Nor does he speak out of his desire.This is nothing but a revelation that is conveyed to him,” (The Star: 3-4)

The two men stepped away from the gold until a man came to them as a judge to decide upon their case. According to the scholars, the truth is the man was not a true judge, but they made him to decide upon their problem.

Their piety led them to find a learned man from the scholars to solve their problem. The seller argued that he had sold the land and everything within it, thus the gold was not his. While the buyer reasoned that he only bought the land, not the gold. The fear to Allah the Exalted and Glorified made them felt sufficient from taking the doubtful gold.

At last, came a decision that made all of them felt relieved, that is the marriage between a son of one of them and a daughter of the other one, and the newlywed’s fund were taken from the gold, thus strengthen the brotherhood of faith between the two pious family.

Also, take a lesson from the honesty and self-restraining attitude of the judge. He decided the solution for the problem without disadvantaging any sides and without taking any profit. If only he were a dishonest or greedy man, he would have made a decision that made the gold fell to his own side. The lesson that we could take from this story is a brief picture of trustworthiness, honesty, and self-restraining from unlawful things which are rarely found in our time today.

Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Salih Al ‘Uthaymeen in his explanations for the book Riyadush Salihin said:

The scholars have different opinions Regarding the ruling if someone sold his land to another, then the buyer found something in that land, whether it is from gold or other things, then the treasure is not automatically belong to the buyer due to his ownership of that land, but it belongs to the seller. If the seller bought it from another too, then the treasure belongs to the first man. Because a buried treasure is not a part of that land.

It is different with mine materials or dug-up things. For example, one bought a land, then he found in that land mine materials such as gold, silver, or iron, (copper, tin, etc). Then these things is parts of that land.

Another story that resembles the first one, occurred within this ummah. This story is very popular, and Allah know best.

Several centuries ago, at the end of the time of tabi’in (the students of the companions), on a street, at one suburb area of the city of Kufah, walked a young man. Suddenly he saw an apple fell from it’s stalk, glided out of a large garden. The young man stretched out his hand and picked the fresh-looking apple, then he ate it quietly.

The young man name is Thabit (Tsabit). He was just bit a half of it, and swallowed it, when he jolted. The apple is not his! How could he eat something which is not of his possession?

Finally, he restrained himself from the rest of the apple and he went to find the keeper of that garden. When he met him, he said,: “O the slave of Allah, I already ate half of this apple. Will you forgive me (because of his act- transl.) ?”

The keeper replied: “How am I to forgive you, while I am not it’s owner. The one rightful to forgive you is the owner of this apple garden.”

“Where is the owner?” Tsabit asked.

“His house is far, around five miles from here.” the keeper said.

Then he departed to see the owner of that garden to ask for his permission because he had eaten his (the owner’s) apple.

At the end, he came to the door of the garden owner. After he greeted him, and his greeting was returned, Tsabit, restlessly and scared, said: “O the slave of Allah, do you know why am I here?”

“No,” said the garden owner.

“I came to ask for your permission for the half of this apple of yours, that I found and I had eaten. This is the other half of it.”

“I wont forgive you, by Allah, unless you accept my condition,” he said.

Tsabit asked: “What is the condition, O the slave of Allah?”

The garden owner replied: “You must marry my daughter.”

The young man astonished and said, “Is it truly a condition? You forgive me, and I marry your daughter? This is a huge gift.”

The garden owner continued: “If you accept it, I forgive you.”

Finally the young man said: “Fine, I accept it.”

The garden owner said again: “I will tell you – so that you will not think that I am tricking you- that my daughter is blind, deaf, mute, and paralyzed, unable to stand.”

The young man once again was shocked. But what else can he do, since half the apple has been swallowed, where to find the replacement if the owner sue him to substitute it, or sue him in front of The Fairest Judge (Allah)?

“If you wish, please come after ‘Isya so that you can meet your wife,” the garden owner said.

The young man felt as if he was pushed in the middle of a violent war. He walked into his wife’s room heavily, and greeted.

Once again, he was extremely shocked. Suddenly he heard a sweet voice answered his greeting. A lady stood and shook his hand. The young man was still confused, because his father in law said that his daughter is a blind, deaf, mute, and paralyzed girl. But this girl? Who is she?

Finally, he asked her who she is and why did his father talked that way about his own daughter.

His wife asked him back: “What did my father say?”

He replied: “Your father said that you are blind.”

“By Allah, he did not tell a lie. Indeed, I never set my eyes upon something that is wreathed by Allah the Exalted and Glorified.”

“Your father said that you are mute,” the young man said.

“My father is right, by Allah. I never said a word that makes Allah The Exalted and Glorified angry.”

“He said that you are deaf.”

“Father is right. By Allah, I have never heard but everything that contains things that Allah the Exalted and Glorified pleases upon.”

“He said that you are paralyzed.”

“Yes. Because I never walked my feet but to places that Allah the Exalted and Glorified pleases upon them.”

The young man looked at his wife’ face, which is (beautiful) as the full moon. Not long, they gave birth to pious slave of Allah the Exalted and Glorified, who filled the world with his knowledge and his piety. The baby was named with Nu’man: he is Nu’man Ibn Tsabit Abu Hanifah, may Allah have mercy on him- which is known as Al Imam Abu Hanifah.

If only the youth of muslim of today imitate the young man Tsabit, the father of Al Imam Abu Hanifah. And if only the girls of muslim be as the mother, in her ‘blindness, muteness, deafness, and paralyzed state.’

That is the way pious men took view of this world. Is there anyone want to take a lesson?

And Allah is the The One Who gives guidance.


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