THE OPPORTUNITY OF WINTER
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Winter is a wonderful opportunity for the Mu’min. The nights are long, hence he stands during the night (i.e. performs ibaadat). The days are short, hence he fasts.” A Sage of Islam extolling the winter season said: “The night is long. Do not shorten it with your sleep. The day is glittering (but short). Do not contaminate it with your sins.”
Once Jahannum complained to Allah Ta’ala against the increasing heat because one portion was eating into another. Then the Rabb of the Worlds allowed it to have two breaths — one during summer and another during winter. Therefore the heat you feel is the effect of the heave of Jahannum (with it the breath is taken out) and similarly, the rigid cold you experience is the effect of the breath (taken in). [Bukhari]
Sometimes the lips tend to crack especially in
winter. Pound the seeds of an apple until it becomes a paste. Apply
to the lips before going to bed. By the morning, there will be a
MERCY – A CAUSE FOR SALVATION
One extremely cold wintery night a Buzrug came across a shivering kitten. It was clear to the Buzrug that the kitten would not survive in the extreme cold. Taking pity, he wrapped the kitten in his shawl. At home he wrapped it in a blanket. It was a deed done and forgotten. Many years thereafter the Buzrug died. After his demise, when he was ushered into the Divine Presence, he was asked: “What have you brought from the world?” The Buzrug replied: “Imaan.”
The Buzrug was shocked with fear when his Imaan was judged to be deficient. He had nothing to offer at that stage. Allah Ta’ala then said: “You shall be forgiven for a deed which had no significance for you. It is a deed which you did not dream would be the basis of your Najaat (salvation). On that cold night, you had taken pity on the kitten which was dying of the cold. That kitten had made dua for you. Its dua was accepted. Go! You are forgiven by virtue of the supplication of that kitten. You had shown mercy to one of My creatures. It is more befitting for Me to be merciful to you.”
In this episode and in many similar stories are profound lessons for those who brutally cause the deaths of billions of chickens – hanging them upside down, drowning them in electrified water, administering electrical shocks through their bodies, torturing them with haphazard neck-cutting, and plunging them alive in scalding waters. Those who halaalize such brutalities and those who support this cruel, vile industry by selling and consuming the murdered chickens, should reflect on this episode and the consequences of zulm.
Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) commented on this episode: “In the Hadith there are many episodes which emphasize the importance of the Mustahab acts. Many people were forgiven by Allah Ta’ala on the basis of a Mustahab act which is generally viewed with insignificance by the people.
A LESSON FOR HADHRAT ABU
Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan Daaraani (rahmatullah alayh) was among the famous Auliya of Allah Ta’ala. Hadhrat Ahmad Bin Hawaari (rahmatullah alayh) narrates:
“Once I accompanied Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan Daaraani on a journey to Makkah Mukarramah. Along the route I lost my water-bag. I became concerned of the prospect of being without water along the journey (which was through the desert). When I mentioned this to Hadhrat Daaraani, he made dua: “O Thou Restorer of Lost Things! Return our lost water-bag.”
Very soon thereafter in that desolate stretch of desert appeared a man with the water-bag in his hand. He was proclaiming: “Whose lost water-bag is this?” I identified the water-bag and took it from the stranger. We continued with our journey.
Not long thereafter we encountered intense cold. It was extremely cold. We donned our warm garments. Then we saw a man clad with only two old, thin shawls and he was perspiring despite the severity of the cold. Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan said to him: “If you wish, we shall give you warm garments.”
The man responded:
Heat and cold and everything else are the creations of Allah Ta’ala. If He commands, then both heat and cold will overwhelm me, and if He commands, both will bypass me. I have inhabited this wilderness for 30 years in this very same condition. I have never shivered in winter on account of the intensity of the cold nor perspired in summer because of the extreme heat.
During winter, the fire of my Love (for Allah Ta’ala) is my garment, and in summer He bestows to me the coolness of the Honey of His Love. O Daaraani! You are engrossed with garments while you have abandoned Zuhd (renunciation of the world). Therefore the cold distresses you. O Daaraani! You cry and scream. You derive solace from the cool breeze (in summer).”
Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan (rahmatullah alayh) then commented: “Besides this man, no one has recognized me.” (In other words, ‘He has understood my spiritual malady.’)
In this episode was a lesson for Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan Daaraani (rahmatullah alayh). When he had observed the quick Divine Response to his supplication for the water-bag, a trace of ujub (vanity/self-esteem) had developed. Ujub is a subtle and extremely dangerous malady which can ruin the greatest Wali.
Allah Ta’ala provides lessons, admonition and protection for His Auliya in many different ways. To protect him from the malady of ujub Allah Ta’ala linked him up with the Wali who had lived for 30 years in the wilderness without any physical ways and means for his rizq, clothes and shelter. Allah Ta’ala had cared for him in wonderful and miraculous ways. When Hadhrat Abu Sulaimaan saw his own spiritual condition in the mirror of this Wali’s rank of Divine Proximity, his own state appeared insignificant and contemptible. In this way Allah Ta’ala eliminated vanity from His Wali.
A DEVOTEE OF ALLAH
Once in mid-winter Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mubaarak
(rahmatullah alayh) saw an ill-clad slave in the
marketplace of Nishapur. The slave was shivering of the
cold. Hadhrat Ibn Mubaarak said: “Why do you not ask
your master to provide warm clothing to save you from
this suffering?” The slave smiled and said: “The
condition of this slave is not hidden from his Master (i.e.
Allah Ta’ala). He knows and sees my condition. I will
ask Him only if my condition is hidden from Him.”
Tears welled up in the eyes of Hadhrat Ibn Mubaarak.
He said: “O Slave! What a wonderful arrow of Divine
Love has struck you! I have learnt the Road (of Divine
Love) from you.”