Hazrat Imam Ibn Jawzi narrated in his book that there was a great teacher named Sheikh ShakiQaq al-Balkhi. One of his disciple, whose name was Hatim, appeared in the service of The Hatim Sheikh one day and the Sheikh asked his disciple :Hatim, how many years have you been coming to me ?
He replied: It has been thirty-two years since.
The Sheikh said, “What knowledge have you acquired from me in so many years?” Hatim thought for a while and then said, “Hazrat I have learnt eight problems from you all this time. They said , ” You have wasted my time and your time. You have learnt only eight problems from me throughout this period. He said, “I cannot misstate in hazrat.
The Sheikh said , Well , let me know about the eight problems you have learnt . Hatim said:
1۔ The first thing I learned was that When I saw the creation of Allah , I came to know that everyone loves somebody or the other. Everyone has a loved one, but when the beloved dies and goes to the grave, separation arises, so I made my beloved good and virtuous deeds so that when I die, this beloved goes to the grave with me. Don’t be separated.
2. Secondly, Sheikh , I have learnt from you : I’ve seen people who have something valuable they take care of it and protect it. Then when I read this verse in the Qur’an
مَا عِندَكُمْ يَنفَدُ ۖ وَمَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ بَاقٍۢ
“That what you have is going to end, and what Allah has is the one who will remain.”
So whatever i found valuable , I handed it over to Allah , that is , gave in the way of Allah , that it will be safe and avoid being wasted.
3۔ Similarly, the third thing I learnt from you is that when I considered this command of Allah,
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى
“He who fears to stand before Allah and restrains the desires of his soul, has made Paradise his abode.”
So I stopped following the self.
4۔ The fourth thing I have learned from you is that I have seen the tendency of the people in the world, in lineage, in wealth, in business, in all these things, while in these things there is never real happiness. Nor do they have real respect. I learnt in the Quran:
إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
“That the most honorable of you is the one who is pious.”
So I became pious so that I could be among the honorable.
5. Similarly, the fifth problem I learned from you,
I saw that people were jealous and envious of each other, on the other hand, I saw the command of Allah:
نحن قسمنا بينهم معيشتهم في الحياة الدنيا
“I have divided the sustenance of the people in this world, some less and some more.”
So I stopped being jealous of people about it and became content and agreed to Allah’s division.
6۔ The sixth thing I learned from you was that I saw people hating each other, then I saw the command of Allah.
إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا
” In fact, your enemy is the devil, so be hostile to him.”
So I left the people and made Satan my enemy.
7۔ Seventh, I have learned from you that I see people humiliate themselves in order to get sustenance, they use illegitimate and haraam means and thus disobey Allah. I read in the Qur’an:
وَمَا مِن دَابَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ رِزْقُهَا
“That there is no living creature on earth whose sustenance does not depend on Allah”
Then I convinced myself that I would receive the sustenance that Allah had ordained for me.
8۔ Similarly, in the eight thing I have learned from you is that I have seen God’s creation that everyone is dependent either on their wealth or on their position or on their business.
When I read in the Book of Allah:
وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
He said: “Whoever puts his trust in Allah, then Allah will suffice him.”
After reading this, I relied on my God and that was enough for me.
So, when Hazrat Sheikh Shafiq Balkhi heard this, he said, “O my dear disciple Hatim,
May Allah grant you success in all these matters. These eight issues have been summed up and in fact the essence of all the issues of life is present in these eight issues. We pray to Allah to grant us the ability to act after hearing the right thing.