[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Ways to attain good Akhlaq (character) - Sharing a moral based story about good conduct
Whoever fears Allah, and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him(Surah Talaq- 65- verse-4)
The above verse mentions the method to walk out of a mess. The story below is from Bukhari, narrated by the Prophet ﷺ, which elaborates this method. Read this story like a school book and then note the lessons that it provides.
“Three persons of a nation before you, were on a journey when they were overtaken by a storm. They took shelter in a cave. A rock slipped down from the mountain and blocked the mouth of the cave. They were trapped in the cave. The heavy rain wiped out their foot prints, leaving no way for any help to reach them.
One of them said: “The only way for deliverance left is to beseech Allah ﷻ in the name of some virtuous deed.” Thereupon one of them supplicated, “O Lord, my parents were very old, I used to offer them their nightly drink of milk before my children and the other members of the family. One day I went off the right track, in search of green pastures and could return only after my parents had gone to sleep. When I had milked the animals and brought their nightly drink to them, they were fast asleep, but I did not like to disturb them, nor would give any part of the milk to my children and other members of the family till my parents had their drink. Thus, with the vessel in hand, I awaited their awakening, till the flush of dawn while my children cried out of hunger at my feet. When they woke up, they had their drink. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then do relieve us of the distress brought upon us by this rock.” Thereupon, the rock moved a little, but it was not enough to let them pass through.
Then, the second man supplicated: “O Lord, I had a cousin whom I loved more passionately than anyone can love a woman. I tried to seduce her, but she would have none of me, till in a season of great hardship due to famine, she approached me (for help) and I gave her one hundred and twenty Dinars on condition that she would have sexual intercourse with me. She agreed, and when we got together and I was just going to have intercourse with her, she pleaded: ‘Fear Allah, and do not break the seal unlawfully’; whereupon I moved away from her, despite the fact that I desired her most passionately; and I let her keep the money I had given her. O Lord, if I did this thing seeking only your pleasure, then remove the distress in which we find ourselves.” Again the rock moved a little, but not enough to let them pass through.
Then the third supplicated: “O Lord, I hired some laborers and paid them their dues, but one of them left, leaving behind what was due to him. I invested it in business and the business prospered greatly.” After some time, the laborer came back and said: ‘O servant of Allah, hand over to me my wages.’ I said to him: ‘All that you see is yours – camels, cattle, goats and slaves.’ He said: ‘Don’t joke with me, O servant of Allah.’ I assured him: ‘I am not joking.’ So he took all of it sparing nothing. O Lord, If I did this seeking only your pleasure, do relieve us of our distress.”
The rock then moved away, and all three came out of the cave, safe and sound.”
Now the lessons -
- The first story tells us how serving parents turned out to be a source for driving away calamity. Islam commands excellent conduct towards parents and at least in six places, the commandments are placed immediately after Islamic monotheism. It also gestures towards training your wife and children to respect your parents.
- The second emphasises the importance of chastity and virtue. Even when he had the chance to commit immorality, the fear of Allah stopped him, and this became a reason to escape calamity. Islam encourages modesty and virtue as parts of excellent conduct.
- The third story is about being honest in calculating the salary of the labourer, and handing him over his entire share honestly and willingly. In the story, the share of the labourer turned out be the entire property of that person, but he suppressed his need and honestly handed over his share. He did not even ask for his payment in taking care of his investment from his labourer, but handed over everything to his ex-labourer. This was because he wanted to be an honest person in the sight of Allah ﷻ.
- The fear of Allah’s punishment is one of the sources that directs people to show excellence and honesty, in their manners and dealings.
In the above stories, there are many lessons about love, care, affection, honesty and morality, which helped the three men to get out of the biggest life threatening situation. Such stories invite people towards goodness, and serve as motivation to attain good (akhlaq) conduct. They also become a source to help remove calamities in life.