Hajj, Symbol of Obedience to God (2)
On the occasion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the huge worldwide gathering of Muslims of different countries, diverse ethnicities, various skin colours and speaking a variety of languages, we have prepared for you some short accounts in this regard to be broadcast daily. Yesterday we presented to you the first episode, and here is the second.
The Hajj pilgrims had assembled in Mena. Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), was sitting in a corner with his companions and eating grapes placed before them.
A beggar appeared and asked for alms. The Imam took some grapes to give him, but he refused to accept it and asked for money. The Imam told him to excuse him as he did not have money at that time with him. The beggar went away disappointed.
After going a few steps he had second thoughts, came back and asked for the same grapes. The Imam now politely gave a negative answer to him, although the grapes were there.
Soon another beggar appeared and asked for alms. The Imam took some grapes and gave them to him. He accepted the grapes eagerly and said: Thanks to the Lord of universe Who gave me my sustenance.
On hearing these words of gratitude to the Lord Most High, the Imam told him to wait and gave him two handfuls of grapes.
The beggar thanked God for the second time. The Imam again told him to wait and then turning to one of his friends asked: How much money is with you? The man searched his pockets and produced nearly twenty dirhams which he gave to the beggar at the order of the Imam.
The beggar thanking God for the third time said: Thanks are exclusively to God. O God! Thou art the Bestower of the good, and Thou hast no companion.
On hearing these words, the Imam took off his cloak and gave it to the beggar. Now, the beggar changed his tone and expressed a few words of thanks to the Imam himself. Then the Imam did not give him anything and the beggar went away.
The disciples said to the Imam: We thought that had the beggar continued thanking God in the same manner as before, you would have continued giving him more and more.
Yes, Imam Sadeq (AS) would have certainly continued to give the beggar more and more things if gratitude was exclusively for God. But since the beggar changed the tone and instead of praising God Almighty, he thanked the Imam himself for having given him the cloak, the Imam politely smiled without giving anything more, and the beggar went away.
In a related incident, a person on returning from Mecca after performing the Hajj pilgrimage, related his adventures to Imam Ja’far Sadeq (as). He was most impressed with one of his companions of the Hajj pilgrimage, and was praising him, saying: “What a gracious man, we were so blessed to have him with us, he was busy praying and worshiping all the time. As we would stop somewhere, he would rush to a corner and start prayers.
The Imam said: Then who was attending to his duties? Who was watering and feeding his mount (the animal he was riding during the journey)?
The Hajj pilgrim replied: Of course, we had the honor of doing all that for him. He was busy in his sacred quest, and had nothing to do with such mundane things.
The Imam said: Then indeed, you all are better than him.