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On the Importance of Single-minded Devotion

The three persons mentioned in it were, perhaps, the followers of an earlier Apostle and the holy Prophet has related the parable for his own followers to draw a lesson from it. A few noteworthy features of the deeds narrated above are:

Firstly, as it is clearly stated in the report as well, all the three acts had been performed solely for the sake of God and for earning His good pleasure, and it was for that reason that the men had placed them before the Almighty and beseeched Him for mercy.

Secondly, the deeds offer a marvelous example of subordinating one’s desires to the will and command of the Lord. Just imagine, how severe is the struggle of the first man, mentioned in the parable, against the urges of the self. He has been grazing cattle, throughout the day, in the jungle, and returns home late in the evening, tired out, and fatigued. He will, naturally be wanting to go to bed soon. But since his parents have fallen asleep without taking the milk, he feels that the pleasure of the Lord lies in giving them the milk when they wake up, and spends the whole night standing by the bed-side, with the milk-vessel in his hand. His children cry due to hunger at his feet, but he gives priority to the right of the parents, and to the good pleasure of the Lord, and willingly restrains himself from giving the milk to his children before he has fed the aged parents with it, until it is daybreak.

The same quality is evident from the deed of the second man. He is passionately in love with a girl and when a large amount of money is settled between them as her charge for the sexual act, and he has also paid it and is about to fulfill the greatest desire of his life, the Name of God comes in at that very moment, and, out of the fear of God and eagerness to earn His good graces, he stands up and leaves the girl alone. Now, anyone who is not altogether dead to the cravings of the flesh can imagine what it means and what a glorious instance of subduing the carnal self for the sake of God does it offer.

The case of the third man, too, is identical. A labourer leaves behind a few seers of paddy with him. He sows it on his land, and regarding the crop it yields to be the property of the labourer, saves it back year after year and invests the money in some other business as well until he acquires a whole herd of cattle. When, however, the labourer returns after a long time, the honest and trustworthy bondsman hands over to him the entire wealth he had earned by the sweat of his brow and careful planning. What temptations would the Devil not have thrown in his path? How would he not have tried to induce him to keep the property he had, thus, acquired with himself, and of which the labourer had no knowledge? But the bondsman stood firm against all the inducements of the Devil and his own baser self, and handed over the whole property to the poor labourer out of the fear of God.

Besides, an additional peculiarity of all the three acts is that none of them belongs to the class and category of traditional worship. One is related to Mu’ashirat (Social Conduct), one to Mu’amilat (Monetary Dealings), while the special feature of another – the second deed – is that a bondsman abstained from a sin wholly for earning the countenance of the Lord although it was the ruling passion of his life and he had also made the necessary arrangement.

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