These are the words that were uttered by Hadrat Hammad bin Salamah May Allah have mercy on him, when people informed him that the governor of Basrah Mohammed bin Sulayman wanted to ask him a certain question. He was then approached by a messenger from the governor’s office. A person admits that, “When I entered the house of Hammad, I saw that he was sitting on a straw mat and reading the Quran. On one side of the room, there was a small chest in which there were some books and on the other side there was a small container which was used to fetch water for making Wudu. This was all that I saw in his room. There was nothing else which I could see that he owned”.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and he asked his wife to go and see who was knocking. She returned and informed him that a messenger from the court of Mohammed bin Sulayman was at the door and had brought a message from the governor himself. He gave permission to this messenger to enter his room. He then handed the official message from the governor which read, “May Allah azza wa jall allow you to enjoy that blessed morning which He allows His friends and obedient servants to enjoy. There is an issue which has appeared and which I wish your guidance on. Please be kind enough to visit the royal court so that I can hear your verdict. was salaam.”
The messenger was under the impression that Hadrat Hammad would immediately accept this invitation as many other Islamic scholars had done before. However, Hadrat Hammad looked at me and instructed me to write on the other side of this message, his own answer which read as, “May Allah azza wa jall also allow you to enjoy those mornings which He blesses His friends and the pious with. My eyes have also seen those eminent Ulama who have never gone to anyone. If you have any issue which you wish clarification on, then please come here and ask those questions. Also, please do not bring your army or other members of your court. I am only prepared to advise you and you alone.”
When this reply reached the court of Mohammed bin Sulayman, he was highly impressed by the honesty and dignity of this Islamic scholar. He then immediately went to the house of Hadrat Hammad to inquire about certain questions he had. He also felt that he needed to visit the houses of those Ulama through whom the heart is cleansed and the rust which one suffers from internally could be cleansed.
Again there was knock on the door and Hadrat Hammad asked his wife to see who it was. She replied that it was the governor Mohammed bin Sulayman. He asked whether he had come alone and only then did he allow him to enter. When the governor entered the room he was awe struck and it was as if he was entering a royal court himself. The governor was also confused at the extreme fear and awe he was feeling. He then sat respectfully in front of Hadrat Hammad as a simple person would do.
He then asked Hadrat Hammad, “Sir, what is the reason that when I see you, I feel this immense fear and awe?” Hadrat Hammad replied with great authority, “When a scholar of Islam searches for the Pleasure of Allah azza wa jall through his knowledge, then his personality and awe becomes established on everything. And if he uses this knowledge to acquire wealth, then he begins to fear everything around him.”
Mohammed bin Sulayman remained silent and thought in his heart that the great scholar had certainly spoken the truth. If knowledge is coupled with sincerity, then the power of a government is nothing compared to this. The power of Ulama will remain until that time when they use their knowledge to seek the Divine Pleasure of Allah azza wa jall and if they use this knowledge to seek the wealth of this world, then the hearts of people would no longer fear them. While he was leaving, he also presented a small gift to the great scholar which he refused to accept.
(From the pen of Shaykh Sayyed Muhammad Saleh alaihir Rahmah)
Who were these people?
Hammad bin Salamah bin Dinaar was one of the foremost Islamic scholars of his era. He was also a citizen of Basrah and his title was “Abu Salmah”. He was a great Mufti and a great authority on Ahadith and he was also considered as one of the authentic narrators of Hadith. He was also very severe on those who deviated from Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah. He passed away in 167 a.h.
Mohammed bin Sulayman Abbasi was a governor of Basrah during the reign of Mahdi and was then removed from his post. Harun Rashid had him reinstated and he also married the sister of Harun Rashid named Abbasiyah binte Mahdi.
Commenting on this story, Hazrat Shaykhul Hadeeth Allamah Abdul Hakeem Sharaf Qadri – alayhir Rahmah – writes:
This was the beauty of that era that despite possessing no wealth and living in poverty they were so content. They never stretched their hands before the rich for their personal gain but when they did it was to fulfil the need of the Muslim Ummah. They strived for Allah’s pleasure through their knowledge and had no intention of getting involved in Dunya and its luxuries. It was for this reason that the rich and powerful had to go to their door and Allah Almighty had blessed them with more power and authority than any ruler of kingdom could ever have.
Imam of Ahlus Sunnah Alahazrat Rahimahullah writes:
کروں مدح اہل دول رضا پڑے اس بلا میں مری بلا
میں گدا ہوں اپنے کریم کا میرا دین پارہء ناں نہیں
Allah forbid that I ever into the habit praising the rich for their pleasure
I am the beggar of my merciful (Prophet’s – sallAllahu alaihi wasallam – door) and my religion is to be compromised for a piece of bread!