The Eight Pillars of Piety
It is related of the great saint and scholar Sheik Shaffiq Balkhi that one day he asked his disciple and pupil by the name of Hatim Asam, as to what had he learnt during the long time he had been with him? The pupil gave out a terse reply and said, "Only eight precepts." The revered master was taken aback and felt greatly shocked both by the audacity of his pupil and the paucity of his learning. He lamented over the precious time that had gone waste but, controlling his feelings, asked him to enumerate the "eight precepts." The pupil then proceeded to explain the precepts one by one and this is what he said:-
1. Observing the multitude of peoples and their loved ones, I have come to the conclusion that one should hold GOOD DEEDS to be the dearest of dear ones, for unlike others they never part company not even after death.
2. With constant concentration over the verse of the Holy Qur'aan, I have come to learn that SELF CONTROL is the most covetous course for one to pursue as it ensures highest returns and rewards both herein and hereafter.
3. Looking at worldly men and their practice of entrusting their valuables to safe hands, I have come to believe that valuables would be in the safest hands if entrusted to Allaah. Hence DEDICATION TO ALLAAH has been the highest of my ambitions for it is the only means to achieve the objective in view.
4. A look at the social order indicated to me that one's respectability depended on name and fame. I turned to Qur'aan and found that FEAR OF ALLAAH was the basis of true respectability. It has therefore been my constant principle to ensure the noblest of character and to merit the highest of esteem.
5. While in the company of men, I found them to be jealous of each other. I have decided to part company with them and to put my faith in the WILL OF ALLAAH for it helps me to shut out all jealous thoughts.
6. I have seen people more often than not, going against each other, even restoring to murderous attacks. I turned to God for guidance and came to know that Satan was the worst enemy of man and he in fact deserved all the wrath. I have thus become aware of the AMITY and it has been my constant endeavour to ensure love for all and enmity for none except the Satan.
7. My daily experience has shown me that man is most solicitous of his livelihood. He would even degrade himself by trespassing into prohibited limits. Turning to Qur'aan I found that God has assured every one of his rightful means of sustenance. I have therefore, decided to devote myself to the SERVICE OF ALLAAH to be free from worldly worries.
8. It did not take me long to discover that everyone had something to depend upon - some had landed property, others were engaged in trade and industry, there were still others who relied on their physical prowess. I looked to God and was reminded of the Qur'aanic verse that one who places his trust in God, He does indeed sufficeth him. So I have decided to place all my TRUST IN ALLAAH.
Having heard his pupil's learned discourse, Sheikh Balkhi was overjoyed and exclaimed:
"O Hatim! It is the sum total of all the knowledge contained in the Divine Scriptures from Torah to Qur'aan."
(Courtesy: Yaqeen International)