The following stories were authenticated and original authors of these stories are also mentioned.
The Cobbler and the Scholar
Abdullah bin Mubarak (RA)was born in 726 AD to a Turkmen father and a mother from Khuarzim. His father was an adviser to a wealthy merchant and a tribes leader of Bani Hazala in the city of Hamadan. He is known for being a great traveler, a defender of the Muslim border at Ribat in North Africa and being a muhadith(one who collects Hadith and saying of the holy Prophet (SAW) and verifies their authenticity). This story is attributed to him. He was educated by scholars like Abu Hanifa, the founder of the Hanafi School of thought and Sufyan Al-Thawri.
One day Abdullah (RA) had a dream. He saw two angels flying over the Ka’abah, busy in a discussion. He heard one ask the other, “How many people came for Hajj this year?”
The angel accompanying him replied that six hundred thousand pilgrims arrived for Hajj.
The first angel then asked the question, “How many pilgrims had their Hajj accepted by Allah?”
The second angel replied “Had it not been for the Hajj of that cobbler in Damascus, there would have been some assessment of every Pilgrim’s effort. But due to the outstanding Hajj of the cobbler which was so dearly appreciated by Allah, that all the Hajj of the pilgrims were accepted by Allah this year.”
Then the first angel asked the other “Who is this cobbler in Damascus?”
The other angel replied, “His name is Ali bin Al-Mufiq.”
When Abdullah (RA) eyes opened that morning, he immediately went to search for the cobbler of Damascus. Reaching Damascus, he began to hunt for the cobbler, fervently asking everyone about a cobbler named Ali bin Al-Mufiq. The people at the central bazaar pointed him to the house outside the city. He entered the house and inquired for the man he had traveled great distances for. Without revealing much He asked Ali bin Mufiq of what special rite or ritual he had implemented at the Hajj he had performed this year? Ali replied, “Regrettably, I could not go to Hajj this year.” The scholar was taken aback, and he began to think if this was not the Ali bin Al-Mufiq he had not been looking for. The cobbler added, “I had wished to go for Hajj, as long as I can remember. I had been saving up for the travel expenses for thirty years, and finally this year I had enough. But for Allah, maybe it was never meant to be.” This intrigued the scholar, and he pressed and persuaded the cobbler into telling him the reason why he changed his plans.
The cobbler finally responded to the inquiry of the scholar and said, “One day, just before going to the Hajj I was with my neighbor, I felt a hesitation in his welcome but I went into his home anyway. After a while, I sensed that something that been bothering him and I asked if I could help. The neighbor then told me that there had been no food for him or his family for the last three days. He had been trying to get work at the market place but had to return home empty handed every time. I saw his children boiling reeds to drink and eat, so I went home, got the money for my Hajj and gave it to my neighbor. He thanked me graciously and asked Allah to fulfill my wishes. If only my neighbor had known that my wish was to go to Hajj with the money I had collected over thirty years.”
At that moment the scholar Abdullah bin Mubarak (RA) understood the matter and conveyed the glad tidings that not only his Hajj had been accepted in the realms of Allah, but also through his deeds he had also helped the Hajj of all other pilgrims become accepted by Allah.
The Water Cycle of Kindness – A trickle here, a shower there
This story is narrated by Ali, a friend who went to Hajj in 2014. The story below is in his words.
I was in Makah, in the Haram. The crowds at the Hajj and the lines to make wudu (ablution) really test a Muslim man’s patience. But patience is what we were there for – patience, peace and penance. Anyhow the line kept crawling, slowly. Every man moving out of the line, drenched in water was like a little assurance that my turn would come soon. Finally, I could see the taps, I was so eager to jump at the sinks and get it over with. The taps looked so shiny, but I was not thirsty, I was just trying to make wudu. I finally reached a sink and I made my niyah, I washed my hands, my mouth, my face and then my elbows. But then I realized that out of the excitement of reach a washing area, I had forgotten a problem I always had with sinks. I AM SHORT, and my feet can only go as far up in the air, to defy gravity and biophysics to reach the trickle of water and complete my wudu. As I was planning to unleash my inner gymnast and get my wudu done, a kind stranger offered me a water bottle. He pointed at my feet and I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I took the water bottle and began to wash my feet, completed my wudu and as courtesy would dictate, filled the bottle back up to return the bottle to the kind stranger only to find him nowhere around. My eyes kept on sweeping the area, I wanted to return the bottle, and give my thanks, but the crowd wanted me to move on. I came out of the washing area with a slight regret that I had not fully responded to the kind gesture of the stranger while standing in the holy of holies. Just then I saw a disabled man, alone in the line, moving his wheelchair by himself wanting to make wudu. He had reached quite far ahead on his own, but I knew he would have some problem performing the wudu by himself. I went back into the line, talked to the kind hearted people in front of him so they allow him to move ahead of the line on accounts of his disability and old age. I rolled him next to the sink, and after he performed the ablution on the upper part of his body I took the water from the same bottle that the kind stranger had given to me and poured it over his feet. As I turned around to roll the old man out, I saw the familiar face of that kind stranger. To my disbelief, the old man in the wheelchair was the father of the stranger. I felt I had done something right because I intended to. I felt that we as an Ummah are connected in an intricate web of kindness and giving. It’s not as obvious to most of us, but sometimes that connection just reveals itself and proclaims that it has been watching and has an intelligence on its own. Sometimes little events like these just, etch something warm but in an unreadable language, on your soul.