The lives of our elders were modeled on those of the illustrious companions and the good character that was found in them was consciously imitated by our pious predecessors. A similar account can be found in Tabaqat ibn Sa’d about the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) companion Salman Farsi (May Allah be pleased with him)
In the caliphate of Hazrat Umer, (may allah be pleased with him) Salman Faarsi was appointed governer of Madain, and remaining true to what he learnt from the Prophet (peace be upon him) lived a meagre existence.
Once he was strolling the streets of Madain, as the commoners did, when a trader from Syria walked over. Thinking he was a lowly labourer, the trader ordered Hazrat Salman to pick up his baggage and without any hesitation he hoisted it on his back and followed the trader to where he wanted.
When the inhabitants of Madain saw their governor like this, they immediately rebuked the Syrian trader saying ‘this is the Amir of the city’. Surprised and ashamed, he began to apologise and sought to take the load from Hazrat Salman but he refused saying ‘no, I have made the intention to perform a good deed so I will see it through to the end’ and did not stop till he took the baggage to the traders desired place.
Maulana Muzaffar Hussain (ra) of Kandhla (India) once was journeying to a place and on the way he met an old man who was struggling with his luggage and had put it on his back. Immediately he took the burden from the old man and carried it with him to his destination. The man asked him where he was from, and he answered ‘I am from Kandhla’. Hearing this the old man said ‘Oh so do you know that great saint Muzaffar Hussain, he is so devoted and righteous, such a great man…’ and he went on like this for quite some time. Maulana simply answered ‘hmm well I don’t really think he is that wonderful actually, but yeah he reads his salah’. The old man was quite affronted by this, saying ‘You can’t say that about such a pious man, no, no he is truly great’ but the Maulana merely replied ‘No…I am telling you the reality’, angering the man even more. A passer-by stopped to see why the he was so outraged, and immediately recognised Maulana Muzaffar. He told the old man ‘Uncle, this is Maulana Muzaffar Hussain’ at which he fell to the Maulana’s feet weeping. Tears came to the Maulana’s eyes as well, and he consoled him kindly.
(Hikayat Auliya, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi)
(Courtesy of Beneath the Shade)