Allah is Watching!
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was the son of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and was a very great Sahaabi. One day, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) went out of Madinah Munawwarah with some of his companions. After coming out of the blessed city, they wished to eat, and so they spread a dastarkhaan on the ground, sat down, and began to eat some food.
While they were eating, a slave happened to pass by. The slave was a shepherd, and he was looking after a flock of goats. As he passed Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and his companions, he greeted them with salaam. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied to the shepherd’s salaam, and then invited him to come and eat with them saying, “Come, O shepherd, come, and share in our meal!” However, the shepherd did not wish to eat as he was fasting.
When Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard that the shepherd was fasting, he said to him, “You are fasting on such a hot day, while herding goats in the mountains?” The shepherd replied, “We are informed that those who fast in this world – in the Hereafter, they will be given the food and drink of Jannah to enjoy.’”
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was happy with this answer, and since he wished to test the shepherd’s taqwa and piety, he said to him, “Why do you not sell us one of the goats from your flock? We will pay you for the goat, and we will also give you some of the meat to enjoy at the time of iftaar.” The shepherd immediately said, “I cannot sell you any of the goats as the goats do not belong to me! Rather, they belong to my master!”
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then said to the shepherd, “Why don’t you sell us the goat, and when your master asks you about the missing goat, you can tell him that it was eaten by a wolf? If you tell your master this, he will not know the truth and you will not get into any trouble!”
However, as soon as the shepherd heard this, he turned and walked away as he did not want to speak a lie, steal someone else’s wealth and commit sin. As he walked away, he said, “Then where is Allah?” When the shepherd said, “Where is Allah Ta‘ala?” he meant that when Allah Ta‘ala is watching me, and He knows everything that I am doing, then how can I lie to my master and steal his wealth?
When Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard this, he became extremely happy, as he saw that the shepherd slave was very pious and possessed true taqwa and the fear of Allah Ta‘ala. That is why when Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter returned to Madinah Munawwarah, he called for the master of the slave. He then bought the flock of goats from him, and also bought the slave from him. After buying the slave and the goats, he set the slave free and gave the flock of goats to him as a gift.
From this incident, we learn many important lessons. The first lesson is that we must have big hearts and should try to share our food with others. When Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) saw the shepherd, he immediately called him to eat with them.
The second lesson is that our main effort in life is to try to please Allah Ta‘ala by doing good deeds and earn our Jannah. Even though it was so hot and the slave had tiring and difficult work to do, he was still fasting, as he was hoping to earn his Jannah.
The third lesson is that we must not steal other people’s money or things, and we must not speak lies. Stealing and speaking lies is haraam in Islam. We can lie to people and hide the truth from them, but we can never lie to Allah Ta‘ala and hide the truth from Him. He will know what we have done and He may punish us for our sins.
The fourth lesson is that we must always remember and remind ourselves that Allah Ta‘ala is watching us. He knows everything that we are doing and even knows what we are thinking in our minds. If we remember that He is watching us at all times, then insha Allah it will be easy for us to stay away from sins and be good Muslims.
The final lesson is that when a person fears Allah Ta‘ala and leads a life of taqwa and piety, then Allah Ta‘ala takes care of him. In this incident, we see that when the shepherd spoke the truth and was honest, then Allah Ta‘ala made it such that he became free and was also given the whole flock of goats.