The Incident of Shaikh Ebrahim bin Muhammed Hilaali (rahimahullah)

The Incident of Shaikh Ebrahim bin Muhammed Hilaali (rahimahullah)

There was once a pious aalim, from the land of Syria, whose name was Shaikh Ebrahim bin Muhammad Hilaali (rahimahullah).

When Shaikh Ebrahim bin Muhammad (rahimahullah) was twenty-three years old, he left Syria and travelled to the land of Egypt to study deen and become an aalim. He remained in Egypt for twenty years, studying under the great Ulama of Egypt and benefiting from them.

It is mentioned that while Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was studying in Egypt, a time passed when he was very poor and had no money. Since he had no money, he was unable to buy any food, and two days passed in which he suffered from hunger and had nothing to eat. Eventually, he was so hungry that he came out from the madrasah and began to walk around, hoping to find something to eat.

While walking about, Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) entered a certain street and saw a double-story house with a big door. When he saw the size of the house and the size of the door, he realized that the owner of the house was a wealthy and rich person and would definitely have some food in his home.

Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) could not manage his hunger any longer, and since it seemed that there was nobody in the home at that time, he quietly entered the home and went to the kitchen. On coming to the kitchen, he found that it was filled with many delicious types of food.

Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was so hungry that as soon as he saw the delicious food, he stretched out his hand to take some food and eat it. However, as he was about to take the food, he remembered that the food did not belong to him. If he took the food without the permission of the owner, Allah Ta‘ala would be unhappy with him and he would be sinful.

As soon as this thought entered his mind, he pulled his arm back and did not take the food. But then, as he was about to turn away and leave, his stomach again burned with hunger, and he felt tempted to eat the food. In this way, Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) remained in the kitchen for some time, wanting to eat the food, but afraid of displeasing Allah Ta‘ala, until eventually, he turned and left the home without eating anything.

In the meantime, though Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) did not know it, the owner of the home had been there all along, in the upper story. He had seen Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) enter and was watching him through the window the entire time to see what he wanted. The owner had seen Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) enter his kitchen and stare at his food, and then the owner had seen that Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) had left without eating or taking anything.

Having seen this, the owner was curious and wanted to know why this stranger had come to his home and entered his kitchen, but left without doing anything. To find out the answer, the owner sent his servant to follow Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) and call him back.

When Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) returned, the owner asked him why he had come to his home and entered his kitchen, but did not take anything or do anything. Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) replied that he had not eaten for two days, and it was because of his extreme hunger that he had entered the home, looking for food. However, whenever he thought of eating the food which he found in the kitchen, he thought of Allah Ta‘ala, and his fear of Allah Ta‘ala stopped him from eating the food which did not belong to him.

When the man heard the story, he was impressed by the piety of Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah). Although Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was so hungry and had not eaten for two days, he did not want to eat the food that did not belong to him. The owner was also happy to hear that Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was studying the knowledge of deen and was becoming an aalim.

Since the owner of the home had a young daughter, he was looking for a pious man to be her husband – and he felt that Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was the perfect match. Though he was poor – he had piety and the fear of Allah Ta‘ala in his heart, and that was worth far more than money.

With this in mind, the owner of the home called the principal of the madrasah and some of his friends to his home, and since Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) was happy to marry the man’s daughter, the nikaah was performed.

From this story we learn that we must not take things that do not belong to us without permission. Taking things that do not belong to us is haraam and is regarded as stealing.

We also learn that when a person fears Allah Ta‘ala and stays away from sins, then Allah Ta‘ala looks after that person and blesses him with many gifts and favours. In this story, Shaikh Ebrahim (rahimahullah) did not eat the food that did not belong to him. Because he was patient and pious, Allah Ta‘ala thereafter got him married to the girl from that house. In this way, the food in that house became halaal for him, and Allah Ta‘ala also gave him a good wife.

The final lesson is that when we grow up, and it is time for us to get married, then we must make sure that the person we are marrying is a pious person. If they fear Allah Ta‘ala, they will be good to us and will help us to be pious as well. In this way, we will have a happy life in this world and in the Hereafter.

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