Eight Lessons Learnt in 33 Years

Hatem Asem was the student of Shqiq Balkhi (a well known Muslim Scholor) for a considerable period of time Shaqiq Balkhi asked him, “How long have you been in my company?”

Hatem said, “For the last 33 years.”

Shaqiq enquired, “What have you learned from me during this period?”

Hatem said, “I have learnt only eight things.”

Shaqiq exclaimed, “You have learnt nothing except eight things?”

Hatem replied, “Yes, O dear teacher, I have learned nothing except eight things. I do not wish to speak falsely to you.”

Shaqiq said, “Describe those eight things to me. Let me hear them.”

Hatem began to describe them.

Good Deeds

“First, I looked around and beheld that every man has got an object of love and he lives with that thing, until his death. When he goes to the grave, it is separated from him. I pondered over the words of Allah, “We are from Allah and to Him, we shall return.” So I have made good deeds my object of love. When I will go to the grave my good deeds shall accompany me to it.”
The sage Shaqiq said, “O Hatem, you have done well.”


“Second, I have pondered over the words of Allah, “As for one who fears the Majesty of his Lord and refrains his soul from lust, Paradise is his resting place.” (79:40) I have come to know that the words of Allah are true. I have tried my utmost to suppress my lust and remained satisfied with obeying the injunctions of Allah.”


“Third, I looked around the people and found that everyone values what he possesses. Then I turned to the words of Allah: “What is with you will end and what is with Allah will last.” (16:98) Then I began to give unto Allah whatever valuable things fell into my hands.”


“Fourth, I looked around and saw that everyone puts his trust in his wealth and properties, his name and fame and his honor and glory and found that there is nothing in them. Then I looked towards the words of Allah: “The most honorable of you to Allah is one who is the most Allah-fearing among you.” (49:13) Then I intended to accept Allah’s fear in my life till I am honored by Allah.”


“Fifth, I looked around the people and found them slandering and cursing one another because of envy and hatred and then I looked towards the words of Allah: “It is I who distributed their subsistence among them in this world’s life.” (43:31) So I gave up envy and hatred and I realized that subsistence comes from Allah and then I disliked the people no more.”

Friend and Foe

“Sixth, I looked to the people and found them ungrateful to one another and even some of them kill others and then I looked towards the words of Allah: “The devil (Satan) is your foe and so take him as a foe.” (35:6). So I took the devil (Satan) as a foe and ceased to have enmity with people.”


“Seventh, I turned to the people and found everyone seeking his livelihood and for that debasing himself and committing unlawful things and then I looked towards the words of Allah: “There is no living creature on earth of which the provision is not upon Allah.” (11:6) Finding that I am one of the creations whose provision is upon Allah, I turned towards the duties prescribed by Allah and entrusted my fate unto Him.”


“Eight, I turned to the people and found that everyone placed his trust in something created, some in his wealth, some in his profession, some in his industry and some in the health of his body and then looked towards the words of Allah: “If a man relies on Allah, He is sufficient for him.” (65:3) Then I relied on Allah and He is sufficient for me.”

On hearing Hatem’s replies, Shaqiq exclaimed, “Hatem, may Allah our Creator prosper you…”