Qaadhi Abu Bakr Muhammad bin ‘Abdil Baaqi Al-Ansaari (rahimahullah) (d. 535 A.H.) mentioned the following story of his life:

I was a student in Makkah Mukarramah. One day, I was hungry and could not find anything to eat. On my way home, I found a small velvet pouch tied with a string of silk. I picked it up and took it home with me. When I reached home and opened the pouch, I found a pearl necklace which was more beautiful than anything that I had ever seen before.

I later went out and saw an old man who was holding a cloth containing five hundred dinaars. He was shouting, “This money is a reward for whoever returns to me a pouch which I lost containing a pearl necklace!” I thought to myself, “I am in need and extremely hungry. Let me return the purse to the old man and collect the reward so that I can use the money for my needs!” I went up to him and said, “Come with me”, and then led him to my home. When we reached my home, I asked him to describe the pouch so that I could confirm that he was the owner. After he correctly described it, I took it out and handed it to him. He then presented me with the reward of five hundred dinars.

I at that moment, I had a change of heart. I refused to accept the reward and said, “It was my duty to return the pouch to you, so there is no need for you to give me any reward.” The man continued to insist that I take the reward, but as much as he insisted, I continued to refuse and did not accept it.

After some time, I left Makkah Mukarramah and boarded a ship to travel to a certain place. During the journey, the ship was wrecked and all the passengers drowned. Only I survived and managed to hold onto a piece of the ship that was floating. In this way, I continued to float in the ocean, not knowing where I was going to.

Eventually, I drifted to an island on which Muslims were living. I went to one of their musjids and began to recite the Quraan Majeed from memory. When the people of the island heard me recite, they all came to me and asked me to teach them to recite the Quraan Majeed correctly. I began to teach them and was well rewarded for my services.

One day, I noticed a few pages of a Quraan Majeed in the musjid and picked them up to recite. When the people saw me holding the pages, they asked me whether I was able to read and write. When I said yes, they asked me to teach them how to read and write as well. Soon, many of them brought their children along as well. Through teaching the people, I earned a livelihood and became completely independent.

Later on, they asked me to marry a wealthy orphan girl in the community. I initially refused, but when they insisted, I agreed. After the nikaah was performed, the girl was brought to me. On seeing her, I was absolutely dumbstruck! Around her neck was a necklace – the very same necklace that I had found many years ago! I was so shocked that I could not tear my eyes away from it and continued to stare, until the people said to me, “O Shaikh! You will break your bride’s heart by staring at her necklace instead of looking at her!”

I then told them the story of the necklace, and they all began to shout, “Allahu Akbar! Alhamdulillah!” I asked them why they were so excited, and they replied, “The man who had taken the necklace from you was the father of this girl. He used to say regarding you, ‘I never met a more truthful Muslim. May Allah Ta‘ala bring him to us so that I may marry him to my daughter.’ This du‘aa of his has now been fulfilled.”

I lived with my wife and was blessed with two sons from her. She finally passed away and I, together with my two sons, inherited her necklace. Later, my two sons also passed away and I became the sole owner of the necklace. I eventually sold it for one hundred thousand dinars.

(Az-Zail ‘Alaa Tabaqaatil Hanaabilah, vol. 1 pg. 443)

Lessons:

1. If a person does something to please someone, that person will certainly express appreciation. Similarly, when we do something to please Allah Ta‘ala, such as abstaining from sin, He definitely appreciates our effort and sacrifice. Apart from rewarding us in the Hereafter, Allah Ta‘ala will bless us with the same thing in a halaal manner – or something which is even better. Despite being desperate, Qaadhi Abu Bakr (rahimahullah) did not take the pearl necklace or even the reward for handing it to the owner. Since Allah Ta‘ala intended to reward him for this, Allah Ta‘ala caused him to board the ship, caused the ship to sink, and caused him to float to the island where Allah Ta‘ala blessed him with far more than he had sacrificed.

2. Today, almost everyone is chasing after a six-figure salary, an exotic supercar, a multi-story mansion, a ‘trophy’ wife and luxury lifestyle. To acquire the money needed to live this lifestyle, they slog and toil, from morning until evening. However, we become so immersed in money that we completely forget about earning for Jannah. Qaadhi Abu Bakr (rahimahullah), although in difficulty, declined to take the reward from the person because he wanted to receive his complete reward from Allah Ta‘ala. He had seen beyond the glitter and glamour of the world and was striving for Jannah.

3. When parents make du‘aa for their child, it is readily accepted. The girl’s father made du‘aa for her to marry the boy in Makkah and Allah Ta‘ala accepted it. We must always try to keep our parents happy and continue to win their du‘aas.