A Craft Which Needs to be Learnt

Mawlānā Sayyid Asghar Ḥusain was a prominent teacher who shaped the intellectual inclinations of Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ. In Dār al-ʿUlūm Deoband he was popularly known as Ḥaḍrat Miyān Ṣaḥib. One day Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ called on him after the Maghrib prayer. He offered him mangoes, which Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ gladly accepted. He brought two baskets, one full of mangoes and the other one empty for throwing away the seeds and skin. When they had finished, Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ took the waste basket for disposal outside. Miyan Sahib asked him whether he knew what he was doing. Muftī Muḥammad Shafīʿ replied that it was a simple job, which did not require any training. Ḥaḍrat Miyān Ṣaḥib, however, taking away the basket said, “This is a craft which needs to be learnt.”

He separated the skin from the seeds and then he went outside and placed them at particular spots. On being asked about this he explained that many poor people lived nearby, who would be reminded of their poverty at the sight of a large heap of mango skins and seeds near his house, and he did not wish to be responsible for their feelings of discomfort. Therefore, he spread them out in small quantities in various spots, putting the skin at those parts which were frequented by cattle, so that these would be utilised as well. As for the seeds, he placed them at a spot from which the poor children could pick and eat them, after roasting them. He thus explained that this apparently waste material consisting of mango skins and seeds represents a divine bounty which should not be wasted.

It should be made clear that Ḥaḍrat Miyān Ṣaḥib perhaps hardly ate any mango. He offered these to his guests and the poor children of his neighbourhood. Even then he avoided placing heaps of mango skins and seeds near his house lest it might hurt them. Some jurists recommend that eating out should be avoided for it is witnessed by the poor; and as they cannot afford it, this spectacle may hurt them. A devout person thinks of Allah even while doing mundane things, and is always conscious of his obligations.

(Akābir-e Deoband Kya Thay)

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