Say thou (O Muhammad) "This is my way, I do invite unto Allah on an insight clear as the seeing with one's eyes, I and the one who followeth me. Glory be to Allah! and I am not of the polytheists!" Al-Quran 12/108

The Fuquara

By Hazrath Syed Ali Bartar Esq.

Fuquara is the plural form of faqir. This word is used for a particular group of people who are blessed by Allah, the Almighty. Unfortunately the common people now a days are using this word for beggars, who ask for alms from the people. Beggars do not deserve to be called fuquara because their way of life and behavior is fully antagonist to the real fuquara.

The Holy Quran gives specifications of the fuquara thus:

"(Alams are) for the poor (fuquara) who are straightened for the cause of Allah, who cannot travel in the land (for trade), the unthinking man accounteth them wealthy because of their restraint. Thou shall know them by their marks (shining foreheads) they do not beg men with importunity."
(Al-Baq’rah: 273)

The difference between the beggars and the fuquara is very clearly shown in this ayah. The beggar begs alms from people and becomes low in their eyes. The fuquara though needy, practice restraint. They do not beg. On the other hand they look so contented and satisfied that a man may look at them and think they are wealthy. But careful men will recognize them from their symptoms (marks).

Asking for Alams is in fact against the teaching of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.S) and so whatever the beggars do is disdainful.

This ayah is said to be revealed for the ‘As-hab-e-suffaha’, the friends of the Prophet (S.A.S) who rested themselves on an elevated place in the prophet’s mosque and who did not do any thing to earn heir livelihood----- neither trade nor service or any other thing. The phrase ‘straightened for the cause of Allah’ shows that they reserved themselves for prayers and for propagation of Islam. Some people say they were disabled. But all of them were not disabled. Prophet used to send some of them for ‘jihad’ and ‘seeriya’. Thus these ‘As-hab-e-suffaha’ bore the qualities of fuquara mentioned in the ayah written earlier. They were greatly respected by the other sahabas of the prophet (S.A.S). A Muslim saint Imam Razi writes about them thus: "They practiced zikr and prayers to such an extent that they kept themselves aloof from earning from any source.

During the days of Hazrath Imamuna Mahdi (A.H.S) and during his sahaba’s time the fuquara led a life in accordance with the above Ayah. Hazrath Mahdi (A.H.S) made asking (sawal) prohibited (Haram). He said: "whenever you need, ask it from Allah." Don’t ask anything from others–not even simple things like water or salt. Once a sahabi asked Hazrath Mahdi (A.H.S) if a faqir who depends on Allah comes under a condition that he cannot practice tawakkul, what he should do. Our Imam (A.H.S) said he should die. On asking the same for second and third time, Hazrath Mahdi (A.H.S) replied the same thing.

At another time the same question was asked. Hazrath Mahdi (A.H.S) gave a milder order (i.e. order in Rukhsat as against Azeemat). He said if the person cannot bear the hardship of hunger, he should go and do some works to earn a cheetal (the lowest denomination coin in those days) or two but should not beg some thing from others. He further warned if the person earned a cheetal one day, he should not wish to earn more on the next day.

The fuquara of Mahdavia who lived in dairas were to follow strict rules of decency such as:
 

  • If a person brought ‘Futuh’ (money or article) time and again, it should not be accepted
  • If the person who brought ‘Futuh’ specified that this much amount should be given to a particular person and this much to the other, the ‘Futuh’ was rejected. The total ‘Futuh’ should be given to the head of the Daira who distributed it among the fuquaras
  • If a person of the Daira went outside and some Ameer wanted to send some thing through him to the Daira, it was not accepted
  • If any person requested the head of the Daira to send someone to get the ‘Futuh’ it was not granted
  • Hoping to get Futuh or waiting for it was considered as against the tawakkul

Such strict rules were not only understood by the Fuquara of the Daira but they were also known to the other persons outside the Daira who were not fuquara.

An event during the day of Hazrath Bandigi mian Syed Mahmood sani Mahdi (R.Z) will clearly show the above situation. The following is the event:

Fatah khan was a wealthy Ameer. A person went to him and said he had come from the Daira of Hazrath Sani Mahdi (R.Z). Fatah khan told his men that the person was a liar and ordered them to beat him. He explained that he had been to Daira several times and found that the fuquara of the Daira did not give any care or attention to him and thought him to be worse than a dog.

Such were the fuquara of Mahdavi dairas who depended on Allah for every thing and did not beg from others.

During the present times too the fuquara of Mehdavia follow the same practice. They do not beg any thing from others and live a contented life of Tawakkul on Allah.


Reference:
‘Tauzihat’ by Hazrath Abu Sayeed Syed Mahmood (R.A) on the Naqliyat of B.M Abdur Rasheed (R.Z).
 

 

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