19 February 2014 CE | 17 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

Bishr the Barefoot

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Allah said, ‘I have prepared for My righteous slaves (such excellent things) as no eye has ever seen, nor an ear has ever heard, nor a human heart can ever think of.’” [Bukhaari]

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) refers to us as “Abd” – slaves. Allah has made Jannah for His “righteous slaves.” The question is; do we act like righteous slaves? The following true story is narrated in “100 Qissatin min Qisasis Saalaheen:”
Bishr was enjoying himself in his home, drinking and passing time with his friends when a righteous man knocked on his door. A slave girl opened the door. He asked her: “Is the owner of this house a free man or a slave?” She replied: “He is a free man.” He said: “You have spoken the truth, for if he were a slave he would have had the etiquettes of a slave and would have left his desires.”

Bishr heard what the man said and ran to the door barefoot. “Woe to you!” he said to the slave girl, “Who was at the door?” She told him what had happened. He asked her which way that man had gone then went after him until he found him. “Dear Sir, were you the one who came to my door?” Bishr asked him, to which he replied, “Yes.” Bishr asked: “Please repeat what you said.” So he repeated it.

Bishr rubbed his cheeks on the floor and said: “No, but I am a slave!”  After that Bishr would always walk barefoot, even if his feet would begin to hurt until he became famous for being barefooted. Once he was asked: “Why is it that you don’t wear your shoes?” He replied: “Because my Lord corrected and guided me while I was barefoot. So I will remain like this until I die.” Thus, he came to be known as Bishr al-Haafi (Bishr the Barefoot).

The first thing about a slave is that he is not free. He is bound by the commands of his master. His life in its entirety is spent in obedience to the commands of his master. From the moment he awakes till he falls asleep he is alert to his master’s wishes.

The righteous slaves of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) obey Him promptly and sincerely. They honour and respect His commands and prohibitions. They do not cut corners. We dislike insincere employees who leave half the work undone if we are not looking. A slave is more indentured than a servant and held to a higher level of obedience and sincerity. Yet, we have one standard for ourselves and what is due to us, but another for Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and what is due to Him.

Am I living my life as Allah’s slave? Or do I act like my own master? Do I wake up at Fajr because my Owner is calling me? Do I wash up as He tells me to? Do I wear the dress He gave me and told me to wear? Do I do the tasks He set out for me to do? Do I respect and obey those He commanded me to respect and obey? Is His Pleasure my aim and objective? Am I as humble as a slave? From my expression and demeanour, from the way I walk and talk, from the things that I do, could anyone mistake me for a free man? Do I exhibit the etiquettes of a slave?

To enjoy the five star hotels of the world we put forth so much. Besides the cash, our clothes and behaviour also have to be of a certain standard. Is there nothing we have to pay, and no behaviour we have to adopt, to enter Allah’s multi-billion star Jannah? Bishr the barefoot realized in time what was required of him. Will I?

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