Oct 8, 2012

Unforgettable lessons of Shoe lace and Salt

By Amatullah Aminah


What I am about to share is a beautiful hadith!! I was sort of brought up on the base of this hadith. It was repeated so often in my house that the mark it left is in indelible ink. Doesn’t fade, doesn’t smudge...

The Prophet sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Man should call upon Allah alone to provide for all his needs, so much so that even if a shoe-lace is broken, he should pray to Allah to provide a shoe-lace, and if he needs salt, he should beseech Allah to send it to him.” [Tirmidhi] 

· It poignantly illustrates the lessons of ‘la illaha illallah’ in a manner one can never forget. When we proclaim 'la illaha illallah' (There is no god but Allah) we are also proclaiming in unspoken words that there is no power except that it rests with Allah, there is no one greater than Allah, and everything we know of (and don’t know of) subjects itself to the power of Allah. Allah is absolute, He maintains and dispenses our affair, he alters hearts and consequently all the events. He, the most high, the absolute, has power over all things and everything succumbs to His will. He is our creator, master, provider, helper, protector, guide...this can go on, SubhanAllah! 

Then who can provide us with anything, except Allah? “Man should call upon Allah alone...” the word ‘alone’ is a reflection of tawheed, it points out how Allah is enough for us and He alone has the power and capability to help us and provide for us. Indeed

"Sufficient for me is Allah; there is no deity except Him. On Him I have relied, 
and He is the Lord of the Great Throne."[Surah Taubah 9:129]

· The second thing this hadith brings forth is our utter incapacity. We are completely dependent on Allah while He remains independent of us. We cannot even summon for ourselves something as meagre as shoelace and salt. Contemplate this for a moment: Shoe lace and salt are extremely paltry, most easily available even to the poorest of poor (now don’t have a nike or jimmy choo shoelace in mind!) but here the Prophet of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam informs us that even these trivial items should be asked for from Allah Subhanhu wa ta’ala because they are out of our reach unless Allah wills so and none can aid us even with the smallest of things except Allah, The Most High.

· It exhorts us to make dua. When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said "Dua is the very essence of worship" he was making clear how profound its nature is. The very act makes us humble before our Creator and repeatedly reminds us that only He can provide. It is a general thought and habit to ask for big things, things we consider out of our reach or difficult, things we have give up hope for, although the practice of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam has been to make dua for everything. A limited mind will make limited dua, we need to broaden our minds and make dua extensively as well as intensively. Another common practice is to make dua, in a given situation, after we dish out our best efforts and fail. We would run from pole to pole, talking to people, writing petitions and using influences and when nothing would work we would turn to Allah-shattered. It should be quite the contrary. When confronted by a difficulty or a need the first thing should be the act of humbling ourselves in dua, followed by the best of our efforts. A habit of making dua on a daily basis should be cultivated for we need Him and His mercy everyday and every moment. Let’s not undermine that.

Food for thought:

· Never Never Never get weary of making the same dua. Weariness is a sign of abandoning hope in Allah. Allah knows what is best for us and If He, in His infinite wisdom, is delaying something it is not only in our best interest but also gets us bonus points. How?

When you make a dua and it is not apparently being answered then for that one dua Allah is averting harm from your way and granting you other bounties in return, unasked. So not only He is protecting you by not granting what you are asking for but also continuing to give you more just because you continue to make dua.

· Never be in a state of mind where you simply don’t make dua because you think the thing is impossible to achieve or way too good for you. What is impossible in your limited perception is extremely easy for Allah. He just needs to say ‘Be’ and it is done. Who created the heavens and the earth? Allah is as you conceive Him to be. If you make dua for average things, you will get exactly that-average. However if you make dua keeping Allah’s Majesty in mind and not what you think you deserve then get ready for an extraordinary life.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


This article is brilliant, subhan'Allah. It touched me to the core. This is the first time that I am reading this Hadith, and I am so glad that I have been introduced to it. Every point you addressed is so important for the human bring to embrace. And it is so beautiful that we are encouraged to seek Allah for everything. The last point you made was so amazing. I think sometimes we can get stuck in a negative frame of mind, and for whatever reason, we may think that we don't deserve something. But Allah is the Most Generous, giving us so much, here in this World and the Hereafter. So we should never despair, because Allah is the Best of Planners :)

SubhaanAllah!!! Just the kind of reaffirmation I needed with a downward spiral that my hope was taking for the past few days... JazakAllah katheeran for this timely share <3

Assalamualaikum sister.. MashaAllah, this was an excellent article! :)
I especially loved the last line- ".. if you make dua keeping Allah’s Majesty in mind and not what you think you deserve then get ready for an extraordinary life.".....Awesome! :D
Jazakillahu Khair!

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