Once upon a time there were three men from the children of Israel who were visited by an angel. The first one was a leper, the second was bald and the third was blind. The angel asked each one what they would love to have. The leper wanted a good skin, the bald, hair on his head and the blind, as we can guess, wanted his eyesight. The angel after fulfilling their wishes asked them what they would love in terms of wealth. The leper, who now had a nice skin, asked for a camel, the bald, who now looked handsome with hair on his head, asked for a cow and the blind, who could see now, asked for a sheep. The angel not just gave each of them the animal they asked for but also made sure that the animals were impregnated so that all three of them had a growing stock of wealth and therefore could be tested thoroughly later, which isn’t difficult to guess.
Before we go on with this story that is mentioned in an authentic hadith collected by both, Imaam al-bukhari and Imaam Muslim, it is important to carefully read what each of the three men said when the angel asked what they would love to have. The leper said, “A good colour, a good skin and to be rid of what makes me loathsome to people.” The bald replied, “Good hair and to be rid of what makes me loathsome to people.” But the blind replied, “I wish that Allah restores my sight so that I may see people.”
Let us take a moment to introspect. We care so much about our image that we forget to experience life. We wish to impress others rather than enjoy our lives and experience whatever we have. Experiencing what we are and experiencing what we have is the only way to be happy. Experiencing life is true happiness. The leper and the bald wanted good skin and good hair, respectively, not because they could experience and enjoy those things but because people don’t run away from them. But the blind man wanted his sight back only to see people around him, he wanted to experience the gift of sight so that he could be happy, truly happy.
Many months later the angel returned in the form of a poor man and asked for help from the leper who now looked healthy and had a valley full of camels. But he refused to help and on top of that lied that he had inherited all the wealth through generations. A similar reply was given by the bald who now had hair and a valley full of cows. The angel prayed to Allah to return them to thier previous state if they were lying. But when the angel asked for help from the blind man who now could see and had a valley full of sheep, he remembered his own blindness and poverty and asked the angel to take whatever he wanted because someone in the past had helped him too. The angel told him to keep everything and said, “Allah is pleased with you.”
That is how powerful experiencing life is. It makes us remember the favours of Allah and makes us realise that material possessions are never the cause of our happiness but are the means to happiness. The secret to happiness is putting those possessions to good use and experience this beautiful life because we can lose the means but we can never lose our experience. This is how we become rich, richness of our experiences makes us rich.
The Prophet said, “Nobody is rich by owning a lot of property but rather rich is the one rich in person.”