Imam Bukhari was travelling to a foreign land. It was a journey by ship. He brought 1,000 gold coins with him.
Over time all the passengers on the ship got to know each other. There was one traveler who was very friendly to the Imam and showed him a lot of love. They sat together often and spent a lot of time together. Their friendship blossomed due to the closeness forced by the ship.
Imam Bukhari came to trust this new friend. One day he shared the purpose and details of his trip with him… including the amount of money he carried.
The next morning, loud crying and screaming woke up all the people on the ship. They rushed to the source of the noises, scared something terrible had happened. Imam Bukhari’s new friend was the one yelling. He was slapping himself and tearing apart his clothes, too! It looked like he had just suffered a great loss and was going mad.
Everyone asked him what’s wrong. He didn’t reply at first, as if in too much shock to speak. After calming down, he said someone had stolen his pouch of 1,000 gold coins!
The staff of the ship decided to search every passenger to find the ‘stolen’ money and catch this thief. One by one they search every passenger and his belongings.
While this was going on, Imam Bukhari hid his pouch of money. If anyone found it with him, it would make him look like the thief! He decided to quietly walk to the railing of the ship.
When no one was looking, he threw his wallet into the sea.
The search ended later that day. The money was not found anywhere. The ship’s crew scolded the dishonest man for lying and putting everyone through a lot of trouble. He stayed quiet for the rest of the trip, especially avoiding Imam Bukhari out of shame.
When the ship finally arrived at its destination, everyone went their separate ways. Imam Bukhari’s ‘friend’ from the ship couldn’t resist finally asking the Imam:
“How did you hide your money from everyone?”
“I threw it in the sea,” came a simple answer.
The other man was in shock, “How can you handle losing a fortune like that?”
“O ignorant one, do you not know that I have spent my whole life collecting the reports from and about the Messenger, peace and blessings upon him? People rely upon and trust my work! So how can I let myself be accused of theft, no matter how false, and trade the priceless pearls of trustworthiness and uprightness for a limited number of coins?”
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