Parable of the Old Man and the Sock

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A wise and saintly rich man, sensing his approaching death, called his son to his side and gave him these instructions:

‘My son, I shall be leaving you very shortly. On the day when I die, and they have washed my body and come to wrap it in the shroud, I want you to put one of my socks on my foot. This is my final request of you.’

Soon after this, the old man did indeed die, leaving behind his goods and property, his children and his dependents. Family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors attended his funeral. The body had been washed and was almost completely wrapped in the shroud, when the son remembered his father’s wish. Finding one of his old socks, he handed it to the washer of the dead, saying, ‘In accordance with my father’s last request, please put this sock on his foot.’

‘That is quite impossible:’ Said the man. ‘Such a thing is utterly impermissible in Islam. I cannot act against the Shariah.’ Despite this valid objection, the son insisted, ‘That was my father’s final request; it must certainly be carried out.’

The washer of the dead was unmoved. ‘If you won’t take my word for it,’ he said, ‘go and ask the Mufti. He will confirm what I tell you, that it is not permissible. ‘Holding up the funeral, they consulted the Mufti, and also preachers and scholars, all of whom declared that this was not permissible in Islam. Just then, an aged friend of the deceased interrupted the debate with these words to the son: ‘My boy, your late father entrusted me with a letter which I was to hand over to you after his departure. Here, this letter belongs to you.’ So saying, he gave him an envelope. Taken by surprise, the boy opened the envelope and read out the contents of his father’s letter.

‘My son, consider all this wealth and property I have left to you. Now you see, at the last moment they won’t even let you give me an old sock to wear. When you yourself come one day to be in my condition they will also refuse to let you keep anything but your shroud. Eight yards of shroud are all you will be able to carry over from this fleeting world into the Hereafter. So pull yourself together and be prepared. Spend the fortune I have left you not for the satisfaction of vain desires, but in ways pleasing to Allah, that you may achieve honor in both worlds.’

The parable of those who spend their property in the way of Allah is as the parable of a grain growing seven ears (with) a hundred grains in every ear; and Allah multiplies for whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing. – (Surah Baqarah: 261)

O Allah! Grant us the love of giving. O Allah we are misers, so help us to be generous. O Allah, You are to be called upon, and we are calling upon You. O Allah, answer our call!


Ya Haqq!

16 Responses to Parable of the Old Man and the Sock

  1. Saladin says:

    Wow. That’s an amazing story, and a rather cunning way to deliver a moral.

  2. Beautiful! I hope I am as compos mentis before I die to give my children such an effective reminder.

  3. Lat says:

    Awesome story! SubhanAllah! Thank you, Bro Irving for sharing this!

  4. cahyono says:

    ‎​سيقر كاتسيرون .. My dear friend. Would you mind I share it?

  5. Anum says:

    Ameeeeennn! Beautiful post! :) Thank you.

  6. Sadiq says:

    Mashallah! a truly wise illustration, may Allah make more mindful to the certain reality of death which shall meet us all, in twinkle of an eye.

    I am posting its link in the blog.

    Also for your readers, Ask, Seek and Knock: A Sufi Exegesis of Jesus Parable.

  7. Rabia says:

    This is a good reminder, of keeping ones eyes always on Allah. It made me think about what I shopped for today, and I think some of it, though entertaining for my family was maybe not necessary, especially as I am reminded of the suffering of my loved ones in Pakistan and Swat Valley, and their fate due to the deadly monsoon. Greed should never rule our hearts.

  8. fawzia says:

    syukran for sharing …alhamdulilah !

  9. Marahm says:

    We are often reminded that, “You can’t take it with you,” but this story shows that truth in a fresh way. Thanks; I’ll remember this one.

  10. Irving says:

    Thank you all, dear Brothers and Sisters, for the kind words about the story :) It is especially poignant to remember it before Ramadan, which is the month of Allah, to whom we must all return.

    Ya Haqq!

  11. Reema B. says:

    Salam alaikum brother Irving,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, indeed we need reminders like these especially before Ramadan. I pray that Allah accepts your fasting in Ramadan inshallah.

  12. sylvain smeets says:

    well, it is beautiful, such a story. where is allah or god? nothingnes!!! universe is empty where god is concerned!

  13. Rabu says:

    O dear father what a story ! Thanks for posting this before Ramadan, it’s a good reminder.

    “O Allah! Grant us the love of giving. O Allah we are misers, so help us to be generous. O Allah, You are to be called upon, and we are calling upon You. O Allah, answer our call!


  14. noora says:

    Mashallah you go into this world with nothing and you go out with nothing> The only thing you take are your deeds and actions.

  15. Nasir says:

    Jazaak Allah brother Irvin for sharing the story of the grim reminder that this is a transitory world.

  16. Rabia says:

    Two days in a row, after prayer I opened the Qu’ran randomly, and both times the reading including this verse:

    “Verily, those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds will the Most Gracious endow with love…”
    Surah 19:96

    “Verily, those who attend to faith and do righteous deeds-and we do not burden any human being more than he/she is able to bear, they are destined for paradise, therein to abide….”
    Surah7: 42-43

    What perfect answers-

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