“The sweetness of life is in the company of the Fuqara,
They are the sultans, the masters and the princes !”
Sidi Abu Madyan [Born ~509Hijra / 1126 CE and died ~594Hijra / 1198 CE]
Furqara is a plural form of the Arabic word faqir and it literally means poor or needy.
However, in the context of this poem, it has a deeper meaning.
It refers to the state of being fully aware of one’s continuous position of being in need of sustenance from Allah and hence, leading a life in accordance with that position.
It is not referring to an outward appearance of being rich nor poor.
An arrogant person, of rich or poor appearance, does not belong to the fuqara.
For the fuqara walk humbly on earth and are truly charitable.
They do not walk the path of harm.
Upon news of this poem reaching the ruler in Marrakech, he summoned Sidi Abu Madyan to appear before his court and to explain himself. For the poem was perceived as a threat by the boon companions of the sultan.
There is about 1600km between Bejaia in Algeria where Sidi Abu Madyan lived and Marrakech in Morocco where the sultan lived.
Sidi Abu Madyan made the journey. An outward journey to the sultan and an inward one to his maker; Allah.
He was in his eighties. The inward journey won and he was buried half way between Bejaia and Marrakech in a town called T’lemcen, Algeria.
Those who managed to gain an appearance of a ruler, a prince or a wealthy person, even if it is from lawful means, will inevitably attract those who are corrupt. Hence, for them to live a balanced life and to be fair to others will be constantly challenged.
Some people tried to bomb Sidi Abu Madyan’s grave but failed.
Then they set fire to it, but that fire was extinguished.
Did they not know that the dead cannot bury the living?
The dead may bury only the dead as in the scriptures.
Do they not contemplate the Quran? For it says:
“ِCharity is only to the poor …”