YOU ARE NOT POOR, YOU ARE RICH

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Principles of Life | Al-Risala October, 1987

A beggar was calling out for alms on the street. Hearing his call, a passer-by turned towards him only to find that he was in no way disabled. So, he asked how he was entitled to charity. The beggar replied, “I’m poor.” The man said, “No you are not. You are, on the contrary, very rich.” The beggar pleaded with him not to make fun of him, as he was really poor. The man said again, “All right, give me whatever you have, and in return, I’ll pay you Rs. 50,000.” The beggar happily handed over to him his dirty bag containing a few coins and said, “That’s all I have, you can take it.” The man said. “No, you have much more besides this. You have two feet. Give me one of them and I’ll pay you Rs. 10,000 in exchange.” The beggar refused. Then the man said, “You have got two hands, give me one hand, and I’ll pay you Rs. 20,000.” The beggar again refused to comply with his request. So, the man said, “You have got two eyes, give me one eye and I’ll pay you Rs. 20,000.” The beggar refused again. The man now said, “Look, you have got two feet, two hands, two eyes. I wanted only one of each which together add up to Rs. 50,000. If we set a price on the pairs, it will be one lakh rupees. That means that the price of only three parts of your body is at least one lakh rupees. Then how can you say that you are poor? You are extremely wealthy. Stop begging, invest this great wealth that God has bestowed on you and you will be reckoned amongst the wealthiest people in the world.” God has endowed man with extraordinary capabilities, but, we do not realize their true importance under normal conditions. It is only when we lose anyone of them, that we learn how priceless it was. Take the case of James Thomas, twenty-four years of age and a machine operator by profession. Due to some illness both his kidneys started malfunctioning. He was admitted into the AIIMS, (New Delhi) where doctors told him that the only way for him to survive was to obtain a kidney from a donor. Now, a kidney is a product of nature which cannot be built in a human factory, even if we were in a position to spend millions and billions of rupees to make one. And even after receiving the priceless gift of a kidney, although there were no doctors’ or surgery fees, he still needed Rs. 45,000 just to have it transplanted. Here was a part of his body which he had never given any particular thought to before, and now its value had been brought home to him in no uncertain manner. (The Times of India, 10 January 1980)

In truth, even when man is resourceless, he has a great deal to invest. The body and the brain which we possess are beyond all prices. If man exploits his capabilities to the fullest, there is no success which he cannot attain in this world. For him nothing is impossible. When you have hands to hold things, when you have feet to walk with, when you have a tongue to speak with, you really have all that you want in this world. And because everything else can be obtained by material means, there is nothing that is beyond one’s reach.