Stories of Repentance

THE GRAVE OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN

Hazrat Ibrahim bin Bashaarرحمة لله علیھ narrates this story:

"While I was walking towards Kufah with Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham رحمة لله علیھ, he stopped beside a grave and invoked Allah to have mercy on its dweller. "Whose grave is this,' I asked.

'It is the grave of Humaid bin Jaabirرحمة لله علیھ,' said Hazrat Ibrahimرحمة لله علیھ 'He was once the leader of all the townships that are in this area.'

'What was so special about him?' I asked. Hazrat Ibrahimرحمة لله علیھ told me that he was a very rich leader who would spend his nights enjoying foolish games and entertainment.

'One night he fell asleep and saw a dream in which a man was standing over his head,' said Hazrat Ibrahimرحمة لله علیھ. 'The man had a book in his hand, which Humaid grabbed and tore open. The words inside were written with gold [ink]. They ran as follows:

Do not prefer my Fire over my Light, and do not be deceived by what you own in this world, for what you own is preventing you from getting what is saved for you in the afterlife. True, what you have might have been called a kingdom, had it not been for the fact that it will all soon perish. And your life might have been called a life of happiness and joy, had it not been for the fact that it will be followed by anxiety and misery. So beware of falling under the spell of these worldly ornaments, or you will join the ranks of the destroyed ones


وَ سَارِعُوۡۤا اِلٰی مَغۡفِرَۃٍ مِّنۡ رَّبِّکُمۡ وَ جَنَّۃٍ عَرۡضُہَا السَّمٰوٰتُ وَ الۡاَرۡضُ ۙ اُعِدَّتۡ لِلۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ

And march forth in the way [which leads to] forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, it has been prepared for the Allah fearing.

[Aal-Imraan : 133]


Humaid then woke up in a terrified state,' continued Hazrat Ibrahimرحمة لله علیھ. 

'Resigning from his post as leader, Humaid betook himself to this mountain, where he led a simple life, doing menial work to maintain his physical upkeep, but dedicating most of his time to the worship of Allah. I came here once and met him. By keeping company with him, I found him to be a noble man. I would thereafter continue to visit him until he passed away.' "

Stories of Repentance #23

It is reported that there was once a king who, at a certain moment during his rule, came to the realization that no matter how rich he was, his pleasures were of the fleeting kind and his end was going to be death. These thoughts lingered in his mind, until one day he secretly left his castle and made his way towards the seaside. There, he spent his days earning his keep by working with bricks, and his nights worshipping Allah. Although he had travelled far away from his homeland, he could not remain unrecognized for long, and soon news of his story reached the king of the land that he was in. That king summoned him, but he refused to go; and when he was summoned for a second time, he made it clear that he didn’t want to meet the king.

The king of the land was too curious about the former king’s story to let the matter rest there. And so he went to him in person, but when the former king saw him approaching, he began to run away. The king of the land chased him as he called out, “O slave of Allah, fear not,” but the former king continued to flee from him. This continued until the king of the land was able to convince him that he just wanted to talk to him for a few moments. When the two were face to face, the king of the land asked the former king, “What made you come to this land?”

He said, “I found that my heart desired separation from the children of Adam.”

The king of the land asked, “How can you bear living a life of loneliness?”

He said, “Whoever finds comfort with Allah finds unwholesome the company of anyone else.”

The king of the land asked, “And why did you leave your kingdom?”

He answered, “I thought about my outcome, my final destination on this earth, and I realized that my end here was near at hand. And so I decided to turn away from that which is temporary and to instead turn towards that which will abide forever. Turning to my Lord, I then fled from my sins.”

The king of the land said “You do not have more reason to fear Allah than I do.”

The king of that land then abdicated his throne, after which he followed his new companion on the path of simplicity, repentance, and worship.

During one of his journeys, Hazrat Sirri as-Saqati رحمة لله علیھ passed by a cave, from which he heard continuous sobbing. Aroused by curiosity, he entered the cave and saw a young man whose body seemed to be wasted away by grief and sadness. Having immediately perceived that the man was a righteous worshipper, Hazrat Sirri رحمة لله علیھ humbly asked, “O young man, how is safety achieved?”

He said, “By performing all prescribed acts of worship, by not wronging others, and by repenting to Allah.”

Sirrri رحمة لله علیھ asked, “Can you please deliver a sermon to me?”

The young man said, “The best sermon you can receive is by looking into your own self. But I will say this: be obedient to Allah when you are alone, for doing so will atone for your sins, and Allah will then display you to the inhabitants of the heavens.”

A man once went to Raabi'ah bint Isma'il al-'Adawiyyah, who was known by the titles, 'Mother of Goodness,' and, 'The Famous Worshipper.' He said, 'Indeed, I have perpetrated a great number of sins. If I repent, do you think that Allah will accept my repentence?" 

She said, "Woe unto you! Do you not see that He invites those who turn away from Him; then why wouldn't He accept the repentance of those who turn towards Him?"

Rashid, a first century ruler, once said to Hazrat Fudayl bin Iyaadرحمة لله علیھ, "Admonish me."

"O Leader of the believers!" said Hazrat Fudaylرحمة لله علیھ. "Indeed your grandfather, Hazrat Abbaasرضي الله عنه, the uncle of Nabi, once went to the Nabi and said, 'O Messenger of Allah, appoint me to be a leader.' Nabiﷺ  said, 'My uncle, indeed, being a leader leads to sorrow, and regret on the Day of Resurrection. If you are able to go without ever being a leader, then do so!'"

Moved to tears, Rashid said, "Give me more."

Hazrat  Fudaylرحمة لله علیھ looked at Rashid and said, "O One who has a handsome face, if you are able to protect that face from the Hell-fire then do so. And beware of ever cheating or betraying your people."

Being much moved by Hazrat Fudayl'رحمة لله علیھs words, Rashid wanted to reward him. 

"Do you have any debts?" he asked.

"To my Lord, yes, and He will hold me accountable for them," said Hazrat Fudaylرحمة لله علیھ.

"I am of course referring to debts to other human beings," said Rashid.

After Hazrat Fudaylرحمة لله علیھ answered in the negative, Rashid said to one of his assistants, "Give him 1000 dinars, which he can use to help his family."

Hazrat Fudaylرحمة لله علیھ was greatly offended by these words and said, "How perfect Allah is! I am guiding you to safety and you want to reward me with this worldly sum!"
He then left, having refused to take anything.

One year, when al-Asma'i who was an Arab scholar was on his way to perform hajj, a bedouin carrying a large sword and a long spear confronted him. It was quite obvious that he was a highway robber. He came near al-Asma'i and instead of fleeing or attempting to escape, al-Asma'i drew nearer to him. He extended greetings of peace to the robber. The latter responded and then asked, "Where are you from?"

"I am a poor man on a journey" was al-Asma'i's reply.

"Do you have anything with you?" asked the robber. 

"Yes, I have with me the Quran," answered al-Asma'i.

"And what is the Quran?" asked the robber.

"It is the speech of Allah Ta’ala," said al-Asma'i.

"And does Allah Ta’ala have speech?"

"Yes," replied al-Asma'i.

"Then let me hear some of His speech," said the robber.

Al-Asma'i recited the following verse:


وَ فِی السَّمَآءِ رِزۡقُکُمۡ وَ مَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ


“And in the heavens, there is your sustenance and all that you have been promised.” [adh-Dhaariyaat : 22]

When the robber heard these words, he began to cry, and threw down his sword and spear, and said, "Perish the highway robber, who seeks sustenance on the Earth, when it is really in the heavens!"

Al-Asma'i was very much pleased to see the quick transformation of the robber. On the following year, when al-Asma'i went to perform Hajj again, he saw the former robber- whose face now had the signs of faith written on it- clinging to the curtain of the Kaa'ba. It was late in the night and he was saying, "O my Lord, the eyes are sleeping and every loved one is with his beloved. The gates of all kings are now closed, but Your gate is open to those who ask of You. Would that I knew whether You accepted this night of worship from me..." 

Wanting to advise his son Hasanرضي الله عنه, Hazrat Aliرضي الله عنه said, "My son: Beware of three, be in harmony with three, be modest before three, race to three, flee from three, be in disagreement with three, fear three, and hope of three."

"O my father, please explain," said Hazrat Hasanرضي الله عنه

"Beware of pride, anger, and the base kind of ambition. Live in harmony with Allah's Book, His Messenger's sunnah, and the lives of His righteous slaves. Hurry away from sinning, race to repentance and sprint forward in the pursuit of knowledge. My son, flee from lying, treachery and transgression. Be in disagreement with evil and its people, hypocrisy and its people, and foolishness and its people. Fear Allah, fear the company of those who do not fear Allah, and fear the evil speech of your tongue. Hope for Allah to forgive your sins, to accept your deeds, and to accept the intercession of your Nabi." 

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