Stories of Repentance

It was reported on the authority of Hassan Al Basri رحمة لله علیھ .

There was a prostitute who had a third of the beauty of Adam عليه السلام . She would not allow anyone to have relations with her unless she was paid 100 dinars. There was a slave man who saw her one day and her beauty amazed him so much that he went and worked and toiled with his hands until he collected 100 dinars.

So he went to her and said:  “Your beauty amazed me so much that I went and worked and toiled with my own two hands and immediately collected 100 dinars!” She said to him: “Enter!” So he entered and to his amazement she had a bed made of gold.

He said: “So I sat on her bed and she said to me: “Come on!”

So when he sat between her legs he remembered his standing in front of Allah! His heart began to tremble and quiver and he said to her: “Let me leave and you can keep the money!” She said to him: “What is wrong with you?! You were the one who said that you saw me and my beauty amazed you so you worked and toiled hard and quickly with your bare hands until you collected 100 dinars and now that you have the ability to take what is rightfully yours this is what you do?”

He said: “I am afraid of Allah and my standing in front of Him! I was once the most hated person to you (because he was a poor slave) and now you are the most hated person to me!” (because he now realizes the sin she is allowing him to commit) She said: “If you are honest in what you say, then you are the only husband for me!” He said: “Let me leave!” She replied: “No! Not until you marry me!” He said: “No! Not until you allow me to leave!” So she said: “If you leave and I go out in search of you, do you promise that if I find you, you will marry me?” “Perhaps!” was the reply.

So she let his garment go, and he left and returned to his city. She set out in search of him remorseful and repentant for what she had done until she found the city where he resided. She asked around town about his whereabouts and she was directed towards where he lived.

Someone said to him in passing: “The queen has come!” (He said this because her clothing was like that of a queen). When he saw her he began crying profusely and began to gasp for air (as he never expected to see her again and now to his amazement, believed that she was a queen!) and he died while falling into her arms!

She said: “As for him, I have lost this one! Does he have any relatives?”

It was said to her: “He has a brother but he is poor!”

So she said with sincerity: “Thus I will marry him because of my love for his brother, who changed my life!” And so she married the brother.

One day, as Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه and Hussainرضي الله عنه were walking together, they heard a man supplicating to Allah. The man was begging Allah to forgive him for his evil crimes. His sincere tone and words aroused the interest of Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه , who turned to his son and said, “Do you not hear the man who is so remorseful because of his sins? Go and catch up with him and call him.”

When Hazrat Hussain رضي الله عنه caught up with the man, he saw that he was clean-looking, clean-smelling, with nice clothes and altogether handsome- except that he seemed to be paralyzed on the right side of his body. Hazrat Hussain رضي الله عنه said, “Answer the summons of the Leader of the believers, Hazrat Ali bin Abu Taalib.”

Dragging his right side, the man followed Hazrat Hussain رضي الله عنه back to where Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه was waiting for them.

“Who are you and what is your story?” asked Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه .

“My story is that of a man who did not fulfill the rights of others and is now being punished for that.” said the man.

“And what is your name?” asked Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه .

“Munaazil bin Laahiq,” said the man.

“And what is your story?” asked Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه .

“I was famous among the Arabs for my evil and sins. Merciful and kind, my father would constantly admonish me and advise me to mend my ways. He would remind me of Allah’s punishment, saying, ‘My son, do not go against He who punishes with the Hell-fire!’ When he would persist in advising me, I felt his voice grating on my nerves. I would get so frustrated that I would beat him harshly. In response to my beating, he one day said, ‘By Allah, I will fast without breaking my fast and I will pray without stopping to sleep.’ He fasted for an entire week, but on seeing no change in my behaviour, he climbed a camel and set off to perform Hajj. His parting words were, ‘I am going to the House of Allah, and there I will seek help from Allah Ta’ala against you.’ When he reached Makkah, he embraced the khilaaf of the Kaa’ba and supplicated against me, asking Allah Ta’ala to make me paralyzed on one side of my body. By the One Who raised the sky and sends down the rain, no sooner did my father finish his supplication than I became paralyzed on my right side, which became like a piece of wood. Anyone that would then pass by me would point to me and say, ‘Allah Ta’ala answered his father’s supplication against him.”

“What did your father do then?” asked Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه .

“O Leader of the Believers, after he became pleased with me, I asked him to go back and invoke Allah Ta’ala on my behalf. He agreed to do so. I walked alongside him as he rode on his camel, until we reached a place called the Valley of Arak. When we reached there, a group of birds flew away from a tree & their sudden movement frightened the camel. As the camel raced off in a state of fright, my father fell off and passed away.”

It was certainly late for the man, but not too late, and so Hazrat Ali رضي الله عنه advised him to continue to supplicate and to repent for his past misdeeds.

The following story is narrated by ‘Abdul-Waaḥid ibn Zaidرحمة لله علیھ : "We were on a sea vessel once, when the wind suddenly became stormy, and we were forced to leave the high seas and seek refuge on an island. We were surprised to see that we were not alone on the island; standing there before us was a man who was busy worshipping. We said to him 'What are you worshipping?' upon which he pointed to an idol. We said, 'We don't have a person on our ship that does as you are doing'

The man asked, 'Then who is it that you worship?'

We said, 'We worship Allah.' 

He asked, 'And who is Allah?"

'We said, 'He Whose Throne is in the Heavens and Whose dominion is in the heavens, the earth, and all that exists."

''And how did you come to know that?" asked the man.

'He sent a messenger to us with clear proofs and miracles, and it was that messenger who informed us about Him."

''And what has happened to your messenger?"

''When he finished conveying the message, Allah caused him to die,' we answered.

'Has he left you no sign?' the man asked.

We said, 'He has left among us Allah's Book.'

'Show it to me,' requested the man.

When we showed him a copy of the Qur'an, he said, 'I cannot read it,' and so we read a part of it for him. He then cried and said, 'The One Whose speech this is must not be disobeyed.' Not only did the man then accept Islam, he also diligently learned its teachings and then put what he learned into practice. When the weather calmed down and we were ready to leave the island, he asked us if he could be a passenger on our ship. We of course agreed to have him join us, and it was a good thing that he came with us, for it gave us the opportunity to teach him a number of chapters of the Qur'an. At the end of the first evening of travel, all of us crewmen got ready to go to sleep. Our new passenger said, 'O people, the Lord that you guided me to, does He sleep?' We said,

هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ

'...He is the Ever Living, the One who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him...' [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255]

Read more: Stories of Repentance #5

There is an interesting story related about Deenaar Al-‘Ayaarرحمة لله علیھ. Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ had a righteous mother who would constantly advise him to repent for his wayward sinful existence, but as much as she tried, her words had no positive effect on him whatsoever. Then, one day, as he was walking by a graveyard, he stopped to pick up a bone. He was shocked to see how it crumbled and turned to dust in his hand. The sight of that bone had a profound effect on Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ. He began to think about his life and his past sins, and he then exclaimed, "Woe unto you, O Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ, you are going to end up like this crushed bone, and your body will turn into dust."All of his past sins then flashed before his eyes, and he made a firm resolve to repent. Turning his gaze towards the sky, he said, "My Lord, I now turn to you in complete submission, so accept me and have Mercy on me."

With a completely changed heart and state of mind, Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ went to his mother and said, "Mother, what does a master do when he captures his slave who had run away from him?" She said, "[To punish him] the master provides him with coarse clothing and low-quality food; and he ties his hands and feet so that he does not make another attempt to escape." Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ then said, "Then I want a garment made of coarse wool, low-quality barley, and two chains. Mother, do with me that which is done with a runaway slave. Perhaps my Lord upon seeing my humiliation and humility, will have mercy on me." Seeing that her son was adamant and resolute in his request, she complied.

At the beginning of every ensuing night, Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ would begin to cry and wail uncontrollably. And he would continue to repeat to himself the words, "Woe unto you, O Deenaar, do you have the power to withstand the Hell fire? How brazen you have been to have led a life that has made you deserving of the anger of the All-Mighty!" He would continue upon that state until the morning.Turning wan and pale, Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ's body slowly wasted away. Not being able to bear seeing him in that pitiable state, his mother said,  "My son, be easy on yourself." He answered, "My mother, let me remain tied for a short while, so that perhaps I can achieve long-term comfort later on. For tomorrow, I will be waiting a long time before my Majestic Lord, and I do not know whether He will order me to go to places of beautiful shade or to places of unspeakable horror." She said, "My son, at least rest for a while." He replied, "It is not present rest or comfort that I am seeking out. Mother, it is as if I see you and other people being led tomorrow towards Paradise, while I am being led towards the Hell-fire along with its inhabitants." She left him then, and he returned to crying, worshipping, and reciting the Qur'an. One night, as he was reciting the Qur'an, he came across these verses:

.فَوَرَبِّكَ لَنَسْأَلَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ عَمَّا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

"So, by your Lord, We shall certainly call all of them to account, for all that they used to do." [Surah Al-Hijr 15:92-93].

Read more: Stories of Repentance #4

A burglar scaled the wall of Hazrat Maalik ibn Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ's house one night and easily managed to get inside. Once inside the house, the thief was disappointed to see that there was nothing actually worth stealing inside. The owner of the home was inside at the time, busy performing Salaah. Realizing that he was not alone, Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ quickly ended his Salaah and turned around to face the thief. Without showing any sign of being shocked or afraid, Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ calmly extended greetings of peace and then said, "My brother, may Allah forgive you. You entered my home and found nothing that is worth taking, yet I do not want you to leave my home without taking away some benefit."He stood up, went to another part of the room, and came back with a jug full of water. He looked into the eyes of the burglar and said, 
"Make ablution and perform two rakaats of Salaah, for if you do so, you will leave my home with a greater treasure than you had initially sought when you entered it." Much humbled by Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ's manners and words, the thief said,"Yes, that is a generous offer indeed."

After making ablution and performing two rakaats of Salaah, the burglar said, "O Maalik رحمة لله علیھ, would you mind if I stayed for a while, for I want to stay to perform two more rakaats of salaah?"Hazrat Maalik رحمة لله علیھ said, "Stay for whatever amount of Salaah Allah decrees for you to perform now."The thief ended up spending the entire night at Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ's house. He continued to pray until the morning. Then Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ said, "Leave now and be good."But instead of leaving, the thief said, "Would you mind if I stayed here with you today, for I have made an intention to fast the day?"Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ said, "Stay as long as you wish,". The burglar ended up staying for a number of days, reading Salaah during the late hours of each night and fasting throughout the duration of each day. When he finally decided to leave, the burglar said, "O Maalikرحمة لله علیھ, I have made a firm resolve to repent for my sins and for my former way of life."Hazrat Maalikرحمة لله علیھ said, "Indeed, that is in the Hand of Allah."The man did mend his ways and began to lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah. Later on, he came across another burglar he knew. His friend said to him, "Have you found your treasure yet?"He said, "My brother, what I found is Maalik ibn Deenaarرحمة لله علیھ, I went to steal from him, but it was he who ended up stealing my heart. I have indeed repented to Allah, and I will remain at the door [of His Mercy and Forgiveness] until I achieve what his obedient, loving slaves have achieved."

A righteous man was once asked to tell the story of his life, the moment in which he first began to apply the teachings of Islam, and the following was his answer:

“When I was a young man, I would not hesitate to perpetrate any sin that was made available to me. Then, one day, I saw a young woman who was perhaps the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Much tempted by her, I indicated to her that I wanted her to approach me. She seemed nervous, but I thought that she would probably agree to satisfy my desires for money. She approached me with what seemed to be a great deal of apprehension, and when she actually stood before me, she looked extremely terrified.Feeling sorry for her, I said, 'Do not fear, for I will not harm you.'
But my words did not lessen her terrible fright in the least; in fact, her situation worsened. She began to tremble like a palm tree leaf trembles with the wind.I said, 'Tell me your story.' She said, 'By Allah, O my brother, never before this day have I offered my body in this way. Dire need is what has driven me to this, for I have three daughters who have not eaten a single morsel of food for three days now. It was pity for them that brought me to this low point in my life.'For the first time in my life, I felt pity; her story moved me, and I no longer entertained the intention of taking advantage of her.

After she told me where she lived, I took a great deal of money, clothing and food to her house. When I returned to my house, I told my mother what had happened.My mother knew that I had a book in which I would record all of my evil deeds, and so she said to me, 'My son, you are a man who has never performed a good deed except for the good deed that you performed today. I know that you have a book in which you record your evil exploits, go now and write in it your good deed.'I stood up, went to my book, opened it, and found that all of its pages were blank- except for the first page on which was written a single line.


اِنَّ الۡحَسَنٰتِ يُذۡهِبۡنَ السَّيِّاٰتِ
"...Indeed, good deeds remove the evil deeds..." Surat al-Hud [11:114]

At that very moment, I raised my hands to the sky and said, 'By your Might and Majesty, never again will I disobey You.' ”

Hazrat Fudayl ibn ‘Iyaad رحمة لله علیھ was famous for his piety and worship, but he was not always a practising Muslim. In his early years, Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ was a highway robber; he would prowl in the night for victims on the road. Alongside the cities that he used to rob was a small village in which lived a girl that Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ was in love with. One night, out of desperation to be with her, Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ climbed the wall of her home. As he was climbing over it, he heard a voice recite:

أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ

"Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah..." (Surah Al-Hadeed 57, Ayah 16.)

At that moment, Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ answered, "O my Lord, the time has indeed come." He returned from where he came and sought refuge near a travelling party on the main road. They were busy engaging in a serious discussion. Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ heard one of them say, "Let us continue our journey now." Another answered, "No, not until the morning, for Fudayl is lurking on the road somewhere out there, just waiting to rob us."Having heard the entire conversation, Hazrat Fudayl رحمة لله علیھ thought to himself,
"I go around in the night to sin, while a group of Muslims remain here because they fear me. Indeed I feel that Allah has brought me here to them only so that I can reform my character. O Allah, I indeed repent to you!"

 

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