Stories of Repentance #2
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."
Stories of Repentance #1
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!"
If You Really Want To Disobey Allah...
A man came to Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham, and said, "Abu Ishaq, I am unable to control myself and I continually wrong my own self, and I turn away from everything that invites me to improve my way of life. Please give me something to help me with it""If you accept five conditions," said Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham, "and are able to put them into practice, your disobedience will not cause you any problem and sinning will never harm you, and you can fulfil your desires as much as you want.""Just tell me what they are the man said. "The first is that when you want to disobey Allah you do not eat anything He provides." "Then how will I get anything to eat? Everything on the earth is from Him!" "So is it right to eat His provision and disobey Him at the same time?" replied Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham."No, it is not. What is the second condition?" "When you want to disobey Him, move off His land.""That is even more difficult! Exclaimed the man. "In that case where will I live?""Is it right to eat his provision and live on His land and then to disobey Him?" asked Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham. "No, it is not.""What is the third condition?" "When you want to disobey Him in spite of eating His provision and living on His land, find a place where He will not see you and disobey Him there.""What do you mean, Ibrahim? He knows everything that happens even in the most hidden places!" "So is it right to disobey Him when you eat His provision and live on His land and when you know that He can see everything you do?" "It certainly is not!" the man replied."Tell me the fourth condition." "That when the Angel of Death arrives to take your soul, you say to him, 'Give me chance so that I can repent and do good deeds.'""But he won't listen to me!" "Then if you cannot ward off death long enough to give yourself time to repent, and you know that when it comes there will be no chance, how can you hope to be saved?""What is the fifth?" "That when the angels of the Fire come to you to take you to the Fire, you do not go with them." "They will take me whether I like it or not!" exclaimed the man."So how can you hope to be saved?"The man replied, "Stop, stop! that is enough for me. I ask Allah to forgive me and I indeed repent to Him."The man then dedicated his life to the worship of Allah Ta’ala from that day.
This story presents us with conditions that if we fulfil them then we can be free to commit sin. However it soon becomes obvious that every condition is impossible to fulfil and therefore we should avoid sin to the best of our ability.
Man's Share in the Divine Attributes of Al - Rahmaan and Al - Rahim
Imam Al - Ghazali ( ra) states:
"The share of the servant in the name Al - Rahmaan lies in showing mercy to the negligent servants of Allah , by way of dissuading them from the path of disobedience towards Allah , through advice and counseling , by way of gentleness and not harshness , treating the sinners with the eye of mercy, and not with the eye of contempt ; letting every sin perpetrated in the world be as if his own sin , so sparing no effort to remove it to the best of his ability : all out of mercy to the that sinner , lest he be exposed to the wrath of Allah , and so deserve to be removed from closeness to Him."
"The servant's share in the name of Al- Rahim lies in ( not ) turning away any needy person , except by fulfilling his needs , to the extent of his ability, nor abandoning any poor in his neighborhood or city , except by undertaking to relieve their poverty - either from his own wealth or reputation or otherwise by interceding on his behalf with another . If he is unable to do all that , he should assist the poor person by prayer, and by showing grief on account of his need, in sympathy and compassion towards him, as though he was sharing in his misfortune and need. "
( translated from the Arabic text: المقصد الأسنى شرح اسماء الله الحسنى ، للأمام الغزالى )