Stories of Repentance

Zaazaan رحمة لله علیھ was a saint and a scholar of hadeeth. He was blessed to meet ‘Umar رضي الله عنه, ‘Ali رضي الله عنه and many other Sahaabah رضي الله عنه, and was one of the special students of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه.

Before he became a great saint and scholar, Zaazaanرحمة لله علیھ was ‘living the life’ and was involved in sin. However, Allah Ta‘ala inspired him to repent and change his life at the hands of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه.

The following is the personal story of Zaazaan رحمة لله علیھ in which he describes how Allah Ta‘ala guided him and inspired him to reform himself. He says:

When I was a youngster, I had a melodious voice and was talented in playing the drum. Once, I was with a group of friends who were listening to me singing songs. While we were enjoying our party, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه happened to pass by. When he heard the singing and music, he came towards us and kicked the jugs of wine, causing all the wine to spill. He then snatched the drum from me and threw it on the ground, breaking it. Finally, he turned to me and said, “O youngster! If you used your melodious voice to recite the Quraan Majeed, you would really become something!” After saying that, he suddenly left.

I turned to my friend and asked him, “Who was this person?” He replied, “That was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه.” At that moment, Allah Ta‘ala inspired me to repent. I ran after ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه with tears streaming down my face. He had just arrived at the door of his home and was about to enter when I reached him and held onto his clothing. He turned to me and asked, “Who are you?” I replied, “I am the person who was playing the drum.” ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه realized that I had come to repent and change my life, and so he hugged me and cried in joy and happiness. He then said, “Welcome to the one whom Allah Ta‘ala loves (and thus inspired to repent). Sit here!” ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه then entered his home and brought some dates for me to eat saying, “Eat from these dates. If I had any food besides this, I would have served that to you as well.”

Ibn Jowzi رحمة لله علیھ narrates that once he went to Egypt and saw an amazing sight. I saw a blacksmith who would take the glowing iron out of his furnace using his bare hands! He would even place the iron on his anvil and turn it with his hands, not feeling any pain from the heat of the glowing iron!

When I saw this extraordinary sight, I thought to myself, “This must be a very pious man! After all, the fire is unable to burn him!” I then went up to him and greeted him with salaam. I thereafter said, “O my master! I ask you in the name of that Being who blessed you with this miracle to please make du‘aa for me!” Hearing my request, the blacksmith began to cry and exclaimed, “My brother! By Allah! I am not the pious person that you think I am!” I replied, “O my brother! This miracle which I saw you perform is something that only pious people are able to do.” The blacksmith answered, “There is a strange incident behind this miracle.” The blacksmith thereafter narrated the following incident:

I was once busy in my business when I suddenly realized that there was a woman in front of me. When I looked up, I saw that her face was the most beautiful face that I had ever seen before. The woman began to beg me saying, “O my brother! Do you have anything to give us for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala?” I was captivated by her sight and infatuated by her beauty. I replied, “Why don’t you come to my home? There I will give you something and see to your needs.” On hearing my suggestion, she looked at me in silence for some time. Eventually, she turned and left. After some time, however, she returned and said, “Desperation has forced me to accept your offer,” So I locked my business and took her home.

When we reached my home, she begged me saying, “I have children that I left in starvation. Please give me something and allow me to go and feed them! I will return after they have eaten.” After making her promise that she would return, I gave her some silver coins and watched as she left to feed her children. When she returned, I led her into my home and turned to lock the door. “Why are you locking the door?” she asked. “I fear the people.” I replied. “And why do you not fear the Lord of all the people?” she asked. “He is Forgiving and Merciful.” I said. I then made advances towards her and found that tears were streaming down her cheeks and she was trembling, just as palm leaves tremble in the wind. “Why are you trembling and crying?” I asked. “Out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala.” she answered.

The woman then turned to me and begged, “If you leave me for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, I will stand guarantee that Allah Ta‘ala will not punish you with fire in this world and in the next.” When I heard her say this, I was shaken. I immediately stood and gave her all my wealth saying, “I have left you because I fear Allah Ta‘ala!”

After some time, I fell asleep and had a dream. In the dream, I saw a woman wearing a crown of red rubies. She had the most beautiful face that I had ever seen. She said to me, “May Allah Ta‘ala give you a good reward on our behalf.” “Who are you?” I asked. “I am the mother of the girl whom you left out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala. May Alah Ta‘ala never punish you with fire, neither in this world nor the next.” I next said to her, “Please tell me who she is and which family she is from.” The woman replied, “She is from the family of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

When I awoke from my sleep, I found that the fire of this world could not harm me. I have hope that the fire of the Hereafter will not harm me as well.

During the Khilafat  of Hazrat Umar bin al-Khattabرضي الله عنه, Hazrat Sa'eed bin 'Amirرضي الله عنه was the governor of Hims, a city in Shaam. When Hazrat Umar رضي الله عنه visited Hims to see how things were going there, he was met by a large group of people who began to complain to him about Hazrat  Sa'eed رضي الله عنه.

They found fault with him in four matters. First, they said, he would not come out to them until mid-morning. Second, he would refuse to answer any caller during the night. Third, once a month, he would stay away from the people. And fourth, once in a while, Sa'eed رضي الله عنه would faint and lose consciousness for no apparent reason.

Hazrat Umar رضي الله عنه asked Hazrat Sa'eed رضي الله عنه to respond to their complaints.

In regard to the first complaint, Hazrat  Sa'eed رضي الله عنه explained that he had no servant and that, every morning, he had to crush his own wheat in order to make bread. As soon as he would finish making his bread, he said, he would then go out to serve the people.

As for not answering any callers during the night, he said that he dedicated his days to serving the people and his nights to worshipping Allah. 

As for not going out to the people once a month, he explained that he had only one garment and that he washed it once a month and had to then wait until it dried.

As for passing out every so often, he gave this explanation: 

"When I was a mushrik, I witnessed the brutal execution of Hazrat Habib al-Ansaari رضي الله عنه in Makkah. I saw how Quraish cut up his flesh little by little. They said to Habib رضي الله عنه , 'Do you now want Muhammad to take your place?' He said, 'By Allah, I would not want to be safe with myself, my family and my children if Muhammad were even to be pricked by a thorn.' Every time I remember that day and how I refrained from helping Hazrat Habib رضي الله عنه, for I was a mushrik and did not believe in Allah, the All-Mighty- I begin to think that Allah Ta’ala, the Possessor of Might and Majesty, will never forgive me. It is then that I faint, O Leader of the Believers."

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.' "

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.”

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.

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?"

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