Coming to Terms with the Reality of Life
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.
Stories of Repentance #22
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.”
The Accepted Repentance
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?"
Stories of Repentance #20
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..."