Thursday 28th of September 2023
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Al-Asmaei and the repentant Bedouin

Al-Asmaei says, ‘One day I left Basra after I have offered Friday Prayer. I met a Bedouin on a she-camel with a bayonet in his hand. When he saw me he said, ‘Who are you and where have you come from?’ I said to him, ‘I am from the tribe of Asma’.’ He said, ‘Are you the one who is known as al-Asmaei?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ He asked, ‘Where have you come from?’ I said, ‘From the House of Allah.’ He said, ‘Does Allah have a house?’

I said, ‘It is the Kaaba; the inviolable House of Allah.’ He said, ‘What were you doing there?’ I said, ‘I was reciting the speech of Allah.’ He said, ‘Does Allah have speech?’ I said, ‘Yes. It is wonderful speech.’ He said, ‘Recite something of it to me!’ I recited something from the sura of ath-Thaariyat until I reached this verse,

“And in the heaven is your sustenance and that which you are promised.” Qur'an, 51:22

He said, ‘Is this the speech of Allah?’ I said, ‘Yes, it is His speech that He has revealed to His slave Muhammad (s).’ When he heard this, as if he was struck with a thunderbolt from the unseen. His state terribly changed and he was affected by this speech from the bottom of his inners. He threw his bayonet and sword on the ground. He slaughtered his she-camel and distributed its meat among the poor and needy people. He put off his suspicious cloths and said, ‘Do you think that Allah accepts from one who has not served Him during his youth?’ I said, ‘If He does not accept, then why did He sent the prophets with missions? They are responsible for returning the fugitive and guiding the shunner.’ He said, ‘Treat me with your medicine and cure my wound with your drugs.’ I recited to him the rest of the sura of ath-Thaariyat,

“And by the Lord of the heavens and the earth! it is most surely the truth, just as you do speak.” Qur'an, 51:23

When he heard that, he threw himself to the ground, cried with a very great cry and ran towards the desert confusedly. I did not see him after that until the season of the hajj. I saw him cling to the curtains of the Kaaba while saying, ‘Who is like me while You are my Lord?! Who is like me while You are my Lord?!’

I said to him, ‘You, with this speech and this doing, have prevented the people of Allah from circumambulating (around the Kaaba).’ He said, ‘O Asmaei, the House is His House and the slave is His slave. Let me pray and call on Him.’ Then he recited some verses of poetry and disappeared in the crowd. I looked for him but I could not find him. I worried for that and lost my patience and began crying.’[1]

Truthfulness that causes repentance

Once there was a group of highwaymen in the desert looking for a traveler or a caravan to rob their monies. Suddenly they saw a traveler at a distance. They attacked him and said to him, ‘Give us all what you have!’ He said, ‘All what I have is eighty dinars. I have borrowed forty dinars and I have to spend the rest on my living and my travel until I reach my country.’

The chief of the robbers said, ‘Let him alone. The signs of wretchedness and poverty appear clearly on him and he has no money except what is with him.’

The man left and the robbers remained waiting for another prey. But this traveler reached his country, paid his debt back and came back again in the same way. He found the same robbers who said to him, ‘Give us all what you have or we will kill you.’ He said, ‘I had eighty dinars. I paid forty of them for the debt and I have to spend the rest on my living.’ The chief of the robbers ordered his men to frisk him. They did not find in his cloths save forty dinars. The chief said to him, ‘Tell me the truth. What made you, in spite of danger, say the truth with no fear?’ he said, ‘I have promised my mother since my childhood not to say but the truth and not to pollute myself with lying.’

The highwaymen burst into laughter but their chief sighed and said, ‘How strange! You have promised your mother not to say except the truth and you have kept your promise till now but I have not kept the promise that is between me and Allah where He has put us under the obligation to obey Him and not to disobey Him!’ Then he cried, ‘O my Lord, since now I will carry out my promise with You. Repentance! Repentance! Repentance!’

Wonderful repentance

At the time of the Prophet (s) there was a man living in Medina who had the mien of gravity, benevolence and purity as if he was among the believers and the benevolent people. But this man went out some nights and away from the eyes of people to break into some houses to rob them.

One night and when he climbed up a wall of one of the houses he saw much furniture in the courtyard of the house and there was no one in the house except a young woman. He said to himself “I will win two pleasures; stealing the furniture and enjoying this woman.”

At that moment the rays of the unseen shone in his heart and lit the way to his mind. He sat in a corner pondering and then said to himself, “Shall I not die after all these sins and disobediences? Will Allah not receive me after my death and punish me for what I have committed? Shall I find a way on that day (of Resurrection) to flee from the Divine punishment and torment? On that day I shall be afflicted with the wrath of Allah and shall be burnt in the eternal fire of Hell.”

After pondering he felt very sorry and went back home empty-handed. In the morning he went out of his house with the appearance of the faithful and the mien of the benevolent. He came to the mosque and sat near the Prophet (s). Suddenly he saw that woman in the mosque. She came to the Prophet (s) and said to him, ‘I am unmarried woman and I have a big wealth. I have not intended to get married before but last night I imagined as if a thief had come to my house. Although he did not steal anything but he cause me to fear too much. Now I do not dare to live in the house alone. If you please to choose me a husband!’

The Prophet (s) pointed at that thief and said to the woman, ‘If you want to get married, I marry you now to that man.’ She said, ‘I have no objection.’

The Prophet (s) concluded the agreement of marriage between her and that man and they both went to the house. He told her what had happened last night and told her that he was the thief. He said to her that if he had stolen the house and pleased himself with her for some moments, he would have committed great sins and no doubt he would have pleased himself with her for that night only but because he had remembered Allah and the Day of Punishment and refrained from committing the sins, Allah had willed to let him enter her house from the door and to live with her happily forever.[2]

Repentance of Bishr al-Hafi

Bishr was a man of amusements and pleasures. One day Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kadhim (s) passed by Bishr’s house in Baghdad and he heard the voices of amusements, music and singing coming out of that house. Then a bondmaid came out carrying some sweeping and threw it in the street. Imam al-Kadhim (s) said to the bondmaid, ‘Is the owner of this house a free man or a slave?’ She said, ‘He is a free man.’

Imam al-Kadhim (s) said to her, ‘You are right! If he was a slave, he would fear his Lord?’

When the bondmaid came into the house, her master, while he was at the table of drinking, said to her, ‘Why did you come back late?’ She said, ‘A man said to me so-and-so…’ He went out bare-footed until he met Imam al-Kadhim (s). He repented before him. He apologized and cried before Imam al-Kadhim (s) feeling shy of his doings.[3]

The repentant will be in Paradise

Mo’awiya bin Wahab has narrated, ‘Once we left Mecca and with us there was a worshipping old man who knew nothing about this matter.[4] He offered full prayers (instead of shortened prayers) in the travel. His nephew, who was a Muslim, was with him. The old man became ill and I said to his nephew, ‘Would you tell him the truth so that Allah may save him?’ The others said, ‘Let him die as he is!’ His nephew could not be patient and he said to his uncle, ‘O uncle, The people have apostatized after the messenger of Allah (s) except some of them and the right (of the caliphate) and obedience were to Ali bin Abu Talib (s) after the messenger of Allah (s).’ The old man breathed and said, ‘I am on this.’ Then he died.

When we came to Abu Abdullah (s), Ali bin as-Sariy told him of this story and Abu Abdullah (s) said, ‘He is a man of Paradise.’ Ali bin as-Sariy said, ‘But he did not acknowledge that except for a moment before his death!’ Abu Abdullah (s) said, ‘Then what do you want from him? By Allah, he will be in Paradise.’[5]

Repentance of Abu Lubaba

When the battle of al-Khandaq came to an end and the Prophet (s) came back to Medina, Gabriel came down to him at noon and ordered him to go to fight the Jews of bani Quraydha who had broken their covenant with the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) ordered the Muslims to get ready and to offer Asr Prayer there. When the Prophet (s) blockaded the Jews, they said to him, ‘Send us Abu Lubaba to counsel with him our affair.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘O Abu Lubaba, go to your allies!’ He went to them and they said to him, ‘O Abu Lubaba, what do you see if we submit to Muhammad?’ He said to them, ‘Submit to him but know well that you will be killed.’ And he pointed to his throat. Then he felt sorry for that and said, ‘I have betrayed Allah and His messenger.’ He went to the mosque, tied a rope around his neck and fastened it to the column of the mosque which was called “the column of repentance” later on. He said, ‘I will not untie the rope until I die or that Allah will accept my repentance.’ When the Prophet (s) was informed of that, he said, ‘If he came to us, we would pray Allah to forgive him but as he has turned to Allah so Allah is worthier of him.’ Abu Lubaba fasted during the day and ate in the night what could keep him alive only. His daughter brought him food and untied him when needing to go to the water closet. Some time later, Allah revealed to the Prophet (s) while he was in the house of his wife Umm Salama that Abu Lubaba’s repentance had been accepted. The Prophet (s) said to Umm Salama, ‘O Umm Salama, Allah has accepted the repentance of Abu Lubaba.’ She said to him, ‘O messenger of Allah, let you tell him that!’ The Prophet (s) said to her, ‘Let you do that!’ She took her head out of the room and said, ‘O Abu Lubaba, Allah has accepted your repentance.’ He said, ‘Praise be to Allah!’ The Muslims jumped to untie him but he said, ‘No, by Allah, until the messenger of Allah unties me.’ The Prophet (s) came to him and said, ‘O Abu Lubaba, Allah has accepted your repentance that if you are born today it will suffice you.’ Abu Lubaba said, ‘O messenger of Allah, do I pay all my money as charity?’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘No, you do not.’ He said, ‘Two thirds of it?’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘A half of it?’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘No.’ Then he said, ‘One third?’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Yes, you do.’[6]

Repentance of the blacksmith

The narrator of this story says, ‘One day I went to the market of the blacksmiths in Basra and I saw one of them take a hot piece of iron with his bare hands, put it on the anvil and his boy hammer it. I became astonished at seeing that and how the flaming iron did not affect his hands. I asked the blacksmith about that and he said, ‘Sometime rainlessness had afflicted the city of Basra where people began dying of hunger. One day a young woman, who was our neighbor, came to me and said, ‘I am afraid that my children may die of hunger. Could you help us with some food?’ when I saw her beauty, I loved her. I suggested to her to commit the sin. She felt shy and hastened to her house.

After some days she came to my house and said, ‘O man, I fear for my children to die. Fear Allah and come to help us!’ I asked her to make love with her again but she felt shy and went out of my house.

Two days later she came to me and said, ‘I submit to you just to save the lives of my orphan children but please take me to an empty place so that no one can see us.’ I took her to an empty place but when I wanted to sleep with her, I saw her tremble terribly. I said to her, ‘What is the matter with you?’ She said, ‘You have promised to take me to an empty place but I see that you want to commit the sin with me before five lookers.’ I said, ‘O woman, there is no one in this house. Where are the five persons?’ She said, ‘The two angels who are responsible for me, the two angels who are responsible for you and Allah the Almighty Who sees our doings. How can I commit this sin before all of these ones?’

Her speech affected me too much that I began trembling and I did not let myself be polluted with sin. I left her alone and helped her with food until the time of barrenness elapsed. I saved her and her orphans from death and so she prayed Allah for me with this prayer “O my Lord, as this slave of Yours has put out the fire of his lust for the sake of You, protect him from the fire of this world and the afterworld!’ Thus fire did not affect my body at all.’

[1] Tafseer Kashful Asrar, vol.9 p.319.

[2] Asrar al-Mi’raj, p.28.

[3] Rawdhaat al-Jannaat, vol.2 p.130.

[4] That the Prophet (s) had died, many Muslims apostatized and the caliphate was Imam Ali’s right.

[5] Usool Al-Kafi, vol.2 p.441.

[6] Tafseer al-Burhan, vol.2 p.155.

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