a moving story of tawbahFeb 10, 2005 · 6 minute read · Comments
pieces. so i was listening to a lecture about tawbah [repentance] by amr khaled [http://www.amrkhaled.net] from the series of “isla7 al quloob,” or fixing/purifying of the heart… and in one of those lectures was, what i felt, was a really moving story.
the story was that of malik ibn dinar, who is one of the imams or leaders of the tabi3een who was known to be very pious.
but malik ibn dinar didn’t start off as a pious man. malik ibn dinar tells his story. he says that he began his life as a drunk person, as a disobedient person, as a person who would eat other people’s rights, as a person who was so bad that people would avoid him because of how bad he was.
he says, “this was the way my life was, until one day, i really wanted to settle down, get married, and have a daughter that i could play with and spend time with. and so i got married and i had a daughter. i named her fatima. i loved her a lot, and the older she got, the stronger in my heart my iman grew, and disobedience became less in my heart. and one day fatima saw me holding a cup of alcohol, and she came close to me and pushed it away even though she was only 2 years old. and it was as though Allah made her do that. and the older she got, the more my iman increased, and i kept leaving the disobediences.”
“this continued until fatima reached 3 years of age. once she reached 3 years old, she died. so i became worse and worse than i used to be before. and shaytan kept messing with me, until one day, my shaytan told me, ‘tonight you will get drunk to such an extent that you’ve never gotten ever before’ - so i drank, and drank, and drank all night until i fell. and then i saw myself going through dream after dream until i came to this particular dream.”
“i found myself in the day of judgement, and the sun had darkened, and the seas had turned into fire, and the earth had split asunder, and the people were all gathered for the day of judgement, and the people were all gathered groups and groups and i am between the people. and i hear a caller calling, ‘so and so son of so and so, come to be presented in front of the Compeller’ - and i see that person’s face turn totally black.”
“until i heard the caller call, ‘malik ibn dinar, come to be presented in front of the Compeller’ – and then all the people disappeared from around me, and as if there was no one else in the land except me - and then i saw a huge snake that looked really strong and large, with its mouth open rushing towards me. so i began to run in a state of great fear. so i saw an old, weak man, so i ran up to him and said, ‘save me from this snake,’ and he said, ‘i am weak, i can’t do anything to help you, but run in that direction and maybe you’ll be saved.’ - so i ran towards the direction that he pointed in while in great fear, until i saw the fire in front of me. so i wondered to myself, ‘shall i flee from the snake to end up in the fire?’ - so i returned running and the snake was coming closer, and i returned to the old man and said, ‘by God, help me, save me!’ – so he cried feeling sorry for my condition, and then said, ‘i am weak as you see, i can’t do anything for you, but run towards this mountain and you might be saved.’”
he says, “so i ran towards the mountain with the snake just about to get me, and i saw little kids on the mountain. and i heard the kids screaming, ‘oh fatima, save your father, save your father’ – so i knew it was my daughter, and i was happy that i had a daughter that died when she was young so she could save me in such a situation. so she took me by her right hand and pushed the snake away with her left hand, and i am like a dead person from how scared i was.”
and he continues saying what happened in the dream, saying, “then she sat in my lap like she used to in the world, and said to me, ‘oh my father, “has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”’ (57:16)”
“so i said oh my daughter, tell me about this snake.” she said, “that is your bad deeds, you fed it and made it grow until it was about to eat you. did you not know oh my father that deeds from the world come back in a body shape/form on the day of judgement?” so i asked, “what about the weak man?” she said, “that is your good deeds. you made it weak and feeble, until it cried out of feeling sorry for your situation and couldn’t do anything for you. and if it weren’t for the fact that you had me, and if it weren’t for the fact that i died while i was young, there would have been nothing to have helped you.”
he says, “so i woke up from my sleep while i was screaming, saying, ‘the time has indeed come, the time has indeed come’ (in response to the question asked by his daughter which came from the ayah, “has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”’ (57:16)“).”
he says, “then i made ghusul and went to salat al-fajr at the masjid, intending repentance and returning to Allah, and i walked in the masjid and found the imam reading the same ayah, “has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah…”’ (57:16),” and he repented.
so that’s the story. i thought it was amazing, although i think i butchered it by my attempted translation. but the meaning is still there.