Anecdote on Repentance

This gem was taken from Dunia’s Stranger’s blog.

Anecdote on Repentance

From Imaam ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi’s Kitaab at-Tawwaabeen

When Maalik ibn Dinar [the well-known taabi’ee] was asked about the causes of his tawbah [repentance] he said:

“I was a policeman and I was given to drinking. I bought a beautiful slave who gave me a daughter [he named her Faatimah]. I doted over my daughter and when she began to crawl on all fours I grew even fonder of her. Whenever I put a strong drink In front of me she would come to me and pull me away from it, or she would spill it from me. When she completed two years she died. I became consumed with grief over her loss. When the night of mid Sha’baan came – it was the night before Jumu’ah – I stayed home and drank.

I did not pray the ‘Isha prayer. Then I had a dream that the Day of Judgment had begun, the Trumpet was blown, the graves gave up their dead, mankind was gathered up, and I was among them. I heard something behind me. I turned around and saw a dragon of indescribable size, blue-black, rushing for me with wide open jaws. I fled in terror. I passed by a Shaykh dressed in spotless clothes, exuding a fragrant smell. I greeted him and he greeted me back. I said to him ‘O Shaykh! Protect me from this dragon, and may Allaah protect you!’ The Shaykh wept and said: ‘I am weak and it is stronger than me, I cannot overcome it. Go quickly, perhaps Allaah will grant you something that will save you from it.’

I turned and resumed my flight. I climbed up onto one of the promontories of the Day of Resurrection overlooking the layers of Hellfire. I looked at the horror they contained and almost fell in for fear of the dragon. But a crier cried out to me: ‘Go back! You are not amongst its mates.’ His words stilled my fears and I went back. But the dragon again pursued me. I went back to the Shaykh and said: ‘O Shaykh! I begged you to protect me from this dragon but you didn’t protect me.’ Again he wept and said: ‘I am weak, but proceed to this mountain. In it are kept the stores (wada’i’) of Muslims. If there is something in store (wadi’a) for you, then it will help you.’

I looked and saw a round-shaped mountain of silver topped with domes of hollowed pearl and hanging drapes, and every dome had two large gates of red gold encrusted with emeralds and pearls and overhung with drapes of silk. When I saw the mountain I fled to it with the dragon in hot pursuit. As I approached the mountain one of the angels cried: ‘Raise up the veils, open the gates, and look out! Perhaps this wretched one has something in store with you that will save him from his enemy.’ At this the veils were lifted, the gates were opened, and out of the palaces came children with faces like full moons.

The dragon was catching up to me and I was near despair. One of the children cried: ‘Woe to you! Come and see, all of you! His enemy is very near him.’ Whereupon the children came one wave after another and among them was the dear daughter of mine that had died two years before. When she saw me she wept and said: ‘My father, by Allaah!’ Then she leapt in a carriage of light and came near me with the speed of an arrow. She put her left hand in my right hand and I held onto her. Then she stretched her right hand towards the dragon and it turned around and fled. My daughter bade me sit, then she sat in my lap and began to stroke my beard and said: ‘ O my father! ‘Has not the time come for those who believe, that their hearts become humble in the remembrance of Allaah?’ (57:16).’ I began to weep and said: ‘O my daughter, you children know the Qur’aan?’ She replied: ‘My father! We know it better then you.’ I said to her: ‘Tell me about the dragon which wanted to destroy me.’ She said: ‘Those were your evil deeds which you built up and strengthened, and they wanted to take you to the Hellfire.’ I asked: ‘What about the Shaykh I passed by?’ She replied: ‘O my father, those were your righteous deeds, you made them weak until they were no match for your evil deeds.’ I said: ‘O my daughter! What are you all doing in this mountain?’ she said: ‘We are the children of Muslims, we have been given this dwelling until the Hour rises. We wait whatever you send forth to us, and we intercede for you.’

Then I awoke in a start and saw that morning had come. I flung the potion (alcohol) from me and shattered the drinking cups, and I repented to Allaah and that was the reason for my repentence.”

I have also heard it said that when Maalik ibn Dinaar awoke, he was screaming, ‘the time has indeed come, the time has indeed come!!’ [in response to the ayah quoted by his daughter], and that he then made ghusl and went to pray fajr at the masjid, intending repentance, and that when he walked into the masjid, he found the imaam reading that very ayah, ” Has not the time come for those who believe, that their hearts become humble in the remembrance of Allaah?”, and he repented.

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