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Wednesday 21st of April 2021
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Stories of repentant people

Stories of repentant people

Stories of repentant people

“In their histories there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding.” Qur'an,12:111.

The ideal woman

Asiya was the wife of the Pharaoh who was arrogant, wicked and malicious besides his bad beliefs and reprobate doings.

The Holy Qur'an describes the Pharaoh that he was unjust, proud, criminal, bloodshedder and tyrant.

Asiya sat on the throne beside the Pharaoh as the queen of that great country where everything was in her hand.

Asiya was a ruler as her husband was. She had great authorities and she could take whatever she wanted from the treasury of the kingdom and the wealth of the country.

Of course, the life beside such a husband in that form of government and power and that royal palace, which was full of servants, slaves and retinue, was a life full of pleasure, entertainment and happiness.

But this young woman, who was powerful and in that fascinating environment, one day heard the voice of the truth and the call of reality via the messenger of Allah Moses the son of Imran (s). She knew then the nullity of her belief, the falseness of her culture and the ugliness of her husband’s deeds. The light of the truth shone in her heart and in spite of that, she knew well that accepting this truth would make her lose all what she had of power, position and wealth and even she might lose herself and life too, in spite of all that, she did not cling to her luxurious environment. She accepted the truth and believed in the Divine religion and she submitted to Allah the Almighty. She got ready to enter the field of repentance and to do good deeds to reform her afterlife.

Repentance was not an easy and simple thing to Asiya. She must, for the sake of repentance, leave all the affairs of her life and get prepared for blame, scold and different kinds of torment from the Pharaoh and his assistants. Nevertheless, she entered the field of repentance, faith, guidance and good deeds. Her repentance cost the Pharaoh too much because it was spread in the town that the wife of the Pharaoh, the powerful queen, had given up the belief of her husband and believed in the religion of Moses the messenger of Allah. All the means of tempting and threatening by the Pharaoh and his assistants did not affect her because she had found the truth with her heart and mind and she discovered the emptiness and falseness of the mirage reality of the authority. She could not replace the light of the truth with the darkness of the untruth and the abyss of deviation. Yes! How could she replace Allah with the Pharaoh, the truth with the untruth, light with darkness, right with wrong, the afterlife with the worldly life, Paradise with Hell and happiness with wretchedness?

Thus Asiya insisted on faith, repentance and turning to Allah and on the other side the Pharaoh insisted on taking her back to falseness and to his company.

When the Pharaoh saw that all the means did not make any use with Asiya to bring her back to his company, he became too angry and he felt that he had been defeated before her steadfastness. He gave his command to torture her and to crucify her and thus Asiya was hung with nails in her hands and legs and then after severe torment she was sentenced to death. The Pharaoh ordered his men to throw a big and heavy rock on her body but Asiya was patient before all that for the sake of Allah. She prayed Allah, under that cruel torment, to accept her repentance and her turning to Him.

Thus we find the Holy Qur'an giving the example of Asiya, the wife of the Pharaoh, for all the human beings and the believing men and women as an example of noble and virtuous man. It is because of her real repentance, faith, jihad, patience, certainty, steadfastness and determination so that no excuse remains for sinful persons in every nation and at every time. No sinful person, after this, can say that he, in certain states and circumstances, has had no way to repent, turn to Allah, believe and do good deeds. Allah has said,

“And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe the wife of Firon (Pharaoh) when she said: My Lord! build for me a house with Thee in the garden and deliver me from Firon and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people.” Qur'an, 66:11

Asiya has got a high position of greatness, honor and dignity for her repentance, faith, patience and straightness that the Prophet (s) has said about her, ‘Paradise has longed for four women; Maryam (Mary) bint[1] Imran, Asiya bint Muzahim the wife of the Pharaoh, Khadeeja bint Khuwailid, the wife of the Prophet (s) in the worldly life and in the afterlife, and Fatima bint Muhammad.’[2]


The Repentance of Sha’wana

Mulla Ahmad an-Naraqi in his moral book Mi’raj as-Sa’ada concerning real repentance mentions a wonderful story about that. He says,

‘Sha’wana was a young girl. She was a dancer and she had a nice voice. She did not care for permissible or impermissible things. Whenever a meeting of debauchery was held in Basra in which young people and wealthy men gathered, Sha’wana was invited to delight them. She sang and danced to move in those polluted people pleasure and joy. With Sha’wana, there was a group of women and young girls.

One day while Sha’wana was going with her friends to a meeting of the same meetings of her, she heard painful weeping and loud crying coming from one of the houses. She was astonished. She asked, ‘What is the matter? What is that crying for?’ She sent one of her friends to see what the matter was. Her friend went but she did not come back. She sent another one to that house but she did not come back too. She sent a third woman to see what the matter was and she insisted on her to come back and not to let her wait too long. She went and after sometime she came back and said, ‘O my lady, this crying was of the sinful and dissolute people.’

Sha’wana said, ‘It would be better that I myself go and see what is there.’ She approached that meeting and saw a preacher preaching the people and talking to them about the hereafter and reciting through his speech this Qur’anic verse,

“When it shall come into their sight from a distant place, they shall hear its (Hell) vehement raging and roaring. And when they are cast into a narrow place in it, bound, they shall there call out for destruction.” Qur'an, 25:13

When she heard this verse and knew its meaning with her heart and soul, she cried and said, ‘O preacher! I am one of the sinful women. I am polluted with sins and now I feel shy and regretful. Will my repentance be accepted by Allah the Creator?’

The preacher said, ‘Yes, your sins can be forgiven even if they are as much as the sins of Sha’wana!’ She said, ‘Woe unto me! I am Sha’wana. My sins have become so much that I have become as an example to sinful people. O preacher, since now I give up sins and become abstinent and I will never attend the meetings of debauchery.’

The preacher said, ‘Allah is the most Merciful of the merciful ones even to you.’

Thus Sha’wana repented in a real repentance and became one of the real worshippers until her body, which had grown out of (the monies of) sins, melted, her heart suffered and crying and weeping pained her too much. One day she looked at herself and said, ‘Ah! This is my life in this world so how about my afterlife!’ She heard from her inside a voice saying to her, ‘Keep on worship and you will know how your afterlife will be.’



[1] “Bint” means daughter of.

[2] Al-Khisaal, p.195.

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