Wednesday 21st of April 2021
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The truthful one and the repentant one

The truthful one and the repentant one

It has been mentioned that Abu Umar al-Zujaji, who was a pious man, had said, ‘My mother died and I inherited a house. I sold the house for fifty dinars and I went to perform the hajj. When I arrived at Babylon, one of the members of the caravan met me and said, ‘What is there with you?’ I said to myself, ‘Truthfulness is good.’ I said to him, ‘Fifty dinars.’ He said, ‘Give them to me!’ I gave him the pouch. He opened it and he saw the fifty dinars. He said to me, ‘Take them! I have been taken by your truthfulness.’ Then he got down of his sumpter and said to me, ‘Ride it!’ I said, ‘I do not want.’ He insisted on me and I rode it. He said, ‘I will follow you.’ In the next year he joined me and he kept to me until he died.’[1]

The neighbor of Abu Baseer

One has to take care of his neighbors in everything and has to be as a kind brother to them. He has to care for their problems, comfort them in their sorrows, help them in the different affairs of their lives and support them in the disasters. But the neighbor of Abu Baseer was not of this kind.

Abu Baseer said, ‘I had a neighbor who followed the rulers and therefore he had got a plenty of money. He bought some songsters and he often made meetings and drank wines. He always troubled me. I complained at him to himself more than one time but he did not desist from his doings. When I insisted on him, he said to me, ‘O man, I am afflicted and you are safe! Would you please introduce me to your friend (Imam as-Sadiq(s))? I hope that Allah may save me by you.’ I was affected by his saying. When I went to Abu Abdullah (Imam as-Sadiq) (s), I mentioned to him the state of this man. He said to me, ‘When you go back to Kufa, the man will come to you. Say to him, ‘Ja’far bin Muhammad (as-Sadiq) says to you: give up all what you do and have and I assure Paradise to you by the will of Allah.’ When I went back and told my neighbor of that, he cried and said, ‘By Allah, did Ja’far say that?’ I swore before him that Imam as-Sadiq had said that. He said, ‘This suffices me’ and left. After some days he sent for me. I found him naked behind the door of his house. He said to me, ‘O Abu Baseer, nothing remained in my house. I have got rid of everything and now I am as you see.’ I went to my friends and collected to him what I could clothe him with. After a few days, he sent for me that he was ill. I visited him and cured him from time to time until he was about to die. I was sitting near him when he was dying. He fainted for a moment and then he came to his consciousness and said to me, ‘O Abu Baseer, your friend (Imam as-Sadiq) has carried out his promise to us’ and then he died. When I went to the hajj, I visited Abu Abdullah as-Sadiq (s). I got permission and came into the house. He said while my leg was in the courtyard and the other was in the vestibule of his house, ‘O Abu Baseer, we have carried out our promise to your friend.’[2]

The repentance of the thief

One night I have got the honor of offering the prayer in Holy Qum behind the great scholar and the lofty knowledgeable, the teacher of ethics the deceased Hajji Redha Baha’uddeeni. After the prayer I said to this great scholar, ‘I am in need of your advice and precious words.’ He said, ‘Let your hope be in Allah the Generous, the Ever Abundant Giver. He does not prevent anyone from His care and mercy. He Himself prepares the ground and the means for the guidance and deliverance of His people.’ Then he mentioned to me a wonderful story narrated by a caravanner from Aromiya (north of Iran) who brought with him a caravan of pilgrims and travelers to Holy Mashhad every year. The caravanner said, ‘Traveling by cars has recently started. A traveler at that time put his baggage with him in the same place where he sat because the cars then were trucks. Travelers sat in the place of baggage and furniture and beside them they accumulated their baggage.

In one of the travels to visit the holy shrine of Imam ar-Redha (s) there were thirty travelers with me in the car. Our travel was decided to be at the beginning of the following week. I saw Imam ar-Redha (s) in my sleep. He said to me with special kindness and love, ‘Bring with you in this travel Ibraheem the thief who steals the pockets of people.’ I awoke astonishedly. I thought about the reason that had made Imam ar-Redha (s) ask me to bring this dissolute man who was famous of debauchery and whose fame among people was too bad. I thought that this dream was just one of the confused and untrue dreams. In the following night I saw the same dream but nevertheless I paid no attention to it. In the third night, I saw in my sleep Imam ar-Redha (s) who was angry. He said to me angrily, ‘Why did you not do what I have ordered you?’

On Friday I went to the quarter in which the wicked and dissolute people often gathered. I saw this Ibraheem among them. I went near him and greeted him. I invited him to visit the holy shrine of Imam ar-Redha (s). he became astonished and said to me, ‘The shrine of Imam ar-Redha (s) is not fit to be visited by those who are polluted with sins. There are many pious and pure lovers. Please exempt me from this travel.’ I insisted on him but he did not accept. Then he said to me sharply and angrily, ‘I do not have the cost of travel. In fact, I have just thirty rials and I have got them illegally. I have stolen them from a poor old woman.’ I said to him, ‘I do not want any fare from you for this travel. I am responsible for your going and coming. You are my guest in this travel.’ At last, he agreed to come with me to Mashhad. It was decided that the caravan would set out on Sunday.

We set out and our travel began. All the travelers were astonished at the presence of Ibraheem, the thief, among them but no one of them dared to ask such a question.

The car moved with all these travelers and their baggage to cross a long earthy way through mountains and valleys. We arrived near Zaydar. It was unsafe area and it was the place of the Turkmen highwaymen. Suddenly we saw that the way was closed by one of the wicked highwaymen. The car stopped and the highwayman got on. He shouted at the travelers, ‘Throw all the money you have in this bag and do not try to resist because definitely you will be killed.’

He took all the monies the driver and the travelers had and left the car. The car moved and after several hours it reached Zaydar. It stopped in front of a café. The travelers got down and sat at the side of the way shadowed by a cloud of sorrow and pain because of what they had faced. The unhappiest one among them was the driver who said, ‘No money remained with me at all. I do not have even the price of gasoline and the spending of the car; therefore it is too difficult for us to arrive at our destination.’ Then he burst into tears because of distress. But suddenly and before the astonished eyes of the travelers Ibraheem, the thief, got up and took a pouch of money out of his pocket and said to the driver, ‘How much money did the highwayman take from you?’ The driver mentioned a certain amount and Ibraheem paid him that amount. Then Ibraheem came to the travelers one by one and gave them the stolen monies and then nothing remained in the pouch except thirty rials. Ibraheem said, ‘These thirty rials are what have been taken from me.’ The all became astonished and asked Ibraheem where he had brought this money from. He answered, ‘I was standing near the door of the car. When the highwayman took the money from the travelers and put it in his pocket, he became certain that he had succeeded. When he wanted to leave the car, I stole the pouch from his pocket. He got down without feeling anything. The car moved quickly to be far away from that place until we arrived here. This is your money which has been stolen from you.’

The caravanner went on his speech saying, ‘I cried loudly. Ibraheem said, ‘I brought your money back to you. Why are you crying now?’ I told him about what I have seen in my dream and said to him, ‘Now I understand why Imam ar-Redha (s) insisted on me to bring you with us. He wanted to save us from the danger by you.’ When Ibraheem heard this, his condition changed strongly and he burst into crying. He kept on that until we arrived at Holy Mashhad and the gold dome of the holy shrine appeared to us. There he said, ‘Tie my neck and hands with chains and pull me in this manner to the holy shrine.’ When we got down of the car, we carried out his saying and pulled him in this manner to the holy shrine. He was in a wonderful state of humbleness and submission during our movement to the holy shrine. He repented in a wonderful repentance. He threw the money of that unknown old woman in the holy shrine (as alms). He beseeched Imam ar-Redha (s) to intercede with Allah for him to forgive his sins. The travelers envied him his guidance and blessing. Our travel came to an end with the utmost happiness and delight and we all came back to Aromiya except that repentant one who remained to reside in the holy shrine.’

Repentance and beseeching

It has been narrated that once Imam as-Sadiq (s) was sitting in the temple of Abraham (s) in the Kaaba when an old man, who had spent his age in disobedience and sins, came. He looked at Imam as-Sadiq (s) and said, ‘The best intercessor with Allah for the sinful you are!’ He caught the curtain of the Kaaba and recited:

‘By the virtue of the grandfather[3] of this man,

By the virtue of al-Abtahiy al-Hashimiy,

By the virtue of the revelation that has been revealed to him,

By the virtue of his guardian, the great hero,[4]

By the virtue of the two pure sons of Ali,

And their mother, the daughter of the pure benevolent,

By the virtue of all the imams who have followed their grandfather’s way,

By the virtue of al-Qa’im al-Mehdi,

O my Lord, forgive me, the sinful slave of Yours!’

Then a voice was heard saying, ‘O old man, your sins were great but we have forgiven them all by the virtue of your intercessors. If you ask us to forgive the sins of all the people of the earth, We will do except for the killer of the she-camel (of Prophet Salih), the killers of the prophets and the killers of the infallible imams.’[5]

The drunkard and repentance

Al-Faydh al-Kashani, who is a spring of virtues, knowledge, insight and discernment, says in his valuable book al-Mahajja al-Baydha’, ‘Once a drunkard gathered some of his drinking companions and gave four dirhams to his servant and ordered him to buy some fruit for the meeting. The servant passed by the door of Mansoor bin Ammar while he was asking the people to help a poor man. He said, ‘Whoever gives him (the poor man) four dirhams I will pray four prayers for him.’ The servant gave the four dirhams to the poor man. Mansoor said to him, ‘What do you want me to pray for you?’ The servant said, ‘I want to be free from my master.’ Mansoor prayed for him with that and said to him, ‘What is the other?’ The servant said, ‘May Allah compensate me my dirhams.’ Mansoor prayed for him and said, ‘What is the other?’ He said, ‘May Allah accept the repentance of my master.’ Mansoor prayed for him and asked what the other prayer was. The servant said, ‘May Allah forgive me, my master, you and the people.’ Mansoor prayed for him and then the servant went back. His master asked him why he had been late and he told him of what had happened. His master asked him with what Mansoor had prayed for him. He said, ‘I asked for freedom to myself.’ His master said, ‘You are free since now. What is the second thing?’ The servant said, ‘I wanted that Allah may compensate me for the dirhams.’ His master said, ‘I give you four thousand dirhams. What is the third thing?’ The servant said, ‘That Allah may accept your repentance.’ The master said, ‘I repent and turn to Allah since now. What is the fourth?’ The servant said, ‘That Allah may forgive me, you, the people and Mansoor.’ The master said, ‘This fourth thing is not mine.’ When he went to bed that night, he saw in his sleep that as if a sayer said to him, ‘You have done your duty. Do you think that I do not do mine? I have forgiven you, your servant, Mansoor bin Ammar and all the present people.’[6]

Expensive weeping of the repentant

It has been narrated that at the time of one of the saints there was a young man who had spent his age in idleness, fancies and amusement without paying any attention to his afterlife. Therefore, he was far from pious and benevolent people and could not find a place among notable and charitable people. When he was about to die, he reviewed the list of his deeds and his past age and he did not find in the field of his deeds even one branch to cling to it and he did not find in the garden of his morals even one flower to smell from it the fragrance of good life. He wept from the depth of his heart and his tears fell down over his face. He prayed his Lord regretfully and sorrily to apologize of what he had committed, ‘O You, Who have the world and the afterworld, have mercy on the one who has neither the world nor the afterworld.’ After his death, the people of the village became delighted and they carried his corpse outside their village. They threw the corpse in a dunghill and poured earth on it. In that night the saint saw in his sleep that as if a sayer said to him, ‘Go to that place and wash the corpse, enshroud it and bury it beside the pious people.’ The saint said, ‘He was famous of debauchery. What has given him this rank near You so that he deserved Your pardon and forgiveness?’ He heard the answer, ‘He saw himself as destitute, he felt shy and cried so We had mercy on him. Is there anyone asking Us for rescue and We did not rescue him?! Is there a needy one, who cried asking Us to achieve his need, and We did not respond to him?!’[7]

Showing repentance and solving problems

Jabir al-Ju’fi, who is one of the reliable narrators to the Shia, has narrated that the Prophet (s) had said, ‘Once three persons set out wandering in the earth. While they were worshipping Allah in a cave at the top of a mountain, a big rock fell down and closed the opening of the cave. One said to another, ‘O men, by Allah, nothing will save you from this calamity unless you confess truthfully before Allah. Come on! Mention what you have done sincerely for the sake of Allah and mention your sins!’ One of them said, ‘O my Lord, You know that once I have admired a beautiful woman and I have paid too much money to get her. When I could get her and slept with her, I remembered the Hell and then I left her for fear of You. O Allah, save us from this rock!’ The rock cracked. The other one said, ‘O my Lord, You know that one day I have hired some men to plow the field for half a dirham to each of them. When they finished their work, I gave them their wages. One of them said, ‘I have done a work of two persons. By Allah I do not take less than one dirham.’ He left his wage with me. I sowed with that half of a dirham in my field. The field fruited too much. The man came and wanted his half a dirham. I paid him ten thousand dirhams. O Allah, if You know that I have done so just for fear of You, so save us from this rock!’ The rock was displaced a little and they looked at each other. The third one said, ‘O my Lord, You know that one day I have brought a vessel of milk to my mother and father but they were sleeping. I did not put the vessel aside for I feared that a vermin might spit out into it and I hated to wake them up in order not to disturb them. I remained standing with the vessel in my hands until they woke up and drank the milk. O my Lord, if You know that I have done this just for the sake of You, please save us from this rock!’ Then the rock was displaced and they could find their way out.’ Then the Prophet (s) said, ‘Whoever is truthful to Allah will be saved.’[8]

The wonderful morals and the more wonderful end

The translator of the great book “Tafseer al-Mizan” Professor Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Musawi al-Hamadani told me in Holy Qum on Friday 16 Shawwal, 1413 A.H. at nine o’clock in the morning that,

‘In Jundab in Hamadan (northwest Iran) there was a wicked man, who was drunkard, called Ali Jundabi.

Although this man was not aware or interested in the religious facts and he always associated with the dissolute and bad people, he had some good aspects inside him. One day while he was sitting in a café in a beautiful area outside the town and drinking tea with one of his friends, a beautiful woman with her graceful body, bright face and rural activeness drew his attention.

He often put on his head an expensive velvet cap. Suddenly he put off his cap and put it under his foot. His friend shouted at him, ‘What do you do to your cap?’ He said, ‘Be calm and patient for a little!’ After some minutes, he bent, picked his cap from the ground and put it on his head and then he said to his friend, ‘This was a beautiful married woman. If she saw me with this cap and smartness, she might think that I was more handsome than her husband and then her relation with her husband might weaken for that; therefore I did not want to appear before her with this beautiful cap so that her intimate relation with her husband not to change into cool relation.’

In Hamadan there was a famous preacher called Sheikh Hasan who was used to make “ta’ziya”[9] during the days of Aashura. He was religious, pious and respected by his people.

Sheikh Hasan said, ‘In the afternoon of one of the days of Aashura’ I went to Hasar, outside the city of Hamadan, to perform ta’ziya there. I was late a little there and when I went back, I found the gates of the city closed. I knocked at the gate and I heard the voice of Ali al-Jundabi, who was drunk and had lost his mind, shouting, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am Sheikh Hasan the reciter of ta’ziya.’ He opened the gate and shouted at me, ‘Where have you been till now?’ I said, ‘I went to the village of Hasar to recite ta’ziya and to mention the disaster of the master of the martyrs (Imam Husayn) (s).’ He said to me, ‘Recite ta’ziya to me too!’ I said, ‘Ta’ziya required listeners and a minbar.’ He said, ‘There is everything here.’ Then he bowed and said to me, ‘Ascend my back. It is the minbar and I am the listener and recite to me the calamity of al- Abbas[10] (the moon (light) of the Hashemites)!’

I was afraid of him and I was obliged to do what he wanted. I ascended his back and recited ta’ziya. He cried too much and I was affected unusually that I have never been affected in such away throughout my life. When I finished reciting ta’ziya, this drunkard got up and a wonderful change happened inside him.

After sometime and by the blessing of beseeching Ahlul Bayt (s) he traveled to visit the sacred places in Iraq. He visited the holy shrines of Ahlul Bayt (s) and then he resided in Najaf.

At that time, the religious authority of the Shia was al-Mirza ash-Shirazi, who had announced his famous fatwa on prohibiting tobacco. He lived in Najaf. Ali al-Jundabi did not part with him in offering congregational prayers at all. Ali’s place in the congregational prayers was known and he kept on attending these prayers for a long time.

In one night between the prayers of Maghrib and Isha’[11] Mirza ash-Shirazi was informed that one of the famous ulama had left to the other world and he had said in his will that he wanted to be buried in the corridor that was connected with the holy shrine (of Imam Ali); therefore a tomb was dug there. After finishing Isha’ prayer it was said to Mirza ash-Shirazi that that scholar had been struck with apoplexy and then he recovered his consciousness. But suddenly they found Ali al-Jundabi dead on his prayer rug in the same place where he offered the congregational prayer behind al-Mirza. Al-Mirza ordered to carry Ali al-Jundabi and bury him in that tomb which had been dug near the holy shrine.

Repentance of the gravedigger

It has been narrated that one day Ma’ath bin Jabal had come to the Prophet (s) crying. He greeted the Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) replied to his greeting. Then the Prophet (s) asked him why he had been crying and he said, ‘O messenger of Allah, at the door there is a young man with a soft body, bright color and beautiful face. He cries for his youth as a woman bereaved of her child. He wants to meet you.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘O Ma’ath, let him come to me.’ The young man came in, greeted the Prophet (s) and the Prophet (s) replied to his greeting. Then the Prophet (s) asked him why he had been crying and he said, ‘How do I not cry while I have committed sins that if Allah punishes me for some of them, He will throw me into the Hell? I think that Allah will punish me for them and He will not forgive me at all.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Have you associated with Allah anything else?’ He said, ‘I seek the protection of Allah from associating anything with my Lord!’ The Prophet (s) asked him, ‘Have you killed an innocent one?’ He said, ‘No!’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Allah will forgive you even if your sins are like the mountains.’ The young man said, ‘My sins are greater than the mountains.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Allah will forgive you even if your sins are as much as the seven earths with their seas, sands, trees and creatures.’ He said, ‘My sins are greater than the seven earths and their seas, sands, trees and creatures.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Allah will forgive you even if your sins are like the heavens and their stars and like the Throne.’ The young man said, ‘They are greater than that.’ The Prophet (s) looked at him angrily and said, ‘Woe unto you! Are your sins greater or your Lord?’ The young man fell down to the ground saying, ‘Glory be to my Lord! There is nothing greater than my Lord. O messenger of Allah, my Lord is greater than every great thing.’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘Is there anyone that forgives the great sin except the great Lord?!’ The young man said, ‘O messenger of Allah, no, by Allah there is not.’ Then the young man kept quiet. The Prophet (s) asked him, ‘O young man, would you tell me about one of your sins?’ He said, ‘Yes, I would. I have been digging graves for seven years. I took the dead out of their graves and took off their shrouds. One day a bondmaid from al-Ansar died. When she was buried and her family left and the dark night came, I came to her grave. I dug out the grave and took her out. I took off her shroud and left her naked at the edge of her grave. When I left, the Satan began inciting me and saying, ‘Do you not see her abdomen and white? Do you not see her thighs?’ He still said to me so until I came back to her. I could not control myself until I made love with her and left her in her place. I heard a voice behind me saying, ‘O young man, woe unto you from the Lord of the Day of Punishment where He will stop me with you as you have left me naked among the dead, taken me out of my grave, extorted my shrouds and left me impure until the Day of Punishment! Woe unto your youth from the Hell!’ I do not think that I will smell the fragrance of Paradise forever!’ The Prophet (s) said, ‘O dissolute! Be away from me! I fear of being burnt in your fire. How near to Fire you are!’ The Prophet (s) kept on saying that until the young man was taken away from the Prophet (s).

The young man went to Medina to supply himself with provisions and then he went to the mountains to worship Allah there. He put on a coarse garment, tied his hands to his neck and called, ‘O my Lord! This is your slave Bahlool tied before You. O my Lord, You are the One Who knows me well. I have slipped as You know. O my Lord! I have repented and come to Your prophet but he drove me away and made me fear more. O my Lord, I pray You with Your name, glory and great sovereignty not to disappoint my hope! O my Lord! Do not annul my prayer and do not despair me of Your mercy!’

He kept on that for forty days and nights. The beasts cried with him. When he spent forty days and nights, he raised his hands towards the heaven and said, ‘O my Lord! What do You do to my need? If You have responded to my prayer, forgiven my sin and decided to punish me, then hasten to burn me with fire or with a punishment that perishes me in this world or You save me from the scandal on the Day of Resurrection!’

Then Allah revealed to the Prophet (s), “And those who when they commit an indecency,” (Qur'an, 3:135) it means adultery (or do injustice to their souls) by committing a sin greater than adultery like digging the graves and extorting the shrouds of the dead “remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults” fear Allah and hasten to repent “and who forgives the faults but Allah,” Allah says, ‘O Muhammad, my slave has come to you repenting but you rejected him. Where and to whom does he go? Whom does he ask to forgive his sins except Me?’ Then Allah said, “and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done” do not keep on committing adultery, digging the graves and taking the shrouds of the buried dead:

“(As for) these, their reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and excellent is the reward of the laborers.” Qur'an, 3:136

When this verse was revealed to the Prophet (s), he went out reciting it and smiling. He said to his companions, ‘Who can show me the way to that repentant young man?’ Ma’ath showed the Prophet (s) the way. The Prophet (s) with his companions went there. When they arrived at that mountain, they went up looking for the young man. They found him between two rocks offering prayer. His hands were tied to his neck, his face was blackened and the edges of his eyelids were too harmed because of crying. He was praying Allah and saying, ‘O my Master, You have created me so well and have made me beautiful. I wish I knew what You will do to me! Will You burn me in Fire or You will make me reside beside You? O Allah, You have bestowed upon me too many blessings. I wish I knew what my end will be! Will You hurry me to Paradise or You will drive me to the Hell? O my Lord, my sin is greater than the heavens and the earth and than Your great Throne! I wish I knew whether You forgive my sin or expose me with it on the Day of Resurrection!’ He still said that, cried and poured earth over his head while the beasts had gathered around him and the birds above him crying with his crying. The Prophet (s) came near to him, untied his hands from his neck, wiped the dust from his head and said to him, ‘O Bahlool, be delighted! Allah has freed you from the Hell.’ Then the Prophet (s) said to his companions, ‘Avoid sins in this way as Bahlool has done!’ Then the Prophet (s) recited to Bahlool what Allah had revealed concerning him (Bahlool) and brought him the good news of being in Paradise.’[12]

[1] Ibid., p.235.

[2] Biharul Anwar, vol. 47 p.145-146.

[3] Prophet Muhammad (s).

[4] Imam Ali (s).

[5] Biharul Anwar, vol. 94 p.20.

[6] Al-Mahajja al-Baydha’, vol.7 p.267.

[7] Manhaj as-Sadiqeen, vol.8 p.110.

[8] Noor ath-Thaqalayn, vol.3 p.249.

[9] Ta’ziya is special speeches, lectures and ceremonies performed during Aashura’ (the tenth day or the first ten days) in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar during which the anniversary of the battle of Kerbala and the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (s) and his household and companions was.

[10] He was Imam Husayn’s brother.

[11] Maghrib is sunset (prayer) and Isha’ is evening (prayer).

[12] Biharul Anwar, vol. 6 p.23.

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