Every Saint has a Past, Every Sinner has a Future

Ever felt like you have committed sins to such an extent that your repentance will not be accepted and that it’s useless to ask for repentance now? If yes, let me tell you a narration of Prophet Muhammad SAWW: 

If you were to commit sin until your sins reach the heaven, then you were to repent, your repentance would be accepted.”

So, one should abstain from thinking that his sins might not be forgiven because they are huge.

The story of al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyad is a testament to this. Al-Fudayl used to lead a group of bandits, or highwayman, raiding caravans and robbing travelers. He would strip them off their property, their wealth and their belongings. He was notorious to the extent that a lot of the caravans, most of the time, would change their route to avoid that area. During this time, he was deeply in love with a woman and he had the habit of sneaking into her house someway, to watch and observe her for some time.

One night he climbed up the wall of the house of that girl and sneaked into her house. As he was making his way into the house he heard someone reciting these words of Allah SWT:

Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah?” (al-Qur’an, 57:16)

These words shook him and grabbed his heart. He was moved deep inside. He started thinking about these words and he forgot the main reason why he came to this house and the spontaneous response that was on his tongue was:

Indeed, my Sustainer, the time has come.” And that moment he changed.

He went out of the house, roaming aimlessly, contemplating his life, his past, his behavior, his reputation, his future and his relationship with ALLAH SWT. He ended up with a group of strangers. He asked their permission to join them and sat with them. They were travelers and were disputing whether to spend the night there or to carry on their journey. One of them said, “We should stay here because that is the area of that famous robber. If we carry on travelling, he might jump on us and you know we will be in trouble. So let’s spend the night here and then we will set off in the morning.” The name of the thief they mentioned was this very person.

Every son of Adam sins, and the best of the sinners are the repentant”

Prophet Muhammad SAWW

It made him think to himself what he did to people, made them fear him that much; what kind of curse had he become to humanity that people don’t even feel safe about their lives and about their property because of him. All of this made him question his life, his way of life. He thought that the only reason Allah SWT sent him to them was so that he may tremble in fear of Him SWT. He, then, made the decision that he will change because it was his responsibility and not anyone eles’s.

His words, at that moment, were, “O Allah! I turn in repentance to You. My repentance is that I will live in the neighborhood of the Sacred House (the Ka’bah}.”

He then moved to Makkah, settled down there and lived in its neighborhood till he passed away there.

That’s the story of al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyad. Till today the books that talk about our relationship with Allah SWT and how to purify ourselves mention the name of al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyad as an example.

Ibrahim ibn al-Ash’ath, the servant of al-Fudayl, said: “I have not seen anyone apart from al-Fu?ayl in whose heart ALLAH was the greatest. When ALLAH was mentioned before him, or if he heard the Qur’an, fear and grief would become apparent on him, his eyes would shed tears and he would cry to such an extent that those who were sitting near him would feel sorry for him.”

Rabah ibn Khalid said: “Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak said to me: ‘When I look at al-Fudayl, my grief is renewed and I detest myself.’ He then began crying.”

Did you notice the difference between the statements people made about al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyad before and after his repentance? That’s the beauty of repentance. This is how a burning repentance is. It brings forth true illumination.

Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:

For those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (al-Qur’an 25:70)

A person after committing a sin, should repent as soon as possible. However, if he cannot repent immediately, due to negligence or being under the influence of one’s own whims or Satan, then he should repent whenever he feels regret on his sins. It’s never too late to repent to Allah SWT. Prophet SAWW said:

Indeed Allah accepts the repentance of a slave as long as (his soul does not reach his throat)”

Because with the start of death the connection with the world is cut off and the link with the next world of the Hereafter begins, so at that moment, repentance from sins and infidelity is not accepted, and embracing of Islam will be of no benefit.

By Fizza Arif

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