An unidentified man from Abyssinia approached the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with a heart filled with remorse and regret. He had wasted his life away in rebellion and disobedience to his Creator. He committed all types of immoralities and shunned righteousness and virtue. The winds of divine mercy and guidance just began to blow in his direction, and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala selected his heart to be affected by these winds. At last, the time had come for him to repent.
After all, how long can a person live detached from the Almighty? Humans are created as social beings. We all desire a sense of belonging and need attachment. The greatest belonging and attachment every heart yearns for is connection with His Creator. The body might survive on earthly sustenance, but the soul needs spiritual nutrition.
Distressed and dejected, he came up to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam seeking solace. He was ready to repent to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for his past life. He began his confession, “O Messenger of Allah, I used to commit immoralities.” Unsure whether the Almighty will accept his repentance, he asked apprehensively, “Is there any repentance for me?” “Definitely,” was the spontaneous reply of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala announces:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِيْنَ أَسْرَفُوْا عَلىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوْا مِنْ رَّحْمَةِ اللّٰهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ جَمِيْعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْمُ
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”
Not only does Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala forgive us when we repent, He awaits our repentance. The hadith teaches us that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala continuously showers His forgiveness at night so the sinner of the day might repent and He showers His forgiveness in the morning so the sinner of the night might repent. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam enlightens us, “Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than anyone of you is pleased with finding his camel which he had lost in the desert.”
Hearing Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reply, the Abyssinian sighed with relief and turned around to leave. He had hardly taken a few steps, when he returned hurriedly and enquired whether he had been under Divine surveillance while committing those immoralities. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied in the affirmative, as nothing is hidden from the All-Seeing, the All-Knowing. Embarrassment and fear seized him. He let out a screech and his soul departed instantly. To Allah do we belong and to Him is our return.
The mysterious Abyssinian will enjoy himself in the Gardens of Eternity. The fearful will have two gardens, says Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:
وَلِمَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ جَنَّتَانِ فَبِأَيِّ أٰلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ
But for he who has feared the position of his Lord are two gardens. So which of the favours of your Lord would you deny?
The fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala that gripped his heart, led to his demise. His soul departed leaving behind an important lesson for us all. The poet says:
When you are in seclusion in the darkness and your carnal desires are craving for evil,
Observe shame of the Almighty’s sight and tell it: the Being who created darkness, is truly watching me!
 Surah al Zumar: 53.
 Sahih Muslim, Book 37, Hadith: 6644.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 8, Book 75, Hadith: 321.
 Tanwir al Ghabash, pg. 147; Ihya’ ‘Ulum al Din, vol. 4 pg. 14.
 Surah al Rahman: 46, 47.Back to top