INSPIRATION FOR RAMADAN
How They Changed & Became Great
Ramadan is a month in which we aspire to become better Muslims. Here are a few inspirational stories from the people of the past who changed and became better. Let’s make this Ramadan the change for our lives in sha Allah.
Al-Fudayl ibn Iyaad
Al-Fudayl bin Iyaad (d. 187H) is famous for his piety and worship. But he was not always a practicing Muslim. In his early years, al-Fudayl was a notorious highway robber. He would prowl in the night for victims on the road from Abiward to Sarakhs. Between these two cities was a small village in which lived a girl that al-Fudayl was in love with. One night, out of desperation to be with her, al-Fudayl climbed the wall of her home. As he was climbing over it, he heard a voice recite:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ
Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah’s Reminder? [Quran 57:16]
At that moment, al-Fudayl answered, “O my Lord, the time has indeed come.” He returned from where he came and sought refuge near a traveling party on the main road. They were busy engaging in a serious discussion. al-Fudayl heard one of them say, “Let us continue our journey now.” Another answered, “No, not until the morning, for al-Fudayl is lurking on the road somewhere out there, just waiting to rob us.”
Having heard the entire conversation, al-Fudayl thought to himself, “I go around in the night to sin, while a group of Muslims remain here because they fear me. Indeed I feel that Allah has brought me here to them only so that I can reform my character. O Allah, I indeed repent to you..”
Al-Fudayl went on to become a pious and learned ascetic whose sayings are quoted till today for their depth and wisdom.
Humaid bin Jaabir
Ibrahim bin Bashaar narrated:
“While I was walking towards Kufah with Ibrahim bin Adham (d. 165H), he stopped beside a grave and invoked Allah to have mercy on its dweller. “Whose grave is this,’ I asked.
‘It is the grave of Humaid bin Jaabir,’ said Ibrahim. ‘He was once the leader of all the townships that are in this area.’
‘What was so special about him?’ I asked. Ibrahim told me that he was a very rich leader who would spend his nights enjoying frivolous games and entertainment.
‘One night he fell asleep and saw a dream in which a man was standing over his head,’ said Ibrahim. ‘The man had a book in his hand, which Humaid grabbed and tore open. The words inside were written with gold [ink]. They ran as follows:
Do not prefer my Fire over my Light, and do not be deceived by what you own in this world, for what you own is preventing you from getting what is saved for you in the afterlife. True, what you have might have been called a kingdom, had it not been for the fact that it will all soon perish. And your life might have been called a life of happiness and joy, had it not been for the fact that it will be followed by anxiety and misery. So beware of falling under the spell of these worldly ornaments, or you will join the ranks of the destroyed ones.
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
And march forth in the way [which leads to] forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for al-muttaqoon. [Quran 3:133]
Humaid then woke up in a terrified state,’ continued Ibrahim.
‘Resigning from his post as leader, Humaid betook himself to this mountain, where he led a simple life, doing menial work to maintain his physical upkeep, but dedicating most of his time to the worship of Allah. I came here once and met him, and by keeping company with him, I found him to be a noble man. I would thereafter continue to visit him until he died.’ ” [Al-Mawaa’idh wal-Majaalis: 179]
The Burglar and Malik bin Dinar
A burglar scaled the wall of Malik bin Dinar’s house one night and easily managed to get inside. Once inside the house, the thief was disappointed to see that there was nothing worth stealing. Malik was inside at the time and busy performing prayer. Realizing that he was not alone, Malik quickly ended his prayer and turned around to face the thief. Without showing any sign of being shocked or afraid, Malik calmly extended greetings of peace and then said, “My brother, may Allah forgive you. You entered my home and found nothing that is worth taking, yet I do not want you to leave my home without taking away some benefit.”
He stood up, went to another part of the room, and came back with a jug full of water. He looked into the eyes of the burglar and said, “Make ablution and perform two units of prayer, for if you do so, you will leave my home with a greater treasure than you had initially sought when you entered it.”
Much humbled by Malik’s manners and words, the thief said, “Yes, that is a generous offer indeed.”
After making ablution and performing two units of prayer, the burglar said, “O Malik, would you mind if I stayed for a while, for I want to stay to perform two more units of prayer?”
Malik said, “Stay for whatever amount of prayer Allah decrees for you to perform now.”
The thief ended up spending the entire night at Malik’s house. He continued to pray until the morning. Then Malik said, “Leave now and be good.”
But instead of leaving, the thief said, “Would you mind if I stayed here with you today, for I have made an intention to fast the day?”
“Stay as long as you wish,” said Malik.
The burglar ended up staying for a number of days, praying during the late hours of each night and fasting throughout the duration of each day. When he finally decided to leave, the burglar said, “O Malik, I have made a firm resolve to repent for my sins and for my former way of life.”
Malik said, “Indeed, that is in the Hand of Allah.”
The man did mend his ways and began to lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah. Later on he came across another burglar he knew. [His friend] said to him, “Have you found your treasure yet?”
He said, “My brother, what I found is Malik bin Dinar. I went to steal from him, but it was he who ended up stealing my heart. I have indeed repented to Allah, and I will remain at the door [of His mercy and forgiveness] until I achieve what his obedient, loving slaves have achieved.” [Al-Mawaa’idh wal-Majaalis: 85]