A Notorious Gangster Weeps

There was once a notorious robber among the Kurds (the name of a tribe in the Middle East). He narrated his own story:

“Once I was going with my gang of robbers with the intention of a dacoity (a violent robbery). We stopped to take rest at a place where we saw three date palms, of which two were laden with fruit but the third was dry and barren. Time and again, a sparrow came to one of the green trees, took some fresh dates in its beak and flew across to the dry palm. We were greatly surprised. After I had counted ten trips of the bird, it occured to me that I should climb the tree and see what it was doing with the dates.

I climbed up to the top of the palm and saw a blind snake lying there with its mouth wide open, the sparrow had been putting fresh dates into the mouth of this blind snake!

The sight (of a sparrow feeding a blind snake) awakened my conscience and I was moved to tears. I cried unto Allah Ta’ala, ‘O Allah! When this snake, which Your Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihi wasallam has commanded us to kill, became blind, you appointed a sparrow to provide sustenance for it. And I, who am Your slave and believer in “Tauheed’, have been destined to loot the people. At this, I heard a voice speaking to me, from within my heart, thus: “The door towards repentence is open to every body, at all times.”

Instantly I broke the sword with which I used to rob the people and (in the frenzy of remorse), began to throw dust on my head. I wept and cried unto Allah, ‘Forgive me, O Sustainer!” A Voice from the Unseen whispered in my heart, ‘We have forgiven you! We have forgiven you!’

After a short while, I rejoined my companions. They wanted to know what had happened to me. I said, I was led astray and was estranged from My Sustainer. Now I have made peace with Him’. And I told them the whole story. They said, ‘We also will make peace with our Sustainer’, and they broke their swords, too. We abandoned all our looted property there, put on ‘Ihraam’ (the white garb of a pilgrim) and set out to Makkah for Hajj. After travelling for three days, we reached a village where we came across a blind old lady. She asked, ‘Is there any Kurd among you, so and so by name? (here she named me), On being told that there was, she took out some garments and said, ‘My son died three days ago and these clothes were his property. Ever since he died, I dream every night that I see Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam commanding me to give these garments to such and such a Kurd!’ I took the garments from her and we all put them on. (Roudh).

In this story, there are two incidents with a deep moral lesson,

Firstly, the providential arrangement for providing sustenance to the blind snake and, secondly, the gift of garments granted by Rasulullah Sallallaho alaihe wasallam to the Kurd. When Allah Ta’ala wants to favour someone, it is quite easy for Him to create means to that end, as it is He alone Who creates all means, both of prosperity and adversity. And, it was by virtue of their sincere repentance that these Kurds were granted the gift of garments from Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihe wasallam, which is in itself a great honour and a worthy privilege. Moreover, the story illustrates how, sometimes, Allah Ta’ala grants favours to a needy person through a speedy death! We have heard about many such cases in which a dying man made a will leaving a portion of his property (One third) to a particular person.

Reference: Fadhaail-e-Sadaqah

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