Malik ibn Dinar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated:
I read in some of the books of wisdom that Allah Most High says: “Indeed, I am Allah, the King of kings. [The kings] hearts are in my Hand. So whoever obeys Me, I will put in the hearts of those who rule over them mercy and compassion [upon the people that they rule over], and whoever disobeys me, I will put in the hearts of those who rule over them wrath. So do not busy yourselves with insulting the kings, but instead, repent to Me [tuboo elayy], and I will put in the hearts [of the leaders] compassion and sympathy for you.” [Safwat at Tafaseer, V.1, p.419]
Lesson: Let’s stop complaining and blaming. Let’s turn back to Allah and repent to Him, work on our individual relationships with Him, and insha’Allah we’ll see the fruits of that tawbah on an ummah-wide scale.
The Repentence of Malik ibn Dinar:
Malik ibn Dinar used to be of the most oppressive people. He was unjust, was involved with riba (interest), and was a regular alcoholic drinker. He also had a little girl whom he loved intensely. When she died at the tender age of three, Malik, distraught and engulfed with sadness, drunk until he knocked out. That night he had a dream that he was witnessing the hereafter, and that a horrendous snake was chasing him. Terrified and finding no way to escape, Malik saw no one but an old man and ran to ask him for help. The old man was too weak to help him, but pointed Malik towards another direction. Malik ran and found himself at the edge of a cliff- a cliff which led to the hellfire.
Horrified, Malik ran back to the old man and begged to be saved. The old man cried and told him, I’m weak, just as you see, I cannot help…and he told Malik to run towards another direction. And so Malik ran, and as the snake was about to seize him, suddenly he saw his young daughter. She came and rescued her father from the snake.
Overjoyed, and yet still in severe fear from what had just taken place, Malik took his daughter’s hand and sat with her as they used to sit together while she was alive. His daughter then asked him, “O my father, ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله…O my father, Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be submissive for the remembrance of Allah…”
So Malik said, “O my daughter! Tell me about this snake!” And his daughter told him, “Those were the evil deeds which you did so much of to the point that they almost ate you. Do you not know, o my father, that the work you do in the world will return embodied on the Day of Judgment (أن الأعمال في الدنيا تعود مجسمة يوم القيامة)? And that old man, that was your good deeds. You made them so little and weak, and so they wept for your situation, not being able to help you at all…and if you had not bore me, and if I had not died while I was young, your good deeds would have been too medium to help you in any way.
Malik then woke up screaming, crying out, “O my Lord! Right now! [I repent] right now my Lord! Yes, ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله.” So he got up, made wudu, and headed out to pray Fajr in the masjid, seeking to repent and to come back to Allah.
So Malik entered the masjid, and he found the Imam reciting the very same very same verse, “ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله”
Indeed, Allah is well aware of those who want to turn back to Him, and out of His Mercy, gives them continuous opportunities to seek His Forgiveness.
After his repentance, Malik was known to stand in prayer, weeping to Allah throughout the night, saying,
إلهي أنت وحدك الذي يعلم ساكن الجنة من ساكن
النار، فأي الرجلين أنا اللهم اجعلني من
سكان الجنة ولا تجعلني من سكان النار
“O Allah, you are the Only One Who knows the inhabitants of Paradise and the inhabitants of the Hellfire, so whichever of the two men I am, o Allah, make me of the inhabitants of Paradise, and do not make me of the inhabitants of the Hellfire.”
Malik ibn Dinar went from someone who was known for his oppression, for the fact he used to drink, for his negligence in his relationship with Allah…to a major Scholar with the likes and in the times of big names like Hasan al Basri (may Allah be pleased with them all). He went from someone the people used to hate to someone the people- until today- love and ask Allah to have mercy upon. He went from an individual whose actions merited hellfire, to, insha’Allah we pray, an individual who will inhabitant Paradise eternally.
That was who Malik was, and through the simple act of tawbah [repentance, turning back to Allah], look at who he became.
So what about you and I? Who are we now? Who will we be? And the real question is: when will we, with Allah’s Help, make that happen?
“…ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله”
Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be submissive for the remembrance of Allah…(Surah Hadid, 57:16)