Malik ibn Dinar (may Allah be pleased with him) is known for his piety and righteousness however he had once been a harsh and disobedient man. Ibn Dinar was one of the most oppressive people, disliked by everyone in his locality, stealing, discourteous, rebellious, an unjust and alcoholic person who also practiced usury and was avoided by everyone.
Malik ibn Dinar eventually got married and was blessed with a baby daughter whom he loved profoundly and gradually as she got older he began to stop his evil habits of drinking and bad behaviour out of his desire to become a better person and father.
However, at the tender age of three, his beloved daughter passed away and Malik ibn Dinar was tested through this loss. So the devil came to him and whispered evil thoughts and inclined him towards evil. The shaitaan said “see…you started to stop swearing, cheating, lying and you stopped drinking and look what Allah Ta’ala has given to you in return…the loss of your beloved daughter!”. So, the devil said, tonight drink, drink, drink so much alcohol like you’ve never ever drank before in your life”.
That night, distraught and engulfed with sadness Malik ibn Dinar drank until he lost his consciousness.
On that night, he had a dream that he was witnessing the Day of Judgment, and that a colossal horrendous serpent snake was chasing him. Terrified and unable to escape, Ibn Dinar saw no one but an old man toward whom he ran seeking help. The old man was too weak to help him, but he pointed toward another direction, in which Ibn Dinar ran until he found himself at the edge of a cliff leading to Hellfire.
Horrified, Ibn Dinar ran back to the old man and begged for rescue. The old man cried and told him, “I am weak, just as you see. I cannot help you.” Then he told Ibn Dinar to run in another direction, which Ibn Dinar did. As he was running, the snake was so near to him that it almost seized him.
All of a sudden, he saw a house with children in there all of whom who ran out in his direction including his young daughter, who came to her father’s aid. Putting her hand out to the serpent she signalled for it to flee and so it did.
Overjoyed, yet still in a state of great fear due to what had just happened, Ibn Dinar took his daughter’s hand and sat with her as they used to sit together when she was alive. Then the daughter posed the following question to her father, “O my father:
[Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth?] (Al-Hadid 57:16 )
“O my daughter! Tell me about that snake,” Ibn Dinar said. His daughter said, “The snake were the evil deeds that you kept accumulating to the point that they have almost eaten you up. Do you not know, my father, that the deeds one does in the world will meet one embodied on the Day of Judgment?
So, he asked about the old man and she replied “As for the old man, those were your good deeds, which were so few and weak; therefore, they wept your situation and their inability to offer you any help, and, if it had not been for the fact that your little daughter died at a tender age, those few good deeds that you did in the world would not have benefited you in the least.”
Ibn Dinar then woke up, crying out, “O my Lord, right now [I repent]; right now, my Lord! Yes, it is due.” So, he got up, performed wudu’ (ablution), and headed out to perform Fajr Prayer in the mosque, seeking to repent and return to Allah. Upon entering the mosque, he found the imam reciting the very same verse recited by his daughter in the dream.
Indeed, Almighty Allah is All-Aware of those who wish to turn back to Him, and out of His boundless mercy, He gives them continuous opportunities enabling them to seek His forgiveness and draw close to Him.
After his repentance, Ibn Dinar became known for his perseverance in Prayer and his earnest, weeping supplication throughout the night. He used to say, “O Allah, only You know who will be the inhabitants of Paradise and who will be the inhabitants of Hellfire. So, to which party shall I belong? O Allah, let me join the inhabitants of Paradise and do not make me among the inhabitants of Hellfire.” Ibn Dinar changed from a person known for his oppression, alcoholism, and great negligence in his relationship with Allah, to a leading pious scholar.
After he had been a disagreeable figure, people to this day continue to love him, remember him fondly, and ask Almighty Allah to have mercy upon him. Once an individual whose actions could have made him merit Hellfire, Ibn Dinar turned into a person who, we hope, will dwell in Paradise eternally. That was the story of Ibn Dinar and his sincere repentance unto his Lord, the All-Merciful Creator.
Let us turn back to Allah, repent unto Him, and work on our individual relationships with Him. Only then can the whole Ummah, in sha’ Allah, remain steadfast and reap the fruits of repentance.
This story of repentance is a reminder for us that the door of repentance is open to even the most devilish sinner.
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