Some Anecdotes regarding Fear and Hope (Khauf wa Raja)
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
Muhammad Yakub Kulaini quotes from Imam Zain-ul-’Abidin (as) that some people were sailing in a boat when it toppled in a storm. Only one woman survived by hanging on to a wooden plank that kept afloat. She landed in an island where she met a sinful person. When he saw the woman the evil desires rose in his mind. The woman cried and begged him to spare her the ignominy. The man told her why she was so scared of anyone in that lonely place.
The woman raised her hand towards the sky and said, “I am afraid of my Allah!” The evil person asked her, “Have you never done such an act?” The woman replied, “By Allah! I have never committed such a sin!” The man thought that the woman was chaste and he had himself committed umpteen sins. Therefore he thought that he must be more fearful of Allah. With this thought he left the woman unmolested and went away in one direction.
On the way a hermit joined him on the journey. The heat of the sun was excessive and the hermit asked him to pray that a cloud shadowed their heads to provide them some relief from the sunlight. The man said that he had been sinner all his life and his prayers may not be answered! The hermit said that he would himself pray and the man should say, ’Aameen!’
The hermit therefore prayed and the sinner said, ‘Aameen’. The prayer was answered and a cloud appeared over their heads. After a while they reached a place from where the hermit had to go in a different direction. When the hermit went his way, the cloud followed the sinner giving him the shade! The hermit said, “O youth! What is it that my prayer was not answered and your prayer was?” The man recounted his experience to the hermit. The hermit said, “Allah is pleased with you! Try to earn His pleasure in the future!”
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Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) narrates that there was once a courtier of a king of the Bani Israel. The king was very kind on this person. The king once told him that he wanted a wise and judicious person to be deputed to another kingdom for some important errand.
The courtier had a brother whose spouse was very pretty. The courtier had an evil eye on the woman and was looking for an opportunity to molest her. He told to the king that his brother would be ideal to perform his errand. The king liked the suggestion and called the person to his presence. The courtier told his brother that it was the best chance for him to earn the king’s favor by performing his important task. The brother mentioned about the matter to his wife who happened to be a scion of a prophet (S)’s family. She was a woman of piety and objected to remaining alone in the absence of her husband. She asked her husband to make an excuse to the king and refuse the assignment. But the man didn’t agree and went away on the king’s errand.
The courtier took advantage of the loneliness and helplessness of his brother’s wife and started to seduce her. The woman was adamantly chaste. The courtier said that if the woman didn’t respond to his advances, he would involve her in a false case of adultery and get her killed by public stoning. Even then the woman didn’t budge an inch. The courtier went to the king and appealed to him to punish the woman for adultery. The woman was stoned and was given for dead.
But the woman was, in fact, not dead. The whole night she remained at the ground where she was stoned. In the morning she managed to reach herself to a nearby hermitage. The hermit took pity on her, gave her food and treated the wounds. The woman recovered completely. The hermit had a son whom he loved dearly. The woman was entrusted to take care of the son. The hermit had a slave who got enamored of the woman. Despite all his overtures, he was unable to win over the woman. When all his subterfuges failed, he killed the hermit\'s son and put the blame for the murder on the woman. The hermit was very sad. But he was a kind person. Instead of punishing the woman, he gave her some money and ordered her out of the hermitage.
The woman was travelling forlornly in her loneliness when she found some persons cuffing a man. She went near them and asked the reason for the punishment. They said that the man owed them some money and was not paying it back. The woman took pity on the person and settled his debt from the money the hermit had given her. The man was therefore released and he accompanied her on the way. They were going along the bank of a river when they noticed some people sitting at a distance.
The man asked her to wait for a while that he would go and inquire about them. He went to the persons and found that they were itinerant traders. He told them that he had a very pretty slave girl for sale. One of the traders went with the person to the woman and liked her. The deal was struck for the sale. The man took the money and left the woman with the traders. However much the woman tried to convince the men that she was not a slave, they didn’t agree. Looking at the fair appearance of the woman, every trader claimed that she would be his companion.
At the time of departure they had two boats. They decided that they would board one boat and the second would carry their merchandise and the woman. They therefore set sail. On the way they came across a storm and the boat carrying the men sank with all the merchants aboard. The other boat, with the woman and the merchandise, reached a place on the coast safely. The woman found that the place had a beautiful garden that had no human being on it. There was also a well-appointed mansion in the garden, as if ready to receive its inmates. The pious woman started living there and busied herself in prayers.
The prophet (S) of the time was ordered by Allah to go to the king and ask him to seek the pardon of a person living at a particular garden in an island for the unjust punishment inflicted on her. The king reached the place after some search. He found that it was a beautiful garden and the woman was busy offering prayer in seclusion. The king told her that he was asked by a prophet (S) of the Bani Israel to approach her and seek her pardon for the unjust punishment inflicted on her. The woman said that she had a condition for pardoning him. She asked him to bring certain persons to her presence.
The king came back to the woman with the persons she had asked him to bring along. She told him that he should make a promise that he wouldn’t order stoning of anyone in future without fully establishing the reason for such a harsh punishment. The king was repentant and was therefore pardoned.
Then she asked the courtier, her husband’s brother, to seek Allah’s pardon. He shed tears of remorse and she forgave him. She pardoned the hermit’s slave too. She called the man who sold her as a slave and forgave his fault. In the end she called her husband and told him her experiences. She told him that from that day neither she was his spouse nor he her husband. She indicated to him that a boat full of riches was on the coast. She also told him that since he had avarice for riches, he could take all that and go his way. She asked him and the rest of the party to leave her alone to her prayers!
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Imam Zain-ul-’Abidin (as) narrates: In the tribe of Bani Israel a person was known as a thief of the shrouds of dead persons. One of his neighbors got seriously ill and was afraid that when he died, the person will dig his grave to steal the shroud. He called the person and presented to him a shroud and requested him not to open his grave for the purpose. In the beginning the thief was a little reluctant. But ultimately he yielded and took one of the two shrouds. After some days the neighbor died.
The thief thought that the person is already dead and there is no chance of his knowing that he had stolen his second shroud. Therefore in the darkness of the night he entered the graveyard. After sometime the thief too was seriously ill. He now had pangs of remorse that he had broken a serious promise made to his neighbor. He called his sons and told them that when he was dead he should be burnt to the last vestige of the bones and the ashes thrown into the river. This way he would be spared of presenting himself before Allah on the Day of Judgement. The person died and his son fulfilled his last wish.
Allah issued orders for the man\'s ashes to reassemble and come back alive. Thus the thief was alive once again and Allah asked him about why he took such a step as to getting his cadaver burned? The man replied that he did that out of Allah’s fear. A herald called, “Your penitence has earned you pardon!”
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Bin Babawiyah narrates that the Prophet of Islam (S) was sitting one day in the shade of a tree. A person then came, and removing his robe from his body started rolling on the ground. The man repeatedly lamented, “O Conscience! Taste this hardship! The hardship of the Doomsday shall be much more severe.” The Prophet (S) looked at him and said, “What is it that is forcing you to behave the way you are behaving?” The man said, “It is only the fear of Allah and the call of the conscience!” The Prophet (S) said, “Allah is praising you for this act to the angels and has pardoned all your past sins!”
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It is narrated from the Prophet of Allah (S) that three persons were travelling together. On the way they took shelter in a cave because of cyclonic rain. With severe rain and wind a big boulder slided down the hill and blocked the mouth of the cave. The persons were very worried. They knew that there was no escape for them and that they should pray for Allah’s help recalling their best acts of virtue.
One of the three persons raised his hands to the Heaven and said, “O Sustainer of people! I engaged a worker fixing a measure of rice for his labors. He finished the work but left without taking the wage. I sowed that quantity of seed, took the crop and bought cows from the proceeds. When the worker came claiming his wages, I offered him the cows. He refused to accept them and said that he wanted the measure of rice agreed to between them. I told him that the cows were bought from the returns obtained from his measure of rice. With difficulty the worker agreed to take the cows. I did all this with Allah’s fear in my heart. If this act of mine is acceptable to Allah, He will remove the boulder from the mouth of the cave!” The boulder moved a little.
The second traveler said, “O Allah! You know well that one night I took food for my parents when they were already asleep. I thought it well not to disturb their sleep and abided near them all the night. If this act of obedience and love of my parents is acceptable to you, please remove the boulder from the mouth of the cave!” The boulder moved away a little more from the mouth of the cave.
The third person cried and said, “O Allah! It happened one night. I was deeply in love with a cousin of mine. When I expressed my wish to her, she demanded a huge sum of money from me in return. When I gave her the sum and the time for fulfilling my desire came, she said, ‘O cruel person! You are not afraid of Allah! You are trying to open a closed door without permission! ‘When she said this, I had pangs of remorse and refrained from the nefarious act. O Allah! If you have liked my remorse, repentance and compunction, do remove the boulder from the mouth of the cave!’ No sooner the person completed his prayer, the boulder slid away from the mouth of the cave!”
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Klein narrates from Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) that one day Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) was sitting with his companions when a person came and said, “O Amir’ul-Mu’mineen (as)! I have committed a foul act with a boy. Please make a pronouncement against me!” Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said, “Go away from here! Are you mad!”
The man was adamant and raised the same call four times. Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said: You are a self confessed criminal! The Prophet (S) has ordered three punishments for such crimes
Beheading with a sword. 2) Tying of the limbs with rope and throwing from the top of a hill. 3) Burning the person. Now tell me which of the punishments you would prefer. The man asked, “Which punishment is the most severe!” Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said, “Getting burnt alive is the most severe!” The man cried and said, ‘I would like to be burnt alive!” A fire was lighted in a ditch and the man went crying toward it. Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) too cried in sympathy with the man and said, “You have made the angels in the Firmament cry for you! Allah in his Munificence has pardoned you!”
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Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) narrates that in the tribe of Bani Israel there was a girl so pretty that some youth said that the determination of the most pious person of the time would falter setting eyes on her. The woman wanted to prove if the young men were right. She went to the pious person’s house and knocked at his door. When the person saw it was a woman, he didn’t permit her to enter the house. She bluffed him saying that if he didn’t give her shelter, she might be molested by some youths chasing her. Hearing this the pious man allowed her to enter the house. The woman removed her shawl from her face. He raised his hand towards her and immediately drew it away in remorse. There was a cauldron on fire lit for cooking something. The pious man put his hand into the fire. The woman ran out crying, “The pious person is burning his own hand!” Men came running but the man had already burnt his hand!
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Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) narrates that a woman was a guest at the place of a pious person. In the night the Satan misguided the pious man. In order to control his desire the man burned one of his fingers. When the foul desires cropped up again, the man burnt another finger of his. By the morning the pious persons burnt all his fingers. Then he told to the woman, “Go now! May Allah save me from a guest like you!”