A thief, while sinning, gives guidance to others
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
In the book Dua Al-Kafi, it is narrated from the fourth Imam Zainul Abideen that he narrated this story: In olden days a merchant sailed in a ship with his family and trade goods for business. They faced a severe mid-sea storm, which wrecked their ship. Everyone in that ship including the businessman, his sons, voyagers and their goods were drowned. Only the wife of the trader caught hold of a wooden plank and the waves of the sea carried her to a shore. The woman who survived was bare, hungry and had nothing with her. No human could be seen there but she found some grass to eat and remove her hunger to some extent, as she had not ate anything for several days. So she devoured grass, weeds and leaves. At night she took shelter under a tree for fear of wild animals and hid herself between its branches. Next morning a thief saw her from a distance. No woman was ever seen at this place before. When he approached the woman having no proper clothes, it can be imagined what would be her condition as she was also beautiful and young. The forest thief was also young. They were in a wilderness and no one else was around.
The brute did not give any chance to the woman, he grabbed her and felled her on the ground. The poor screamed and the cry and trembling of the woman was so terrible that it moved the heart of the thief. He asked her, "What happened? Why are you trembling and shivering so much?" She replied, "Why should I not fear, I have never committed such a sin before, in front of God. I am terribly afraid of Him." She is in the midst of a dense forest but experienced shame in before God. This abhorrence in the heart of a faithful lady is a great favor of God. She shivers due to sinning. A sin is really detestable and extremely bad in her eyes.
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"…and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience… (49:7)"
In fact, she was trembling at the sin, not due to the fear of punishment. Suppose no punishment was involved, even then she hated sin. This indeed is only God’s favor. God’s favor also is based on wisdom. It is not given to all indiscriminately without any reason or base, unless one has made oneself deserving for it. This tradition is interesting and I conclude it here. So much light (noor) of the proof of the Lord shone in this woman that it made a wild thief bow down and also drew him towards God. Really, this is wonderful. One is young. The woman is also beautiful. There is no deterrent.
He even holds her once. This is extraordinary. He said, "It is I, the unlucky one who should shiver, not you who are blameless. I should beat my head. I should be afraid. I am the cause of your sin, not you." Finally he moves away, without disturbing her. He also repents and seeks pardon. Then he arrives to a city with an intention to approach a scholar and to repent before him. So he decided to give up stealing and all other sins and evil deeds and reform himself thoroughly. On his way he met a worshipper. Thus worship and piety came together and began to walk. Both were facing a very hot sun. The worshipper looked at the thief and said, "Come let us pray to God so that He may provide the shade of a cloud as we are burning in this hot sun." The thief said, "I have no honor in the High Court of God, I am a sinner. My prayer is not likely to be answered." Let us be sacrificed for a sinner whom his sin makes him to bow down in extreme humility before God. Woe unto the worship, which makes one proud whereby he imagines being a rightful and a great person. If one thinks due to his worships that: I am a servant of Imam Husain; that I am a Sayyid; I am a scholar, I hold meetings, I discuss problems, I make charities. Woe unto the worship, which thus makes a man egotist and makes him imagine that his prayer would be answered.
The worshipper said, "All right, then I will pray and you say
: Amen." Then the worshipper raised his hands saying, "O Lord! Today, in this desert, the burning sun has made us restless. Kindly send a cloud to give us shade and save us from this unbearable heat." The thief said, "O my God, Amen." Suddenly a cloud appeared in the sky and gave shade to both the travelers and both thanked Allah. They continued to walk and reached a crossroad where each one had to take a different route. So when they separated, the cloud continued to shade the thief. The worshipper wondered.
In his own imagination, he may be a great worshipper, pious person and a jurist but the House of God requires true humility and lowliness. Your outward may be nice but what Almighty Allah desires is a sincere heart. It is the ego of man, which makes him such that he does not become humble before God.