Fearing the Fire

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Mansoor bin ‘Ammaar (rahimahullah) who lived in Baghdad in the 2nd century of Islam was famous for his inspirational lectures and motivational advices. He narrates the following incident:

I came out (of my home) one night thinking it to be morning, whereas it was still night. (When I had realized this,) I sat down by a small door. Suddenly, I heard the voice of a youngster crying and saying, “By Your honour and splendour! I do not intend Your defiance by me disobeying you. Whenever I disobeyed you, neither was it because I was ignorant of Your warning, nor was it due to being bold before Your punishment, nor was it out of disregarding Your (affectionate) gaze upon me. Rather, (the reason for my disobedience was that) my inner desires tempted me, my wretchedness overcame me and Your drawn veil (over my sins) deluded me. I disobeyed You out of my own ignorance and I opposed You voluntarily. But now, who is there to save me from Your punishment? Whose rope can I cling to if You have cut off Your rope from me? How evil are the days of my life that have passed in the disobedience of my Rabb! Woe to me! How many times will I make taubah and (yet again) relapse (into sin)? The time has come for me to have shame before my Rabb!”

Mansoor (rahimahullah) says: Upon hearing this, I recited, “A‘oozu billahi minash shaitaanir rajeem. Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem (and the verse). O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire, the fuel of which is human beings and stones, (appointed) on which are angels, stern and severe, who do not disobey Allah Ta‘ala in what He orders them, and do whatever they are ordered to do.” (Surah Tahreem v6)

(On the completion of my recitation,) I heard a voice and (the sound of) severe trembling. I then proceeded to (fulfil) my work. In the morning, I returned and found a janaazah at the door (of the very same house) with an old woman walking to and fro. I enquired from her, “Who is the deceased?” In reply, she said to me, “Leave me alone! Do not renew my grief!” I (excused myself for asking this question and) said, “I am a stranger.”

She thus explained, “This (deceased) is my son. A person passed by last night – may Allah Ta‘ala not reward him – and recited a verse wherein was the mention of the fire (of Jahannam). (Upon hearing it,) my son continued trembling and crying until he passed away.”

Mansoor (rahimahullah) then said (to himself), “O Ibnu ‘Ammaar! By Allah, this is the quality of the fearful!”

(Al-Muntazam vol. 9, pg. 65)

Lessons:

1. The Quraan Majeed and blessed ahaadeeth are replete with the virtues of taubah. However, the first step in making taubah is acknowledging the wrong. We unfortunately live in an era of justification. It has become a common practice to mentally appease oneself by justifying the wrong perpetrated. As a result, a person is deprived of seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta‘ala. Thus, we should recognise the wrong as wrong and continue seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta‘ala.

2. Aakhirah, Jannah and Jahannam are not mere ‘dreams’ or ‘bridges which we will cross when we come to them’. Rather, they are realities which we need to have firm conviction in, and keep before our eyes at all times. Such was the conviction of this youngster that just one verse regarding Jahannam caused his soul to depart from his body.   

3. Many a time, a person makes sincere taubah and sadly falls back into the same vice. This should not drive a person to becoming despondent from the infinite mercy of Allah Ta‘ala. Rather, he should continue sincerely seeking the forgiveness of Allah Ta‘ala and make earnest du‘aa for His assistance, whilst also adopting the correct measures to distance oneself from the sin.