Sheikh Maalik bin Dinar Rahmatullahi Alayhi was one of the most renowned scholars of his times. It is said that, in his early life, he was not a very pious man, and when someone asked him how he came to repent of his sins and abandon his evil ways, he related the following story about himself:
“I was a policeman in my youth, and was fond of wine and would drink like a fish. I drank day and night and led a carefree life. I bought a beautiful slave girl whom I loved most dearly. I had a daughter form her, a lovely child, and I was very fond of her, and she was very fond of me. When this baby daughter began to laugh and talk, my love for her increased and she remained with me all the time. The innocent child had a strange habit, whenever she saw a glass of wine in my hands; she would snatch it away and spill it on my clothes. However, being fond of her, I did not scold her. As fate would have it, my innocent child died when she was two years old and I was stunned with shock and heart-sore with bitter grief”.
One night, I was dead drunk and went to sleep without performing my Esha Salaah. I had the most horrible and terrible dream, in which I saw that it was the day of resurrection. Everyone was coming out of their graves, and I was one of those who were being driven to the place of assembly. I heard the noise of something following me. When I looked back, I saw a huge snake chasing me close behind. It was the most horrible sight. The snake had blue catlike eyes, its mouth was wide open, and it was rushing towards me most furiously! I ran faster in terror, desperate for my life. The horrible snake was still running after me and drawing closer. I saw an old man dressed in elegant clothes with rich perfume wafting around him. I greeted him saying, “As Salamu Alaykum”, and he returned my greeting. I said, “For the sake of Allah Taa'la, help me in my misery”. He said, “I am too weak to help against such a mighty foe, it is beyond my powers, but you must go on running; perhaps you may find some help to save you from it. Running wildly I saw a cliff in front of me and climbed over it. But upon reaching its top, I saw beyond it the raging fire of Jahannam, with its most horrifying spectacles. I was so terrified by the snake that I nearly fell inside. Meanwhile I heard a voice calling aloud,” Get back, for you are not one of them.” I went away and began to run in the opposite direction, the snake also turned around and came after me. I saw again that same white man and said to him, “Old man, can't you save me from this snake, I asked you before but you did not help me”, the man gave me the answer and said to me, “I am too weak to help you against such a mighty snake, but I can tell you that there is a hill nearby where they keep the sacred trusts of the Muslims, if you go up that hill, you might find something of yours, kept entrusted, which might save you from the snake.”
I rushed towards the hill, which was round in shape, with a large number of open contained casements. The casements had golden shutters with rich rubies, and the most precious jewels. On each shutter, a curtain made of the rarest silk was hung. When I was going to climb the hill, the angels called aloud, “Open the window, raise the curtains and come out of your closets! Here is an unfortunate man in misery; maybe you have with you some “trust” of his that might help in his distress.”
The window opened at once, the curtains went up, and there issued forth from the casements a host of innocent children with faces bright as the moon. By this time, I was utterly despondent, for the snake had drawn close to me. Now the children called their friends, “Come out quickly, all of you, for the snake has come very close to him!”. Hearing this, more children came out of the windows in large crowds, and among them, I saw my own dear daughter who had died some time ago. She also saw me and began to weep exclaiming, “By Allah Taa'la, he is my own dear father!” The next moment, she was standing by my side and with her right hand she was motioning the snake away. The snake went away immediately. Then she gave me a seat and sat in my lap and began to stroke my beard with her right hand saying, “My dear Father, has not the time come for the Believers that their Hearts should submit in all humility to the remembrance of Allah Taa'la and to the truth, which is revealed” (Al Hadeed: 16).
I was moved to tears and asked her, “My daughter, do all of you know the meanings of the Qur’an? She replied “We understand the Holy Quran even better than you.” I asked her, “My dear child, what was this snake?” She said “It was your own evil deeds which had made it so strong that it was about to push you into Jahannam”. I asked “And who was that white-robed old man?”. She replied “That were your good deeds and you had made them so weak with your scanty good deeds that he could not help you against the snake (though he suggested to you a means of escape.)”
I asked “What are all of you doing on this hill?”. She replied “We are children of Muslims, who died in infancy. We shall live here till the Day of Resurrection, waiting to be reunited with you when you come to us at last and we shall intercede for you with our Lord”. And then I awoke from the dream, with the fright (of the snake) still heavy on my heart. I turned to Allah in repentance, as soon as I arose; and abandoned all my evil ways.
So dear readers! Close your eyes for a few minutes and think deep: How much have we broken the commands of Allah Taa'la? Are we fulfilling his duties? Are we practising the Sunnah of the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam? If our answer is in the negative, then ponder, "HAS NOT THE TIME COME FOR THE BELIEVERS TO TURN TO ALLAH TAA'LA???"