Maalik bin Dinaar (rahimahullah) narrates the following incident:
On one occasion, I was performing tawaaf around the blessed Ka’bah. During the tawaaf, I was surprised with the large multitudes of people who had arrived to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah. However, (as I observed these people,) I began to think, “If only I had knowledge of which person is accepted by Allah Ta‘ala, so that I may congratulate him, and which person is rejected by Allah Ta‘ala, so that I may sympathize with him!”
That night, when I went to sleep, I had a dream in which someone said to me, “O Maalik bin Dinaar! You are pondering over those performing Hajj and ‘Umrah! I take an oath, by Allah, that Allah Ta‘ala has forgiven all the people, whether young or old, male or female, black or white, Arab or non-Arab – with the exception of one man. Allah Ta‘ala is greatly displeased with him and has rejected his hajj, striking his face with it.” After hearing this, Allah Ta‘ala alone knows how I managed to sleep for the remainder of the night, as I feared that I should not be that rejected person.
The following night, when I went to sleep, I had the exact same dream, except that this time, I was told, “You are not that person (who is rejected by Allah Ta‘ala). Rather, he is a man from the region of Khuraasaan, from a city named Balkh. His name is Muhammad bin Haaroon. Allah Ta‘ala is greatly displeased with him. Allah Ta‘ala has rejected his hajj and has struck his face with it.”
The following morning, I went to the various tribes of Khuraasaan, who were gathered in Makkah Mukarramah (for hajj), and greeted them with salaam. I then asked them, “Are there any people among you from the city of Balkh?” When they affirmed that there were people from Balkh among them, I asked, “Is there a man among you named Muhammad bin Haaroon?” They enthusiastically replied, “How excellent! O Maalik, you are enquiring about a man who is such that nobody in Khuraasaan can surpass him in worship and disinterest in the world!”
I was astonished at the manner in which they extolled his virtue, considering the dream which I had seen. Nevertheless, I said to them, “Please direct me towards him.” They responded, “For the last forty years, he fasts during the day and spends the night engaged in performing salaah. He only takes ruined, dilapidated buildings as his residence. You will find him among the ruined homes of Makkah Mukarramah.”
I thus went towards the ruined buildings of Makkah Mukarramah where I began to roam about, until I located him, standing behind a wall. His right hand was amputated, and his collar bones were pierced, with chains linking through them, extending to shackles around his ankles. When I saw him, he was engaged in salaah, performing ruku and sajdah, but when he heard the sound of my footsteps behind him, he concluded his salaah.
He then asked me, “Who are you, and where are you from?” I replied, “I am Maalik bin Dinaar from Basrah.” Hearing my name, he asked, “Are you the same Maalik whose knowledge of Deen and asceticism is spoken of by the people of Iraq?” I replied, “The One who is truly knowledgeable is Allah Ta‘ala. The true ascetic is ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah), as the wealth of the world was within his grasp, yet he turned away from it (and abandoned it). As far as I am concerned, it is poverty that has forced me to detach myself from the world.”
Muhammad bin Haaroon then asked me, “O Maalik! What has brought you to me? You must have seen a dream regarding me, so please tell me what you saw.” I responded, “I feel embarrassed to tell you what I saw.” He replied, “Do not feel embarrassed, O Maalik!” Thus, (at his urging,) I narrated the dream to him.
After hearing my dream, he began to weep, and continued to shed tears for some time. Eventually, he said to me, “O Maalik! For every year of the last forty years, a pious person, such as you, has been shown this dream in my regard, informing him that I am from the people of Jahannum.” I enquired, “Did you commit a terrible crime and sin which now stands as an obstacle between you and Allah Ta‘ala?” He answered, “Yes! My sin is even greater than the heavens, the earth and the throne of Allah Ta‘ala!” I asked, “Tell me of your sin so that I may caution others and discourage them from committing it.”
Muhammad bin Haaroon thus recounted the following:
“O Maalik! I was a man who would excessively consume intoxicating substances. One day, I was with one of my friends, and I drank so much of liquor that I became totally drunk and completely lost my sense of reason. In this intoxicated state, I left my friend and returned home. On arriving at home, I knocked on the door. My wife, who was also my cousin, opened the door. As I entered, I saw my mother who was stoking the oven to increase its heat. She continued to stoke the oven until the inside of the oven actually turned white with the heat. At that point, she turned and saw me, swaying from side to side in my drunken stupor.
“She began to reproach me saying, ‘This is the last day of Sha’baan, and tonight will be the first night of Ramadhaan! Tomorrow morning, all the people will wake up in the state that they are fasting, and you will wake up in the state that you are drunk and intoxicated! Do you feel no shame before Allah?’ Hearing my mother’s reproach, I raised my hand and slapped her. My mother cursed me and uttered, ‘May you be destroyed!’
“I was angered by her curse, so in my drunken state, I lifted her and threw her into the oven. When my wife saw this, she pushed me into an inner room of the house and locked the door, fearing that the neighbours would hear the clamour.
“As the night drew to an end, my soberness returned and I recovered my senses. I shouted for my wife to open the door, but found that when she replied to me, it was with harshness and disgust. I asked her, ‘What is the matter? Why are you showing me harshness that you have never shown me before?’ She replied, ‘You do not deserve any kindness or sympathy from me!’ Hearing this, I asked her the reason, to which she answered, ‘You killed your mother. You threw her into the oven and she burned to death.’
“When I heard this, I could not restrain myself. I broke the door down, exited the room and rushed to the oven. As I looked into the oven, I saw my mother’s body in it resembling a burned loaf of bread. I turned from the oven and saw an axe. I seized it in my left hand, placed my right hand on the door frame, and hacked off my right hand. I then pierced my collar bones and inserted a chain through them. I also tied my feet in shackles.
“My wealth comprised of eight thousand dinaars (gold coins). Before the sun could set, I gave the entire amount in charity. I freed twenty six slave girls and twenty three male slaves, and I donated all my properties as waqf in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. Since then, for the past forty years, I have fasted every day and remain awake every night, performing salaah. I perform hajj every single year, and every year, a learned person such as you is shown this dream in my regard!”
Maalik bin Dinaar (rahimahullah) says,
I shook my hand in the face of Muhammad bin Haaroon and exclaimed, “You accursed person! You have almost burned the earth and all its inhabitants with the fire of your sin!” Saying this, I turned and moved away from him to a place where I could still hear him, although I could no longer see him. At that point, he raised his hands and made the following du‘aa:
“O the Alleviator of concern, the Remover of grief, the One Who answers the call of the person in constraints! O the One Who is Most Firm and will not fail me when I hold onto Him, and O the Creator of the deep ocean! O the One Who is my only true god! O the One Who creates ease, and O the One in Whose control lies the key to every goodness! I seek protection in Your pleasure from your anger, and in Your forgiveness from Your punishment, and I seek refuge in You from You! I am unable to extoll Your virtues (as they ought to be extolled), You are as You have praised Yourself! O my Lord! Do not break my hope while I have hope in You, and do not let my du‘aa be wasted while I make du‘aa to You! I ask You for the happiness of living before I die, and I ask You to be blessed to behold Your countenance!”
After he made this du‘aa, I departed and returned to my residence. That night, I had a dream in which I was blessed to see Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to me, “O Maalik! Do not make people despondent in the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, and do not make them lose hope in His forgiveness! Indeed Allah Ta‘ala has accepted the du‘aa of Muhammad bin Haaroon and has forgiven his sin … On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta‘ala will inspire his mother to forgive him as well.”
The following morning, I went to Muhammad bin Haaron and informed him of the dream that I had seen. As soon as he heard the glad tidings that I conveyed to him, he breathed his last and departed from this world. I thereafter participated in his janaazah salaah.
(‘Uyoonul Hikaayaat pg. 135)
1. Despite Maalik bin Dinaar (rahimahullah) being one of the leading saints of the time, his humility was such that he presumed himself to be the unfortunate person whose hajj was rejected. Likewise, when the man praised him for his asceticism and knowledge, he did not attribute any greatness to himself but rather praised ‘Umar bin ‘Abdil ‘Azeez (rahimahullah).
2. Every person should always have hope in the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala, but at the same time, he should fear that he is not rejected and cast out by Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, we should continue to strive and carry out righteous actions, but we should never feel confident over our actions. Rather, we should beg Allah Ta‘ala to accept our actions, regarding them unworthy of acceptance, and seek His forgiveness for not carrying out the actions as they ought to be carried out.
3. Jannah lies under the feet of one’s mother, while one’s father is a doorway to Jannah. To please the parents is to please Allah Ta‘ala, and to displease them is to displease Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, when fulfilling their rights and pleasing their hearts is a means of one earning Jannah, then causing them pain and breaking their hearts will undoubtedly lead one to Jahannam.
4. No matter how major our sin, how bad our record, or how heinous our crimes – Allah Ta‘ala is still ready to forgive us and accept us. We should never ever lose hope in Allah Ta‘ala as the door of His mercy is open for us until we die. All that is required is for us to repent, in genuine remorse over our sins, beg His pardon, and pledge to never again return to our sinful ways.
5. As soon as Muhammad bin Haaroon realized what he had done, he did his best to compensate for it. He gave all his wealth away and spent the remainder of his life in the worship of Allah Ta‘ala. If we have unfortunately fallen into sin, then we should waste no time in getting back to our feet and making amends by performing taubah salaah, giving charity, etc.
6. Perhaps the most remarkable lesson learned from this incident is that of perseverance. Despite people seeing dreams for forty years, indicating that his hajj was rejected, Muhammad bin Haaaroon persevered and never gave up. He understood that there is no door of mercy besides Allah Ta‘ala’s door, and so he was prepared to die knocking at the door. This perseverance ultimately paid off, as Allah Ta‘ala forgave him mere moments before he passed away.