Ebrahim bin Bash-shaar (rahimahullah) narrates:
On one occasion, I was passing through the desert in the company of Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) when we came across a high grave. On seeing the grave, Ebrahim (rahimahullah) made du‘aa for the inmate, asking Allah Ta‘ala to shower His mercy upon him, and began to weep.
I asked Ebrahim (rahimahullah), “Whose grave is this?” Ebrahim (rahimahullah) replied, “This is the grave of Humaid bin Jaabir (rahimahullah) who was the ruler of all these cities. Initially, he was drowning in the oceans of this world (i.e. he was immersed in the luxuries and pleasures of the world). However, Allah Ta‘ala thereafter removed him from the oceans of the world and saved him.
I heard that one day, while he was seated with his close family, taking enjoyment from the amusements of his empire and possessions, he fell asleep. While asleep, he had a dream in which he saw a man standing at his head side, holding a book. The man passed the book to him. When he opened it, he saw the following words inscribed in gold,
‘Do not give preference to that which is temporary over that which is eternal! Do not be beguiled and deceived by your kingdom, your worth, your power, your servants, your slaves, your pleasures and desires. Your kingdom would have been a true kingdom – if it was not destined to perish. Your happiness and pleasure would have been true happiness and pleasure – if it was not a deception and in vain. Today is only worth enjoying if there is a guarantee of seeing tomorrow. So hasten towards obeying Allah Ta‘ala, for indeed He has said, Race with one another towards forgiveness from your Rabb and towards a paradise the width of which spans the heavens and the earth. It has been prepared for the Allah-fearing.’
He awoke from the dream in a state of concern and exclaimed, ‘This is a warning and admonition from Allah Ta‘ala.’ He then abandoned his kingdom and departed secretly. He came to this mountain and devoted himself to remaining engaged in the ‘ibaadah of Allah Ta‘ala. When I heard of his incident, I came to him and asked him about it. He thus told me the story of his life, and I also told him the story of how I had changed my life. Thereafter, I would frequently visit him until he passed away. He is buried here and this is his grave, may Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on him.”
(‘Uyoonul Hikaayaat pg. 51)
1. Allah Ta‘ala sends reminders and ‘wake-up calls’ to people in different ways. It can be a dream, a good thought, or even a close call with death or a calamity. The form of reminder is not important – what’s important is that one takes heed and avails of the opportunity to change his life. Even if a person sees a dream – if he does not take the initiative to make the change then his dream will remain a distant dream. If a person continuously ignores the reminders of Allah Ta‘ala, then a time comes when Allah Ta‘ala ceases to send him reminders. At such a time, it can be very difficult for a person to repent and reform his life (may Allah Ta‘ala save us!). It is thus important that we appreciate the reminders of Allah Ta‘ala, even if it be the reminder of our conscience bothering us and making us feel guilty.
2. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) and Humaid bin Jaabir (rahimahullah) were both rulers of their time. However, when they realized the worthlessness of this world and the immeasurable value of Allah Ta‘ala’s love, they left everything to strive for the ultimate. Thereafter, the pleasure that they found in Allah Ta‘ala’s obedience was that it could not be rivalled by anything that their kingdoms had to offer.
3. Ebrahim bin Adham (rahimahullah) and Humaid bin Jaabir (rahimahullah) would regularly spend time in each other’s company. Through remaining in the company of the pious, righteous and learned, a person gains motivation, steadfastness and guidance in Deen.