There was a man from the Banu Israaeel named Kifl who would not abstain from sins and evil. Rather, whatever sin he wished to commit, he would commit without any hesitation or reservation.
Once, he paid a woman sixty dinaars (gold coins) so that he could fulfil his desires with her. However, when he came close to her to commit the sin, he found that she was trembling and weeping. He asked her, “Why are you crying? Did I force you to do this?” The woman replied, “No, (you did not force me,) but I am crying because I have never committed this sin before in my life. The only reason that I am doing it now is because I am desperate (and have no other way to acquire money).”
When Kifl heard this, he remarked in surprise, “You are doing this (out of desperation), and you have never done it before?” He then said to her, “You may go, and you may keep the money as well.”
Kifl thereafter repented saying, “No, by Allah! Never again will I disobey Allah Ta‘ala!”
That night, it so happened that Kifl passed away. The following morning, when the people awoke, they found the following words written on the door of Kifl’s home, “Allah has certainly forgiven Kifl.”
Note: The reporter of this hadeeth, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned this incident to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) on so many occasions that he had personally heard it more than seven times from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
(Sunan Tirmizi #2496)
1. Despite committing countless sins throughout his life, Kifl repented at the very end, acquiring the forgiveness of Allah Ta‘ala and securing salvation. Thus, no matter how many sins we have committed, or how many years we have been leading lives of sin, it is NEVER too late to repent and change our lives. The mercy of Allah Ta‘ala is so vast and limitless that He may readily forgive even a thousand years’ worth of sins if He wishes. Hence, we should never despair of His mercy.
2. Kifl led a life of sin, but on account of sincerely repenting before his death, his lifetime of sins was erased. Conversely, it sometimes happens that a person leads a life of righteousness, but then falls into sins before passing away, due to which he undergoes difficulties in the Hereafter. Thus, we should never be so brave as to commit sins and feel that we will repent later, as the ‘later’ may never come. Furthermore, since we do not know which day will be our last, we should engage in sincere repentance every day, especially before sleeping at night.
3. Showing kindness and mercy to the creation is an action that is beloved to Allah Ta‘ala and draws His special mercy. Kifl had the desperate woman at his mercy and could have taken advantage of her, but instead showed her mercy by allowing her to go and giving her the money. It was perhaps on account of this action that Allah Ta‘ala accepted the repentance of Kifl and forgave him.
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