‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) was a person who lived during the rule of the Abbasid ruler, Al-Mahdi. He initially lived a life filled with entertainment and luxury but subsequently repented and reformed to live a life of piety and simplicity. Hereunder follows the story of his repentance:
One day, ‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) drank wine while enjoying the entertainment of amusement and songs. On account of the wine and entertainment, he missed the zuhr, ‘asr and maghrib salaahs! Whenever the salaah time set in, one of his slave girls would unsuccessfully attempt to draw his attention and alert him of the salaah. When even the time for the ‘esha salaah had elapsed, the slave girl finally seized a glowing ember from the fire and placed it on the leg of ‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah). As soon as the glowing ember burnt his skin, ‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) yelled in pain and asked her, “What are you doing!?” The slave girl calmly replied, “This is an ember from the fire of this world. Will you be able to tolerate an ember from the fire of Jahannum?” When he heard the chastisement of the slave girl, he immediately began to cry and stood to perform the salaahs which he had missed.
After performing the salaahs he had missed, he began to ponder over his slave girl’s statement which had created a deep, indelible impression upon his heart. After pondering for some time, he eventually reached the conclusion that the only way in which he would be able to change his life and reform his condition would be for him to forgo his luxuries, entertainment and wealth. He therefore freed all his slaves, released all his employees and gave all his wealth in sadaqah. In order to support himself, he thereafter engaged in selling vegetables. It was only the slave girl who had inspired him to change his life who now remained with him.
One day, Sufyaan bin ‘Uyaynah (rahimahullah) and Fudhail bin ‘Iyaadh (rahimahullah) came to visit ‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) and found that his head was resting on a brick instead of a pillow and that he had no mattress or blanket beneath him. Noticing this state of simplicity, Sufyaan (rahimahullah) asked, “Whenever someone abandons something for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, Allah Ta‘ala gives him something far better in return. What has Allah Ta‘ala granted you in exchange of all that you have abandoned?” ‘Abdullah bin Marzooq (rahimahullah) replied, “Happiness and contentment.” (Kitaabut Tawwaabeen libni Qudaamah pg. 162)
1. We need to create such a bond with salaah that regardless of circumstances, be it a wedding or a funeral that we are attending, whether we feel motivated or lethargic, we will not be able to tolerate missing our salaah.
2. How fortunate is that person who inspires their fellow Muslim to change their life! For as long as that person remains on guidance thereafter, the one who was the means of reformation will continue to receive reward.
3. If there is anything in our lives that is an obstacle between us and our Creator; it prevents us from fulfilling our obligations to Allah Ta‘ala and causes us to fall into sin, then we should immediately remove it from our lives. When this is done for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala then He will most definitely grant us something far greater in exchange.
4. The only true wealth is the wealth of the heart i.e. contentment. It is only when a person turns his gaze away from his own wealth and the wealth of others and directs it to the infinite treasures of Allah Ta‘ala that Allah Ta‘ala grants him the invaluable wealth of contentment.