Friday, January 01, 2010

Seeking Forgiveness (Al-Istighfaar, Istighfar)

Buhlul, the Gravedigger: Seeking Forgiveness (Al-Istighfaar, Istighfar)Repentance in Islam

Note: Not to be confused with Buhlul who lived during the time of Imam Musa Kadhim (as).

Mu'adh ibn Jabal was in tears when he arrived in the presence of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) and greeted him. The Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied to his greeting and asked: "What makes you cry?"

"At the door of the mosque, there is a good-looking youth who weeps as intensely as a mother whose young son has died, and he wishes to meet you," replied Mu'adh ibn Jabal

The Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) agreed to meet him.

The youth entered and greeted the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) who returned his greeting and enquired: "Why do you weep?"

"Why should I not weep? I have committed sins which Allah (SWT) will never forgive and He is bound to hurl me into Hell," said the youth.

"Have you associated someone with Allah (SWT)?"


"Have you killed anybody?"


"Even if your sins are of the magnitude of mountains, Allah (SWT) shall forgive them," said the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw).

"My sins are greater than the mountains," the youth explained.

"Are your sins in the magnitude of the seven earths, the seas, the sands, the trees, all that lies on the earth, in the skies, the stars, the Throne and the Chair?" asked the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw).

"My sins are greater than all of these things."

"Woe unto you! Are your sins greater than your Lord?"

The youth lowered his head and replied, "Allah (SWT) is devoid of all blemishes; it is my Lord, who is greater."

"Would you not relate one of your sins to me?" enquired the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw).

"Why not?" responded the youth, whose name was Buhlul. "For seven years I used to dig up the graves of the newly buried, take out their shrouds and sell them. One night, a maiden from amongst the Ansar (The Helpers) died and was buried in the cemetery. When I dug open her grave to remove the shroud from her body, the Shaitan (Satan) tempted me and I committed a grave sin. As I was turning back, the body called out to me: "O' Youth! Don't you fear the Ruler of the Day of Judgment? Woe unto you of the fire of the Day of Judgment!"

Having narrated this, the youth wanted to know what he should do to avoid punishment.

Buhlul, the Gravedigger: Seeking Forgiveness (Al-Istighfaar, Istighfar)"O' Sinner! Stay away from me for I fear that I might burn in your fire too!" cried out the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw).

The youth, Buhlul left, heading straight towards the mountains. He tied his hands to his neck and became engrossed in worship, supplications and seeking forgiveness.

For forty days, he wept day and night to the extent that even the wild beasts were affected by his weeping. After forty days he asked Allah (SWT) to either punish him by means of fire or forgive him, so that he might not have to face humiliation on the Day of Judgment.

Allah (SWT) revealed the following verse, which refers to the forgiveness of Buhlul: "And those who, when they commit an indecency or do injustices to their souls, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults and who forgives the faults but Allah..." Noble Qur'an (3:135)

The Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) recited this verse with a smiling face and then asked: "Who can take me to that youth?"

Mu'adh ibn Jabal agreed to take him. Accompanied with Mu'adh ibn Jabal, the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) went to the place where the youth was. The Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) saw him standing between two boulders, hands tied to his neck and engaged in supplication. His face had become dark due to the scorching sun and all his eyelashes had fallen off due to the intense weeping. Wild beasts had gathered around him while the birds circled over his head, all of them weeping over his distressed and pitiable state.

The Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) advanced towards him, untied his hands and cleared the soil from the top of his head.

"O' Buhlul! Glad tidings for you; you have been liberated by Allah (SWT) from the fire (of Hell)," the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) said.

Then, turning to his companion (Sahaba), Mu'adh ibn Jabal the Noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "This is how you should make amends for your sins." Read More

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