19 February 2014 CE | 17 Rabbi al-Thanni 1435 AH

Hadith Explanation

Entrusted to a Bandit

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The first act that the slave (human being) will be accountable for on the Day of Judgement will be prayer. If it is good, then the rest of his acts will be good. And if it is evil, then the rest of his acts will be evil.” [Tabarani]


Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) says: "Establish prayer, for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds." [Quran: Surah Al-Ankabut, Ayat 45]


The story of Fudayl bin Iyaad shows how a person’s prayer eventually turned his life around. There must have been sincerity in his prayer because of which Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) made him abandon evil for good.


One day, some bandits were lying in ambush for a caravan to come by. The chief of the bandits, Fudayl, was offering Salaat under a tree. A caravan came by and the bandits attacked it without delay.


Seeing what they were about to face, a traveler in the caravan quickly collected all the money of the travelers and looking around in a hurry saw a person offering prayers under a tree. He rushed to him and confident of his integrity said: “I entrust all these things to you. I will come later and take them back from you.”


Fudayl replied, “Leave them by my side.” The traveler did as he was told and rushed back to the caravan. The bandits had left, taking everything they could find. So the people sent the man to bring their gold pieces back. When the traveler reached the place where he had entrusted the gold pieces to the pious man, he was shocked to see the entire pack of bandits surrounding him.


The traveler understood that he had handed over the gold pieces to the chief of the bandits. As he was about to break down in sorrow, Fudayl yelled, “Come and take the gold pieces from where you put them!”


In surprise and fear he took a couple of steps, knelt down and grabbed the pouch containing the gold pieces. Fudayl yelled again, “Now go away!” The traveler could not believe his eyes and ears. He broke into a run towards his companions in the caravan.


The bandits were furious, “Chief! Why on earth have you given the gold pieces away?” Fudayl replied, “That man, seeing me offering the prayer, considered me to be a trustworthy man and entrusted to me his gold. One must always take special care of something that was entrusted to him. I have realized that Salaat and robbery do not go together. Either Salaat prevents me from committing bad deeds or robbery prevents me from offering Salaat. From this point onward, I quit being a bandit.”


The bandits were speechless. Their chief, the man whom they loved and trusted the most, was now leaving them. After a short silence one of the bandits stood up and said, “Chief, wherever you are, I am there with you. Until now, you were our leader in committing bad deeds. From this moment on, you be our guide on the path of committing good deeds.”


The rest of the bandits nodded solemnly. They returned the loot to its owners and having repented, dedicated themselves to the service of the Almighty. [Fariduddin Ataar, Tazkirat’ul Auliyaa]

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