In the time of the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) there lived a notorious highway robber, Awli Abbas. He frequented the streets after midnight and if he found someone walking alone he caught him, robbed him, sometimes beat him or killed him, and then returned home. No one was able to catch that highwayman. The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘That is an evil person. I will never pray for him and I will not bury him in the graveyard of the Muslims.’
After many years, the highwayman passed away and the children dragged his body through the streets of Madinah and threw it into a dry well. As soon as they had thrown him into the well, Almighty Allah spoke to the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, ‘O my beloved! Today one of my saints has passed away. You must go and wash him, clean him, cover him, pray for him, and bury him.’ The Holy Last Messengerﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was astonished. Now that he had passed away, Almighty Allah told him he was a saint! How could he be a saint?
Lesson: If you teach your ego not to interfere with anyone, then you are going to find yourself living in happiness, because when you look at people, you will only see servants of the same Lord as yours and, therefore, Almighty Allah will sometimes forgive them for what they are doing. Don’t say, ‘You are committing wrong by drinking, womanizing, doing this, and doing that.’ Leave everyone to his or her Lord. Teach people in general, don’t focus on someone and be specific.
Almighty Allah told the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), ‘O Messenger of Allah, take him and purify him.’ The Holy Last Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) immediately called Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (upon him be peace) and said, ‘O Abu Bakr, we have to go and bury the highwayman who died.’ Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said, ‘O Messenger of God, you said that you did not want to bury that person in a Muslim grave for he is not Muslim!’ The Holy Last Messengerﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘No! Let alone ordinary Muslims. Allah informed me today that the person was a saint!’
What did that thief do in his life to become a saint? He killed, robbed, and stole all his life. The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went into the well, took that person’s body out with his own hands and with his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all!), and carried him to his house. He cleaned him, washed him, wrapped him in a shroud, prayed for him, then took him from his mosque to the Baqi Cemetery, a distance of fifteen minutes walks. It took the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) more than two hours to move from the mosque to the cemetery.
All the Companions were astonished at the way the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was walking. He had performed ablution for the dead with his own hands on that man, washed him, and prayed for him. Now that he was taking him to his grave, he was walking on tiptoes. ‘O Messenger of Allah,’ they asked, ‘Why are you walking on tiptoes?’ He said, ‘Allah ordered all saints from East to West, all angels from the Seven Heavens and all spiritual beings to be present and follow the funeral procession of that saint. There are so many of them filling the way that I cannot find a place to put my feet! Never in my life was I so surprised as I am today.’
After they buried him, the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not speak with anyone, but quickly returned to his house trembling and shivering. He sat with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq asking himself what that saint had done, a robber all his life, to merit such a high degree of respect from Allah. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (upon him be peace) said, ‘O Messenger of God, I feel ashamed to ask about what I saw today. It was so astonishing!’ The the Holy Last Messengerﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) answered, ‘Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, I am even more surprised than you. I am waiting for Gabriel (upon him be peace) to come and inform me of what has happened.’
When Gabriel (upon him be peace) came, the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘O Gabriel, what is the matter?’ He answered, ‘O Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), do not ask me. I am also astonished, yet do not be astonished as Allah can do what no one can do! He is telling you to ask that man’s daughter what he did in his life.’
The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) immediately went with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq to the house of that burglar. Nowadays, ministers and secretaries of state or even a manager in a company treat everyone else as if they were beggars at their door, showing neither respect nor humility. The Holy Last Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) disregarding his power and status as a perfect human being, as the Beloved of Allah, humbly went to that saint’s house to ask his child what her father had done in his life.
He said, ‘O my daughter, please tell me how your father lived.’ She told him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I am very ashamed before you! What am I going to tell you? He was a killer, a thief. I never saw him do anything well. He robbed and stole day and night, except for one month during the year and when that month came, he would say, ‘This is the month of Allah,’ because he heard you say, ‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is the month of the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and Ramadan is the month of the Community.’ So he said, ‘I do not care for the month of the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) or the month of the Community, only for the month of my Lord. Therefore, I am going to sit in my room and close it and perform seclusion during this month.’
The Holy Last Messenger Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), asked her, ‘What kind of seclusion did he do?’ She told him, ‘O Messenger of Allah! One day he was out in the street looking for someone to rob. He found an old man of seventy or eighty years of age and beat him until he was unconscious, then robbed him. He found a small piece of folded paper in his pocket. He opened it and found a prayer inside. He liked that prayer very much. Every year when the month of Rajab–the month of Allah–came around, my father used to sit and read that prayer day and night, weeping and reading, except when he wanted to eat or perform ablution. After the month was over, he got up and said, ‘The month of Allah is finished. Now for my pleasure,’ and would go back to robbing and stealing for eleven more months.’
When the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked the daughter to bring him the paper, he kissed it and rubbed this paper over his body.
Almighty Allah, Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, told the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), ‘O My beloved! That person came and repented to Me in the most precious month of the year. For that reason, because he sacrificed at least one month of the year for Me, I have forgiven him for all his mistakes and I have changed all his sins into good deeds.’
As he had many sins, now he has many rewards. He became a great saint. The supplication used by that man is a very important supplication which all are advised to recite three times a day during the month of Rajab. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim has said that this supplication purifies you from all your sins and leaves you as pure as a newborn child. It is a very famous supplication in Sufi orders. I advise all of you not to forget about that supplication, but practice it during the month of Rajab. Keep reciting it and Allah will give you as He Wills, according to your intention.
~ Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
DU’A OF THE SAINT OF RAJAB
O Allah, I ask forgiveness of You for everything for which I repented to You then returned to. And I ask forgiveness of You for everything I displeased You with and all that concerns me with which You are displeased. And I ask forgiveness of You for the favors which I used for increasing my disobedience towards You. And I ask forgiveness of You for the sins which no one knows except You and no one sees except You and nothing encompasses except Your Mercy and nothing delivers from except Your forgiveness and clemency. There is no God except You alone. You are the Most High and I was one of the [self] oppressors!
O Allah, I ask forgiveness of You for the injustice I committed against Your servants. Whatever of Your male or female servants whom I have hurt, physically or in their dignity or in their property give them of Your bounty which lacks nothing. And I ask You to honor me with Your mercy which encompasses all things. Do not humble me with Your punishment but give me what I ask of You, for I am in great need of Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful. May Allah send blessings upon Muhammad and upon all his companions. There is no power and no might except in Allah the High, the Exalted.