Story of an Idolator
Abdul Wahid b. Zaid (mercy be upon him) who belonged to a lineage of saints said, “We were once sailing in a boat. A gush of wind blew away our boat to an island where we saw a man busy adoring an idol. We asked him what he was worshipping. He pointed towards the idol. We said to him that this idol was made with his own hands. How could he worship it? The God whom we worship creates all such things Himself, and so deserves to be worshipped, alone.”
He then asked us, who do you worship? We told him, “We worship the Great God (Allah) who lives in the highest heaven. He alone controls the heavens and the earth. All other creatures whether human or animal depend on Him for their sustenance.” He further asked how we came to know about this Glorious God. We replied, “He sent His final Messenger (Peace be Upon him) to the whole of mankind to teach them about His Greatness.” He proceeded to enquire “Let me know of the place where this Prophet of God is?” We replied, “After the Prophet had completed his mission by conveying the message of God he died and returned to his Lord”.
He continued to ask, “Did this Messenger of God leave behind a thing for your guidance?” We explained, “Yes, he left behind a Book (the Qur’an), which was revealed by God. He asked to see the book. We offered him the Holy Qur’an. He told us he was unable to read and so we recited a few verses for him instead. During the course of its recital he repeatedly wept until we stopped. He finally asserted, “This can only be from Allah, the Most High”, and immediately confirmed his Faith in Allah and His Messenger.
We informed him about the duties of Islam and also explained some verses of the Holy Qur’an. After the late night prayer we went to bed and the man continued to ask questions. “Does Allah sleep at night? he wondered aloud as we lay comfortably in our beds. “Our Exalted God is Everliving and Everlasting. He does not sleep or rest!” we exclaimed. On hearing this he cried, “What disobedient slaves you are! Your Lord keeps awake, whereas you sleep!” We were dumbstruck by his remark. When we were about to return from this island, he begged us to take him with us to allow him to learn more. We agreed.
On reaching the city of ‘Aabadan, says Abdul Wahid, I said to my companions, “This man is our brother, therefore we should provide him with some livelihood”. Some dirhams were offered to him but he refused to accept them and exclaimed, “What is this?” We replied, “These are some dirhams for your expenditure.” He said, “It is enough that.you have shown me the right path. I was upon error and Allah guided me. I did not even worship him yet He neither destroyed nor killed me. I am so grateful to Him and you.
After a few days, we were told that he was about to breathe his last. We went to see him and asked him if there was any need of his to be satisfied. He said no and that he was happy with all that he had gained from Allah. Abdul Wahid said, ” I was all of asudden, overcome by sleep and hence slept there.
While sleeping, I saw a very fertile grden wherein was avery fine vault; a throne occupied by a very beautiful girl, a beauty that I had never seen before. She said to me , ‘By Allah, I returned him to His Lord quickly’, By seeing her in such a state I became very anxious. He addeded, ”When I woke up , the man had passed away. We managed to bury him immediately.”
Again at night, said Abdul Wahid; ”I witnessed the same garden, the same vault and the same girl sitting besides the man who had died. She was recitting the following Qur’anic verse, the transalation of which is ”And the Angels vist them from each door and send them their compliments, glad tiddings for peace and safety against each kind of misfortune. All this is the fruit of your contentment (and steadfastness for the religion of Islam). There is therefore a good reward for you in the Hereafter.”
This story of the idolator shows the Greatness of Allah and His Mercy towards the man who previously worshipped idols. He sent the people to the island as a means to guide the idolator and thus rewarded him a magnificent rewardin the hereafter.
”O Master of the world ! Whom Thou giveth to, nobody can withhold and whom Thou giveth not, no one can confer upon him.”