The Ethiopian Slave
Abdullah bin Mubarak relates, “‘Once while I was in Makkah, we were struck with a severe drought. It had not rained for weeks and all the people gathered in Masjid al-Haram to pray for rain. I was also amongst them sitting next to the gate of Banu Saiba. An Ethiopian slave wearing tatty garments came and sat in front of me. I could hear him praying, “Oh Allah, bad deeds and sinning have frayed the faces and you have stopped showering us with your mercy to teach mankind a lesson. I ask you Oh Haleem, Oh Raheem, Oh One whose people know nothing except good. Send rain unto us this moment”. He prayed until the clouds appeared and it rained.
When he left I followed him to find out his whereabouts. On returning home I went to see Fudail bin Ayaz who asked me why I was depressed. I related the incident, he then insisted that I take him to this Young man. “It is late, let me find out more about him”‘ I told him.
After Fajr, I went to see the slave and found an old man sitting at his door. On seeing him he recognised me. He welcomed me and then asked about my need. “I need a black slave”, I asked. He replied, “I have many, take anyone you like”. He kept on calling the slaves one by one and I refused until he fnally called out the one I was looking for. He then refused to sell this slave on the grounds that his presence brought many blessings. When I said, “Shall I return to sufyan Ath-Thari and Fudail bin Ayaz empty handed?” He accepted and said, your coming was a big thing. Pay the price you like and take him” I purchased the slave, and headed towards Fudail’s house.
On the way he asked, “Why did you not Purchase a slave stronger than me I am weak and cannot serve you . My master showed you many that were stronger. I said, ”By Allah, I am going to serve you, buy you a house and marry You off,” He began to cry. I asked, “What makes you cry?” He said, “The only reason you are going to treat me like this is because you have seen my connection with my Lord “.
He then asked if I could wait for him as he had some Rakats left over from last night. I informed him that Fudail’s house is close from here, but he insisted, ”It is not good to delay the work of Allah”. He entered the Masjid and prayed. When he finished he asked me, ”Oh Abu Abdur Rahman, do you have a need?” I said ”Why do you ask?” He replied, ”To the Hereafter”. He then said, Life was good when the secret was between my Lord and I. Now you know and then someone else will come to know. Now I am no longer in need of this life.” He fell down and began to say ”Oh Allah take me now.” I came close to him and found him still. He had passed away.