Islamic Studies

THE Solution! :: At Tawbah

Malik ibn Dinar, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated:

I read in some of the books of wisdom that Allah Most High says: “Indeed, I am Allah, the King of kings. [The kings] hearts are in my Hand. So whoever obeys Me, I will put in the hearts of those who rule over them mercy and compassion [upon the people that they rule over], and whoever disobeys me, I will put in the hearts of those who rule over them wrath. So do not busy yourselves with insulting the kings, but instead, repent to Me [tuboo elayy], and I will put in the hearts [of the leaders] compassion and sympathy for you.” [Safwat at Tafaseer, V.1, p.419]

Lesson: Let’s stop complaining and blaming. Let’s turn back to Allah and repent to Him, work on our individual relationships with Him, and insha’Allah we’ll see the fruits of that tawbah on an ummah-wide scale.

The Repentence of Malik ibn Dinar:

Malik ibn Dinar used to be of the most oppressive people. He was unjust, was involved with riba (interest), and was a regular alcoholic drinker. He also had a little girl whom he loved intensely. When she died at the tender age of three, Malik, distraught and engulfed with sadness, drunk until he knocked out. That night he had a dream that he was witnessing the hereafter, and that a horrendous snake was chasing him. Terrified and finding no way to escape, Malik saw no one but an old man and ran to ask him for help. The old man was too weak to help him, but pointed Malik towards another direction. Malik ran and found himself at the edge of a cliff- a cliff which led to the hellfire.

Horrified, Malik ran back to the old man and begged to be saved. The old man cried and told him, I’m weak, just as you see, I cannot help…and he told Malik to run towards another direction. And so Malik ran, and as the snake was about to seize him, suddenly he saw his young daughter. She came and rescued her father from the snake.

Overjoyed, and yet still in severe fear from what had just taken place, Malik took his daughter’s hand and sat with her as they used to sit together while she was alive. His daughter then asked him, “O my father, ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله…O my father, Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be submissive for the remembrance of Allah…”

So Malik said, “O my daughter! Tell me about this snake!” And his daughter told him, “Those were the evil deeds which you did so much of to the point that they almost ate you. Do you not know, o my father, that the work you do in the world will return embodied on the Day of Judgment (أن الأعمال في الدنيا تعود مجسمة يوم القيامة)? And that old man, that was your good deeds. You made them so little and weak, and so they wept for your situation, not being able to help you at all…and if you had not bore me, and if I had not died while I was young, your good deeds would have been too medium to help you in any way.

Malik then woke up screaming, crying out, “O my Lord! Right now! [I repent] right now my Lord! Yes, ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله.” So he got up, made wudu, and headed out to pray Fajr in the masjid, seeking to repent and to come back to Allah.

So Malik entered the masjid, and he found the Imam reciting the very same very same verse, “ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله

Indeed, Allah is well aware of those who want to turn back to Him, and out of His Mercy, gives them continuous opportunities to seek His Forgiveness.

After his repentance, Malik was known to stand in prayer, weeping to Allah throughout the night, saying,

إلهي أنت وحدك الذي يعلم ساكن الجنة من ساكن

النار، فأي الرجلين أنا اللهم اجعلني من

سكان الجنة ولا تجعلني من سكان النار

“O Allah, you are the Only One Who knows the inhabitants of Paradise and the inhabitants of the Hellfire, so whichever of the two men I am, o Allah, make me of the inhabitants of Paradise, and do not make me of the inhabitants of the Hellfire.”

Malik ibn Dinar went from someone who was known for his oppression, for the fact he used to drink, for his negligence in his relationship with Allah…to a major Scholar with the likes and in the times of big names like Hasan al Basri (may Allah be pleased with them all). He went from someone the people used to hate to someone the people- until today- love and ask Allah to have mercy upon. He went from an individual whose actions merited hellfire, to, insha’Allah we pray, an individual who will inhabitant Paradise eternally.

That was who Malik was, and through the simple act of tawbah [repentance, turning back to Allah], look at who he became.

So what about you and I? Who are we now? Who will we be? And the real question is: when will we, with Allah’s Help, make that happen?

“…ألم يأن للذين آمنوا أن تخشع قلوبهم لذكر الله

Has not the time yet come for those who believe that their hearts should be submissive for the remembrance of Allah…(Surah Hadid, 57:16)

About the author

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi

Maryam Amirebrahimi received her master’s in Education from UCLA, where her research focused on the effects of mentorship rooted in Critical Race Theory for urban high school students of color. She holds a bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development from San Jose State University, where she served as the President of the Muslim Student Association for two consecutive years. Currently, she is pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in Islamic Studies through Al Azhar University’s distance learning program. Maryam spent a year studying the Arabic language and Qur’an in Cairo, Egypt, and has memorized the Qur’an. She has been presented the Student of the Year award by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Maryam frequently travels to work with different communities to address a variety of social issues and writes about topics related to social realities, women’s studies and spiritual connections on

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  • SubhanAllah…Jazaaki Allahu khayran.

    يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَىٰ رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لَا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ ۖ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَىٰ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
    O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will expiate from you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow – the Day that Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and in their right hands. They will say: “Our Lord! Keep perfect our Light for us and grant us forgiveness. Verily, You are Able to do all things.” (66:8)

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Maryam, this was an awesome post masha Allah. We need to train our hearts to feel a deep sense of guilt when we have crossed the bounds of Allah (swt), in our actions, thoughts, and in the conditions of our hearts. This doesn’t happen without constant muhasaba for ourselves, and Husni Than (assuming the best) for others. We need to regret now, before the Day of Regret, where even the righteous would feel, “I wish I would have done more.”

    Jazaki Allah Khaira! Keep it comin’ 🙂

    Your sister,

  • Complaining about leaders is a favorite past time of nearly every people I have ever heard of. Where is the balance between fighting for the oppressed and being overwhelmed with the cares of the world to the extent that we make excuses about our own sins and failures? Subhanllah Subhanallah that was a very nice article, Jazak Allah khairun wa salamu aleikum.

  • Salam aleykum wa rahmatullah,

    Thank you for the reminder to always keep proper perspective of what truly matters most – looking after our deeds.

    You begin with what seems to be a hadith qudsi, it is always important to provide realiable material. The reference is to a tafsir book, but can you please clarify whether this is a hadith of the Prophet in which he reports the statement of Allah.

  • wa alaykum as salam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuhu

    Jezak Allahu khayran for your comments and especially MUA and Abu Majeed for wanting to clarify the reference.

    This is under the tafseer of Surah alAnaam, verse 129 “wa kathalika nuwally…”

    It also says under the tafseer of the ayah that Ibn Abbas radi Allahu anhu stated: If Allah is pleased with a people, He will appoint to their affairs the best of them, and if Allah becomes angry over a people, He will appoint to their affairs the worst of them.

    (I hope that made sense, please feel free to re-translate it if I’m off. My apologies I don’t have an Arabic program installed to write this out but I’ll try to transliterate it inshaAllah: “Itha radi Allah ‘an gowm walla amrahum kheyaruhum, wa itha sakhat Allah ‘ala gowm walla amrahom sheeraahom.”)

    He cites for that statement Al Qurtubi’s tafsir rahimahullah.

    I know As Sabooni rahimahullah sometimes holds different opinions, but it was something I had read with my Arabic teacher and it was a statement which impacted me, so I just translated it straight from the book and doubled checked with my Arabic teacher when doing so…

    PLEASE by all means bring forth anything else relevant/to clarify/etc, may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward you all for wanting to ensure what is stated is correct, and may He forgive me if anything is incorrect.

    wa Allahu ‘alam

    ps- the “Arabic” of the statement attributed to what Malik ibn Dinar rahimahullah read:
    ‘an Maalik ibn Dinaar, qala: qarato fi ba3d kutub alhikmah inAllah ta’ala yaqool: “Inny anAllah, Maalik al Mulook, qoloob almalook biyady, faman ataa’any jalatohum ‘alayhe rahmah, wa man ‘asaani jaltohum ‘alayhe naqmah, falaa tashgheloo anfosakum bsabb almolook walakin toboo elayy oo’atfhom ‘alaykum.

    [we literally translated this, and she went through specific phrases mentioned and told me what they mean beyond a literal translation , wa Allahu ‘alam]

  • السلام عليكم ورحمتالله

    Let us remember that the statement of Malik ibn Dinar is not a blank check for oppressors and tyrants who are installed over us.
    Let it not be an excuse for us Muslims to support or ignore the oppression of these tyrants, for our Beloved Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said,

    “The best jihad in the path of Allah is (speaking) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler.”
    (Sunan abi-Dawood. #4330. Narrated by Abu Sa’eed al-Khudh’ri.)

  • I was reading in one of the comments above — by “maryam” — and she referred to someone by the name of “As-Saabooni”

    Subhanallah – someone in a lecture at our Masjid just mentioned some quotes from him this morning …could someone please tell me (briefly) who this As-Saabooni is. I tried googling him and seeing if I could find a bio. but to no avail

    Is he from the early Scholars or is he contemporary ..?

    May Allah reward you immensely!
    Suhaib Khan

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