Imagine you’re driving alone to somewhere remote and unfamiliar. It’s time for salah, so you stop at the next, yet abandoned petrol station, lock your car, and go inside for salah. When you step outside…
Your car is gone. All your belongings – your wallet, mobile phone, laptop – are inside that car, and now they’re all gone. There is no one else around, and the next town is too far to travel by foot.
How would you react? Most of us would probably go into panic-mode as that sense of fear and hopelessness sink in.
With that in mind:
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave
than a person who has lost his camel in a waterless desert,
carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost.
He, having lost all hopes, lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel;
when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him.
He takes hold of its reins, and then out of boundless joy blurts out:
‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb’.
He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”.
This hadith shows an imagery of a man, who having traveled in the desert on his camel, finds a shade and falls asleep. When he wakes up, his camel – on which are all of his sustenance and livelihood – is gone. In comparison to the scenario mentioned earlier before the hadith, this man is in a barren desert! There is no one around as the eyes can see, nor shops to stop by to rest and drink. There is no shelter whatsoever from the intense weather and other dangerous threats.
Imagine this man trying so hard looking for his camel in that scorching, empty desert, until he reaches to a point where he completely loses all hope. He returns to his shade, overcome by tiredness, thinking that he is going to die there, and closes his eyes. When he wakes up, he sees his camel standing just near him.
How would he feel now? Just a moment ago, he thought that he was going to die! If we want to comprehend the depth of this hadith, we need to understand how extremely relieved this man must have felt.
The hadith mentioned that the man was soooooooooooo deliriously happy that he shouted: Ya Allah! You are my slave and I am your Rabb! He was extremely joyful that he didn’t even realize what he uttered.
And yet – and here is the gem – Allah s.w.t. is MORE PLEASED with the repentance of His slave than this man! This is absolutely mind-blowing because we know that Allah s.w.t. does not need us. Does not need every single one of us. AT ALL.
Subhanallah. Allah s.w.t. is At-Tawwab, the Granter of Repentance, the Acceptor of Repentance. Allah s.w.t. loves to forgive, and loves those who make tawbah. This is why we see the Name At-Tawwab is often mentioned alongside Ar-Rahim in the Qur’an.
This hadith is meant to motivate us into action, to start abandoning our bad habits and bad lifestyle because after knowing this hadith, we should WANT to please Allah s.w.t.! There is nothing that should be more desirable for a believer than this! There is nothing more relieved, more joyful than to find that the Rabb of the heavens and the earth, and everything in between, is pleased with us.
And indeed, Allah s.w.t. says:
Truly, Allah loves those who oft-repent (at-tawwabin)
and loves those who oft-purify themselves (al-mutatohhirin).
May we all return to Allah s.w.t. sincerely, out of fear of Him, and out of immense love for Him.