To preserve this core Naqshbandi teaching, many families read this story from Grandshaykh AbdAllah and Masters of the illustrious Naqshbandi Golden Chain aloud with their children.


By Shaykh Hisham Kabbani 

In the time of #ProphetMuhammad ﷺ, there lived a notorious highway robber who roamed the streets after midnight. If he found someone walking alone, he caught them, robbed them, sometimes beat or killed them, and then returned home. No one was able to catch him. The Prophet ﷺ said, “That is an evil person. I will never pray for him nor bury him in the graveyard of Muslims!”

After many years the robber passed away, and because the Prophet ﷺ denounced him, the children dragged his body through the streets of Madinah and threw him in a dry well. Then Allah told the Prophet ﷺ, “O My Beloved, today one of My saints passed away. You must wash him, clean him, cover him, pray for him and bury him.”

Prophet ﷺ was astonished when Allah told him that one was a saint! How could that be? But no one can interfere with Allah’s knowledge, not even the Prophet ﷺ. If Allah wants to make a thief a saint, no one can ask why, we must accept.

That is why according to Sufi teachings and the teachings of the Naqshbandi Order, you have to look at everyone as being better than you. You do not know if Allah is going to raise that person’s level higher than yours, who knows? No one can know; therefore, no one can interfere. Do not look down at people as if you are superior. You do not know in Allah’s view whether that person is a saint or a sinner.


Who knows? Always regard people as being at a higher level than yourself. Show them respect and be humble towards them. Do not show ego and pride. Allah’s Mercy is so great that you are forbidden to look at what people are doing on the outside. You must not call them crazy or criticize their bad manners,  leave them alone. They have a Lord to judge them. Look at yourself, make yourself behave well. Do not interfere with anyone else. It is not your job to correct anyone else, your job is only to correct yourself. Correct yourself and leave everyone else to their Lord. This is the true understanding and teaching of Sufism: leave everyone to their Lord and change yourself! 

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, Allah will sometimes forgive them what they are doing. Do not say, ‘You are committing wrong by drinking, womanizing, doing this and doing that.’ Leave everyone to his or her Lord. Teach people in general, do not focus in on someone and be specific.

Allah told Prophet ﷺ, ‘O Messenger of Allah, take him and purify him.’ Prophet ﷺ immediately called Abu Bakr as-Siddiq  and said, ‘O Abu Bakr, we have to go and bury the highwayman who died.’ Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you said you did not want to bury that person in a Muslim grave for he is not Muslim!’ Prophet  said, ‘Allah informed me today that 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 Prophet ﷺ went into the well, took that person’s body out with his own hands and with his Companions, 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’ walk. It took the Prophet ﷺ more than two hours to move from the mosque to the cemetery. 


All the Companions were astonished at the way the Prophet ﷺ was walking. He had performed ablution for the dead with his own hands on that man, washed him, prayed for him, accompanied him to his grave. 

“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 this 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 Prophet ﷺ did not speak with anyone, but quickly returned to his house trembling. He sat with Abu Bakr as-Siddiq asking what that saint had done, a robber all his life, to merit such a high degree of respect from Allah. 

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq said, “O Messenger of Allah! I feel ashamed to ask about what I saw today, it was astonishing.” 

The Prophet ﷺ answered, “I am even more surprised than you. I am waiting for Jibrail (a) to inform me of what has happened.” 

When Jibrail (a) came, the Prophet ﷺ asked, “What is the matter?” 

He answered, “O Prophet, do not ask me. I am also astonished, but Allah can do what no one can! He said for you to ask that man’s daughter what he did in his life.” 

The Prophet ﷺ 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 treats everyone else as if they are beggars at their door, showing neither respect or humility. The Prophet ﷺ, 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 good her father had done in his life.


He said, “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 good. He robbed and stole day and night, except for one month during the year when he said, ‘This is the month of Allah,’ because he heard you say, ‘Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is the month of the Prophet ﷺ and Ramadan is the month of the Community.’ So he said, ‘I do not care for the month of the Prophet or the month of the Community, only for the month of my Lord. Therefore, I am going to sit in my closed room and observe seclusion all month.’”

The Prophet ﷺ asked,” What kind of seclusion did he do?” 

She told him,” O Messenger of Allah! One day he was looking for someone to rob. He found a man seventy or eighty years old and beat him until he was unconscious, then robbed him. He found a small piece of folded paper in his pocket, a prayer that he liked very much. Every year when Rajab arrived, my father read that prayer day and night, weeping and reading except when he ate or performed ablution. Then he said, ‘The month of Allah is finished. Now for my pleasure,’ and went back to robbing and stealing for eleven months.’”

That supplication is very important, and all are advised to recite it three times a day during Rajab. Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said 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.

When the Prophet ﷺ asked the daughter to bring him the paper, he kissed it and rubbed it all over his body. I advise all of you not to forget about it, to keep reciting it, and Allah will give you as He Wills, according to your intention.

Allah said, “He repented to me in the most precious month of the year, and because he sacrificed at least one month for Me, I have forgiven him all his mistakes and I changed all his sins to good deeds.” 

As he had many sins, now he has many rewards. He became a great saint! 

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