“When they place me into the grave raise your hands to Allah, and invoke Him to forgive me…”

One day, Ibban bin Saleh left the company of Anas bin Malik (radhiAllahu anhu) and began to walk in the marketplace, when suddenly, 4 men carrying a bier with a corpse on it passed by.

Ibban then exclaimed, “Strange indeed! The marketplaces of Basrah are filled with people, yet only 4 people are following this funeral procession; verily, I will make it 5.”

Before they reached the graveyard, and when it was time to pray over the deceased, Ibban asked others, “Who among you is the guardian (or relative) of the deceased, so that he can lead the funeral prayer?”

The others answered in unison, “In terms of closeness to the deceased, we are all equal. So you (i.e., Ibban) lead the prayer.”

They prayed over the deceased, finished their march to the graveyard, and buried the corpse. When all was said and done, Ibban said, “I ask you by Allah, tell me the truth about this dead person (we just buried).”

They said, “None of us knows the story of this dead person; we are simply workers: a woman paid us to carry the corpse (and to bury it).”

Ibban turned around and saw a woman approaching the grave they had just dug; she sat over the grave for a while and then stood up, laughing.

After going up to her, Ibban said, “By Allah, this is strange indeed! A woman laughing over the grave of her deceased (relative or friend).”

“Why are you prying into that which does not concern you?” the woman said.

“Inform me (about what just happened),” insisted Ibban.

“Indeed, I am Ibban, servant of Anas bin Malik (radhiAllahu anhu), who was the servant of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam).”

“Had it not been for the fact that you are who you are, O Ibban, I would never have told you my story. The deceased (in this grave) is my son. He was a reckless person who did wrong to his own self. Last night, he became very sick, and so he called me to him. When I went to him, he requested [as a dying man] that I follow all of his instruction. I told him to say anything, and that I would comply with his wishes. He told me not to inform anyone about his death. He then said,

“When they place me into the grave raise your hands to Allah, and invoke Him to forgive me. And say: ‘O my God, I am indeed pleased with him, so You too be pleased with him. O my mother, stand up now, place your foot on my face and say: This is the reward of the one who disobeys Allah ‘Azza wa-jall (the possessor of might and majesty).’”

I did as he asked, and by the time I lifted my foot from his face, he was dead. I then hired these four men to wash the corpse, enshroud it, carry it to its grave, and then to bury it.

When they walked away, I approached the grave, raised my hands, and said, ‘O Most Merciful of the merciful ones, O Most Generous of the generous ones You indeed know our secret and open realities; indeed, You know what is apparent and what is hidden. Indeed my sinning, erring son invoked You by dint of his poor, humble mother being pleased with him. Indeed, I am pleased with him, so You too be pleased with him.’

I then heard a voice from inside of the grave say to me, ‘Go, my mother, for I have returned to the Most Generous Lord, Who has indeed forgiven my sins.’ That is what made me laugh and walk away in such a happy state.”

Source : Al-Mawa’iz Wal-Majalis, pg 194-195, “Glimpses of the Lives of Righteous People” – by Majdi Muhammad Ash-Shahawi

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