The greater the piety, the greater the humility a believer will show. Our pious predecessors, despite being great men, had such humble opinions of themselves. An example is Hazrat Zunoon Misri رحمة الله عليه from Egypt. Once the river nile dried up, this was a regular occurrence.
People had a belief that to make the nile flow ago, a virgin girl needs to be sacrificed for the nile and her blood needs to flow there. This was a terrible custom that people had reverted to in the days of Ameerul Mumineen Hazrat Umar رضي الله عنه. Seeing this, the governor of Egypt wrote a letter to Ameerul Mumineen, asking what to do.
Ameerul Mumineen sent back a letter. He said to the governor that take this letter and throw it in the nile instead of a virgin girl. As soon as the governor threw it in the water, the nile started to flow again. So the question is, what did the letter say?
It read: “From the slave of Allah Umar رضي الله عنه, Ameerul Mumineen, to the Nile of the people of Egypt. To proceed: If you only flow on your own initiative, then do not flow, for we have no need of you. But if you only flow on the command of Allah, the One, the Subduer and He is the One who causes you to flow, then we ask Allah, may He be exalted to make you flow.” The nile began to flow again.
So this also happened in the time of Hazrat Zunoon Misri رحمة الله عليه. The people of Egypt came to him because he was known for his piety and therefore, his duas were accepted. They asked him to make dua for the nile to flow again. But Hazrat Zunoon had such a humble opinion of himself, he immediately packed his bags and left Egypt.
Like Musa عليه السلام, He went to madyan and as He journeyed, He cried saying that Oh Allah! It can only be due to our sins that the nile has dried up and there is no greater sinner in Egypt than myself. I have now left Egypt so that my evil does not prevent the nile from flowing!
SubhanAllah, look at His humility! Despite his piety, his focus was still on his sins. Such humility is a prerequisite for our repentance to be accepted by Allah. We must make itirafe qusoor (i.e. admit our shortcomings). Never assume that you have only a few sins or just little sins. First recognise and admit your sins, then rely on Allah’s forgiveness.
Once there was a drought in an area, I cannot remember the name of the place, but they began making dua for rain. Eventually, the women of ill repute who would sell themselves, they came together. They said that the rain is being withheld due to our sins, so we must make dua. They admitted their mistakes, sought forgiveness and then had hope that Allah would accept.
In these stories are great lessons for us. We need to develop humility, admit our sins, seek forgiveness and then have hope in Allah. By following these steps, inshaAllah, we too will experience the divine acceptance of Allah.
May Allah grant us the tawfiq, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(Above is an extract from Hazrat’s bayan on 12/5/2017 at Darul Uloom Azaadville.)