Download PDF: Riyaadus Saaliheen – Hadith #20 (Taubah of a Serial Killer)

The Taubah of a person who killed a hundred people!

عَنْ اَبِیْ سَعِیْدٍ سَعْدِ بْنِ مَالِکِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ الْخُدْرِیِّ رَضِیَ اللہُ عَنْہُ اَنَّ نَبِیَّ اللہِ صَلَّی اللہُ عَلَیْہِ وَسَلَّم قَالَ:کَانَ فِیْمَنْ کَانَ قَبْلَکُمْ رَجُلٌ قَتَلَ تِسْعَۃً وَّ تِسْعِیْنَ نَفْسًا، فَسَاَلَ عَنْ اَعْلَمِ اَہْلِ الْاَرْضِ، فَدُلَّ عَلٰی رَاہِبٍ، فَاَتَاہُ فَقَالَ: اِنَّہُ قَتَلَ تِسْعَۃً وَّ تِسْعِیْنَ نَفْسًا، فَہَلْ لَہُ مِنْ تَوْبَۃٍ؟ فَقَالَ:لَا، فَقَتَلَہُ فَکَمَّلَ بِہٖ مِائَۃً، ثُمَّ سَاَلَ عَنْ اَعْلَمِ اَہْلِ الْاَرْضِ، فَدُلَّ عَلٰی رَجُلٍ عَالِمٍ فَقَالَ: اِنَّہُ قَتَلَ مِائَۃَ نَفْسٍ فَہَلْ لَہُ مِنْ تَوْبَۃٍ؟فَقَالَ:نَعَمْ،وَمَنْ یَّحُوْلُ بَیْنَہُ وَبَیْنَ التَّوْبَۃِ؟ اِنْطَلِقْ اِلٰی اَرْضِ کَذَا وَکَذَا، فَاِنَّ بِہَا اُنَاسًا یَعْبُدُوْنَ اللہَ تَعَالٰی فَاعْبُدِ اللہَ مَعَہُمْ، وَلَا تَرْجِعْ اِلٰی اَرْضِکَ فَاِنَّہَا اَرْضُ سُوْئٍ، فَانْطَلَقَ حَتّٰی اِذَا نَصَفَ الطَّرِیْقَ اَتَاہُ الْمَوْتُ، فَاخْتَصَمَتْ فِیْہِ مَـلَائِکَۃُ الرَّحْمَۃِ ومَـلَائِکَۃُ الْعَذَابِ۔ فَقَالَتْ مَـلَائِکَۃُ الرَّحْمَۃِ: جَائَ تَائِبًا، مُقْبِـلًا بِقَلْبِہٖ اِلَی اللہِ تَعَالٰی، وَقَالَتْ مَلَائِکَۃُ الْعَذَابِ: اِنَّہُ لَمْ یَعْمَلْ خَیْرًا قَطُّ، فَاَتَاہُمْ مَلَکٌ فِیْ صُوْرَۃِ اٰدَمِیٍّ فَجَعَلُوْہُ بَیْنَہُمْ، اَیْ حَکَمًا، فَقَالَ: قِیْسُوْا مَا بَیْنَ الْاَرْضَیْنِ فَاِلٰی اَیَّتِہِمَا کَانَ اَدْنٰی فَہُوَ لَہٗ. فَقَاسُوْا فَوَجَدُوْہُ اَدْنٰی اِلَی الْاَرْضِ الَّتِیْ اَرَادَ، فَقَبَضَتْہُ مَلَائِکَۃُ الرَّحْمَۃِ (مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَیْہ)وَفِیْ رِوَایَۃٍ فِی الصَّحِیْحِ: فَکَانَ اِلَی الْقَرْیَۃِ الصَّالِحَۃِ اَقْرَبَ بِشِبْرٍ فَجُعِلَ مِنْ اَہْلِہَا۔ وَفِیْ رِوَایَۃٍ فِی الصَّحِیْحِ:فَاَوْحَی اللہُ تَعَالٰی اِلٰی ہٰذِہٖ اَنْ تَبَاعَدِیْ، واِلٰی ہذِہٖ اَنْ تَقَرَّبِیْ، وَقَالَ: قِیْسُوْا مَا بَیْنَہُمَا، فَوَجَدُوْہُ اِلٰی ہٰذِہٖ اَقْرَبَ بِشِبْرٍ فَغُفِرَ لَہٗ:وَفِیْ رِوَایَۃٍ :فَنَائَ بِصَدْرِہٖ نَحْوَہَا۔

(ملتقطا بخاری، کتاب احادیث الانبیائ، باب حدیث الغار، ۲/۴۶۶، حدیث:۳۴۷۰/مسلم، کتاب التوبۃ، باب قبول توبۃ القاتل …الخ، ص۱۴۷۹، حدیث:۲۷۶۶)

Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed Khudri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu narrates that the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam once revealed that,


“Before your time, a person killed ninety nine people. He then inquired about the most learned person on earth (or living at that time) and he was told about a certain priest. He then visited this priest and declared, ‘I have killed ninety nine people, will my Taubah be accepted?’ The priest replied, ‘No.’ The killer then also killed this priest and completed the killing of a hundred people.

He then inquired about the most learned person on earth (at that time) and was informed about a certain scholar. He then approached this scholar and asked, ‘I have killed a hundred people, will my Taubah be accepted?’ The scholar replied, ‘Yes, certainly, what can be an obstacle between you and Taubah. Go to a certain place where there are certain people who are busy in the worship (Ibadah) of Allah. Join them in their Ibadah and do not return to your area because it is a bad place.’


“Thereafter, this killer started to travel to that place which was indicated to him by this scholar. (However) when he was half way through his journey, death overtook him. Thereafter, the Angels of Mercy and those in charge of punishment began to disagree about (what was to be done about this person). The Angels of Mercy said, ‘This person was travelling (with the intent) of making Taubah and was sincerely turning his attention towards Allah azza wa jall.’


“The Angels in charge of punishment declared that, ‘He did not perform any good.’


“Thereafter, an Angel appeared to them in the form of a human and they decided to make him someone who will decide and make the decision. He said, ‘Measure both parts of the earth and towards whichever place he is nearer, according to that, the decision would be made.’


“When the Angels had finished measuring this, they found that the person was nearer the place where he going towards. Thereafter, the Angels of Mercy took the person away.”


In the narration to be found in the Muslim Shareef, it is mentioned that, “The person was merely a hand length (in distance more) nearer to the place where the pious people lived. Hence, he was placed among those pious people”.


The narration in Sahih Bukhari Shareef explains that, “Allah azza wa jall (had actually commanded) one part of the earth to move further and one part to move closer (to the area of the pious people). It was then that the Angel had commanded them to measure the earth. And when they measured they found that the person was only a hand length (in difference) nearer the place where the pious people were living. Therefore, he was forgiven and pardoned. In another narration, it is mentioned that his chest was actually made to face in the direction of the area where the pious people lived.” (Bukhari; Muslim Shareef)


Even the Taubah of a dangerous murderer is forgiven!


Allama Badrudeen Aini Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “From this Hadith Shareef, we conclude that it is necessary to make Taubah for every type of major sin and transgression, even murder”.


The Ahle Sunnah have declared that as Taubah eliminates all sin and transgression, in like manner, it will eliminate the sin of murder. In certain narrations where it is explained that Taubah would not eliminate the sin of murder, it signifies the fact that people should not suddenly become brave and start to murder any person unjustly.


In Surah Nisaa, verse 48, Allah azza wa jall declares that:


اِنَّ اللہَ لَا یَغْفِرُ اَنْ یُّشْرَکَ بِہٖ وَیَغْفِرُ مَا دُوْنَ ذٰلِکَ لِمَنْ یَّشَائُ

“Undoubtedly, Allah forgives not that infidelity (Kufr) be done (or performed against) Him and whatever is less than infidelity (Kufr), forgives whomsoever He pleases”.


As for deliberately murdering a person or people without any reason or cause, He declares in Surah Nisaa, verse 93 that:


وَمَنْ یَّقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُہٗ جَہَنَّمُ

“And whosoever kills a Muslim wilfully, then his recompense is Hell”


The meaning of this verse is that the person who becomes guilty of killing an innocent Muslim will be sent to Hell. Nevertheless, there is also a possibility that he may be forgiven. However, that person who genuinely believes that it is permissible to murder and kill a Muslim without any reason or cause and there is no justification in his action, he is certainly a disbeliever and will live in Hell forever.


This Hadith Shareef also proves that a scholar is much greater than a normal worshipper. The first person to give this murderer advice was an ordinary priest who only thought within the confines of his worship, hence he believed that killing people was something which could never be pardoned. The second person was a scholar and understood that within the laws of religion, this type of action was something which could be pardoned and therefore showed this person the road to salvation. (Umdatul Qari)


When Allah azza wa jall is pleased, all else is pleased!


Allama Mulla Ali Qari Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “(In this story), Allah azza wa jall commanded that piece of earth to come closer to the person towards (where he was going to make Taubah). He also commanded that piece of earth to go further away from where he, (that person), had departed from.He also commanded the Angels to measure the distance between this person and the both places from where he had come from and towards where he was intending to go to. This again proves the Infinite Mercy of Allah azza wa jall, in that He commanded the earth to come closer to where the person was going to make Taubah.”


This Hadith Shareef clearly informs us that the Niyah (intention) of a true believer is more superior than his actions. It also proves the Infinite Grace upon that person who sincerely has the intention to make Taubah.

Allama Teebi Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “When Allah azza wa jall becomes pleased with someone, then everyone becomes pleased with that person. This Hadith Shareef encourages Taubah and prohibits losing hope in Allah azza wa jall”. (Mirqaatul Manaajih)


The company of the pious encourages Taubah!


Allama Abu Zakariyyah Yahya bin Sharf Nawawi Alaihir Rahmah explains that, “This Hadith Shareef also advises us that one should stay away from one’s friends who are involved in bad and evil deeds until they do not reform. In fact, one should stay away from the place where sin is being committed and choose the company of the ‘Ulama and the pious so that the intention of making Taubah becomes even more solid and stable.” (Sharah Muslim)


The Divine Help of Allah azza wa jall


Mufti Ahmed Yaar Khan Naeemi Alaihir Rahmah summarizes this, he explains that, “This person had either killed people while robbing them or had killed them in some other manner. However, when the time of his death came nearer, the Divine Help of Allah azza wa jall came to His aid. He began to feel sorry for his mistakes and transgressions and left his home with the intention of making Taubah. The priest who told him that his Taubah would not be accepted did so because he was either illiterate about this issue or he believed that this type of forgiveness can only be gotten from the family of the people who had been killed! In other words, he thought that this was part of Huqququl Ibaad.


“This person may have also thought about the impossibility of going to so many people and how would he be able to make all of them happy. Hence, there was no way his Taubah would be accepted. When he saw this, he felt hopeless and also lost hope in making Taubah which is why he felt no pain in killing this priest. We see that when a cat feels hopeless while being attacked by a dog, it would actually attack the dog without any fear.


“This is the reason that Islam as a religion has never given people the opportunity to lose hope in the Divine Mercy of Allah azza wa jall. We see that a murderer who is about to be killed is kept away from other inmates so that he does not start to kill others out of hopelessness.


The scholar who he approached after this, knew full well the issue of making Taubah, and also understood that that this could be achieved and that nothing was beyond the Divine Mercy of Allah azza wa jall.” (Mirqaatul Manaajih)


The town of the Awliyah where this person was going to!


Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah bin Amar Radi Allahu ‘Anhuma explains that, “The name of the city or town where the person was going to was called ‘Nasrah’ and the town from he had departed was called ‘Kufarah.’ (Mo’jim Kabeer)


Imam Abu Lais Samarqandi Alaihir Rahmah has also mentioned the names of these towns in his masterpiece entitled Tambeehul Ghaafileen.


A question!


Question: When a person is killed and then pardoned, his inheritors suffer lose, therefore, the killer also has to seek the pardon of the family. This person died without even seeking the pardon of the family of those killed, how therefore could he have been pardoned?


Answer: When Allah azza wa jall becomes pleased with a person, He also pardons His Rights over that person and also makes the family of those murdered, pardon this person. Allah azza wa jall in this instance would reward the family members of those murdered and also reward the people killed. (Miraatul Manaajih)


Allah azza wa jall will make truce between two Muslims on the Day of Judgement!


Hadrat Sayyiduna Anas bin Maalik Radi Allahu ‘Anhu narrates that one day the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was present when he smiled. Hadrat Sayyiduna ‘Umar Radi Allahu ‘Anhu asked, “O Prophet of Allah! My parents be sacrificed for you, why did you smile.”


He replied, “There will be two of my followers who will fall down in a sitting position in front of Allah azza wa jall (on the Day of Judgement). One will declare, ‘O Allah azza wa jall! Please seek justice for me from this person because he has oppressed me.’ To this, Allah azza wa jall will reply, ‘What can this poor person do, he has nothing.’ The oppressed person would reply, ‘Place my sins on him.’ Mentioning this, the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam began to tear and declared, “That day will indeed be a great day (of test) and everyone would wish that his burden becomes lighter.’


“Allah azza wa jall will then declare to the oppressed person, ‘Look in front of you, what do you see.’ He will reply, ‘O my Lord, I can see a city made of gold and huge mansions decorated with jewels. Is this city and huge mansions for a Prophet, a Siddique or a Shaheed?’


Allah azza wa jall will reply, ‘This is for that person who is able to pay its price.’ The person will ask, ‘Who is able to pay this price.’ Allah azza wa jall will reply, ‘You are able to pay its price.’ When the person will inquire how this is possible, Allah azza wa jall will declare, ‘In this manner, that you forgive the rights of your brother.’ The person will reply that he has forgiven all the rights of this person (who had oppressed him). Allah azza wa jall will then declare, ‘Take the hand of your brother and both of you enter Jannah.’”


The Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam then explained, “Fear Allah azza wa jall and create truce (and peace) among creation because Allah azza wa jall will also create truce and (peace) among Muslims on the Day of judgement.” (Mustadrak; Haakim)




In Surah Maryam, verse 64, it is mentioned that the Angels only appear at the Divine Command of Allah azza wa jall, however, in this instance, how come both groups of Angels appeared?




The laws pertaining to the appearance of Angels has already being prescribed. In other words, which Angels are to appear at which person and they certainly appear as they are commanded. This also happened in this incident. Since, he had already killed a hundred people, the Angels elected to serve punishment appeared and since he had already made the intention to make Taubah, the Angels elected to serve mercy also appeared. Both of them appeared as per Divine Command. None of these Angels appeared without reason or appeared against Divine Command. Therefore, we cannot therefore say that they went against the law as mentioned in this verse. (Miraatul Manaajih)


The Taubah of young powerful individual!


Hadrat Sayyiduna Bakr bin Abdullah Alaihir Rahmah narrates that, “There was once a young strong man who became madly infatuated with his neighbour’s female servant. One day, this female servant travelled to the next village to complete some task of her owner and this young man also decided to follow her. On the journey, he also kept encouraging her to perform this sin with him.


“Hearing this, this sensible and decent female replied, ‘O young man! Do not fall into this sin. As much as you like me, I also like you even more. However, due to the fear that I have for Allah azza wa jall, I am restricting myself from performing this sin.’ When she said, it made a great impact on the young man and he replied, ‘If you have so much of fear for Allah azza wa jall why should I not also have the same fear for Him. After all, I am also His slave. Therefore listen! You may continue your travel without fear.’


“As the female slave continued on her journey, the young man stayed awhile to sincerely make Taubah and repent from his bad ways. He also returned to his village. On the way back, he experienced severe thirst but could find no place where he could find water. He was close to death with thirst when a messenger of the Prophet of that time passed by.


“When this messenger saw the young man, he asked him the reason for his stress. After mentioning his problem, this messenger replied, ‘Come, let us make Du’a in the Divine Court of Allah azza wa jall so that He blesses us with the rain of His Divine Mercy until we reach our village.’ The young man replied, ‘I do not have any good deeds which I can use as a Wasila to make Du’a, however, you seem a pious person, therefore, you should make Du’a.’


“The messenger replied, ‘I will make the Du’a, but you mention the Ameen.” As the messenger made the Du’a, this man young mentioned ‘Ameen.’ Suddenly, a cloud appeared and created a shadow over both of them. This cloud also began to travel with them as they walked along. When they both separated paths, this cloud followed the young man!


“When the messenger of the Prophet saw this, he asked the young man, ‘You had mentioned to me that you have no good deeds, but the cloud seems to be following only you. Explain to me what good deed you have performed.’ The young man then explained the incident which had occurred just before. When he heard this, the messenger of the Prophet replied, ‘The status and position which is achieved in the Divine Court of Allah azza wa jall by a person making Taubah is unlike anyone else.’” (Oyunul Hikaayah)


The Taubah of a sinful female


Hadrat Sayyiduna Hasan Basri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu narrates that, “There was once a female who people claimed had been given such beauty which some people claimed was one third of the worlds beauty. Her bad behaviour had also reached a peak and as long as she was not given a hundred Dinaars in advance, she never allowed anyone to come close to her.


“Yet, in spite of this huge amount of money, people still made the effort to visit her. One day, a very pious person laid eyes on her. He also became infatuated with her. He then worked day and night to earn a hundred Dinaars and when he had achieved this, he arrived at the front door of this female. He then told her, ‘At first glance, I had become infatuated with you. To achieve your closeness, I had spent many days working and I have now brought the one hundred Dinaars to be close to you.’ She was sitting on a chair made of gold and when she heard this, she replied, ‘Come closer and satisfy your desire since I am present.’


“This pious person then approached her. However, when both of them were about to perform this sinful act, the worship of this pious person came to his aid. He remembered the day he was going to meet his Creator. He then became extremely embarrassed and declared to this lady, ‘I have decided to refrain from this sin and I also give you this hundred Dinaars and allow me to leave this place.’ When she asked him what had happened, he replied, ‘If I perform this sin, how will I face my Creator who would be angry with me? The fear of Allah azza wa jall has completely removed the infatuation which I had for you, therefore let me leave this place.’


“When this female heard this, she replied, ‘If this is your sincere intention, let me inform you that hereafter, I am not prepared to marry anyone else except you.’ Finally, when she arrived at the home of this pious person to get married and when he saw her, he gave a loud sigh and passed away. She was very sad by the death of this pious person. A few days later, she married the brother of this pious person who was also extremely poor and they had seven sons who it is reported were all great Awliya.” (Uyunul Hikaayat)


The Lord is more Merciful than my Mother!


It is mentioned that there was once two brothers, one who was very pious and the other who was considered a sinful person. When the sinful brother was about to pass away, his pious brother appeared at his bedside and explained to him, “I kept advising you, but you never refrained from your sinning ways. What will be your condition (after you leave this world.)?”


The sinful brother replied, “On the Day of Judgement, if Allah azza wa jall gives our mother the authority to make the decision on where we should go, tell me, will she send me to Jannah or Hell?” The pious brother replied, “There is no doubt that our mother would send you to Jannah.” After hearing this, the sinful brother declared, “(Listen), Without doubt! My Lord is even more Merciful than my mother.”


After declaring this, he passed away. When his pious brother eventually saw him in a dream a while later and asked him what had happened to him, he replied that all his sins were forgiven because of his last few words (which he had uttered). (Tafseer Naeemi)


Reading the “Bismillah” with sincerity saved him!


On the Day of Judgement, a person would be seized by the Angels. It will then be told to them to see whether he has any good deeds on any part of his body. However, they will find no good deeds on any part of the person’s body. The Angels will then ask him to show them his tongue. When he reveals his tongue, they will find the “Bismillah” recorded in white on his tongue. The same moment, it will be told to him to go (to Jannah) as he had been pardoned. (Nuzhatul Majaalis)


It is the Infinite Mercy of Allah azza wa jall that He forgives whatever sins He wishes. It seems obvious that this person had once recited the “Bismillah” with genuine sincerity, hence this was recorded as a good deed and through this, he was pardoned. This is the reason that the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam has advised that, “Become sincere in your religion, little action would also (become) sufficient.” (Mustadrak; Haakim)


Important points to remember


  1. To reveal the stories of previous nations so that we can educate and correct people has also been the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Sallal Laahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam.


  1. The notion of monk-hood actually started during the time of Nabi ‘Isa Alaihis Salaam. These were those people who out of fear for Allah azza wa jall divorced themselves from this world and spent their time remembering Allah azza wa jall. Of course, this is only applicable to those monks who actually abided by the beliefs as told to them by Nabi ‘Isa Alaihis Salaam and not those monks who later on decided to adopt Roman laws and completely corrupted this pure teaching. (Miraatul Manaajih)


  1. Religious matters should be told and explained to you by the learned ‘Ulama. To visit the ‘Ulama for this purpose of educating oneself is considered a form of Ibadah. We are even told to respect the place where an Aalim lives and to even respect how we spend our time in front of them. A Muslim should also sleep facing the Ka’ba as a person who passes away is also buried facing the Ka’ba. Some people also face Madina Shareef or Baghdad Shareef when making Du’a. There is nothing wrong with this because the story of the person who killed a hundred people clearly tells us that he was heading towards a place where pious people lived and because of this, he was forgiven.


Hence, you can imagine if one faces Madina Shareef or Baghdad Shareef, what would be the result of your sincere Du’a. It must be remembered that when genuine Muslims face towards Madina Shareef or Baghdad Shareef or any other place where pious people are living or buried, they do not face these places because they worship these pious souls, no, they do so because they sincerely believe that these pious souls are closer to Allah azza wa jall then themselves, hence there is a better chance of their Du’as being accepted if they face this direction.


  1. One should never ever give up hope on the Divine Mercy of Allah azza wa jall. This hope is something that can enable a person to be pardoned for the most heinous of sins at times. Some of the above incidents clearly prove to this to us.


  1. To visit the Awliya and their places of rest is indeed a pious act and a means for great reward.


  1. If possible, it is better for a person to leave the place where he is in the habit of committing sins and move to another place. This is considered as Mustahab.