Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad
by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui
Sin and Salvation
1. Once the Prophet went with his Companions to visit and inquire about the health of a Muslim who had been ailing and suffering from some unknown disease for a long time. They found the sick man very weak and reduced almost to a skeleton. He could hardly take any nourishment and yet he lingered on. The Prophet inquired about his sickness. The man whispered in a weak voice that he had prayed to God to punish him for his sins in this world instead of in the next, and that this might account for his troublesome and lingering illness. On hearing this, the Prophet admonished him: if God was to exact punishment for each and every sin and error that a man commits, then even he (the Prophet) could not escape altogether. He said:
“We should always pray to God for His forgiveness and mercy and seek His help in keeping to the right path, because in that alone lies our salvation. Our prayer should be: ‘O Lord, grant us what is best of this world, and of the world hereafter, and save us from the punishment of hell.’”
It is related that the sick man followed this advice and in due course became well again.
2. Muaz bin Jabal relates that he once asked the Prophet to tell him the means whereby he could escape punishment in the life hereafter and to get to Heaven. The Prophet replied:
“You have asked me a very important question. This is possible only with Allah’s help. First of all, you must worship the one and only God, say your obligatory daily prayers, give poor-rate every year as ordained, keep fast in the month of Fasting and perform pilgrimage to the House of God in Mecca at least once in your lifetime. However, in addition to these, remember that giving alms turns away the wrath of God, while getting up in the night and praying to God will help to wash away your sins and raise you spiritually in the eyes of God. Further, strive in the way of the Lord; and give rein to your tongue which can cause much mischief.”