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The Importance of Dhikr

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal and the Baker

During his old age, Imam Ahmad, a renowned scholar of Islam and a famous theologian, was travelling when he stopped by a town. After salah (prayer), he wanted to stay for the night in the mosque. Owing to his humility, he hadn't introduced himself to anyone thinking that if he did, he would be welcomed by many people.

Failing to recognize Ahmad bin Hanbal, the caretaker of the mosque refused to let him stay in the mosque. A baker, whose shop was nearby, watched this scene and took pity on Imam Ahmed. He invited the Imam to stay with him for the night.

oven He watched as the baker mixed and kneaded the dough, tended the fire, and pulled hot loves from the oven, all the while uttering remembrances of Allah and Istighfar (asking for Allah's forgiveness). In the morning, the Imam eagerly asked his host about the latter's continual seeking of forgiveness. The baker said it had become like second nature, and Imam Ahmad then asked whether the man had experienced any reward from this practice. The baker answered, "By Allah! No dua I made except that it was answered but one." When Ibn Hanbal asked what that unanswered prayer was, the baker responded: "To see the famed Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal." At this, tears came to Ibn Hanbal's eyes and he told the baker, "I am Ahmed ibn Hanbal!" "By Allah! I was brought to your place so that you can have your dua/wish come true."

This story is a reminder of the power of saying Istighfar frequently. Tafseer Al-Qurtubi states:

A man complained to Al-Hasan Al-Basri about a drought, and he said to him: "Pray to Allah for forgiveness."

Another man complained to him of poverty and he said to him: "Pray to Allah to forgive you."

Another man said to him: "Pray to Allah to bless me with a child." He said: "Pray to Allah for forgiveness."

Another complained to him that his garden was dry. He said to him: "Pray to Allah for forgiveness."

He was asked about it and he said: "This is not my personal opinion, for Allah says in Surah Nuh (interpretation of the meaning): "Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers." Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (18/301-302)

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The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186
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Vol. XXIV, No. 28
Note from the Editor
Fifa and Your Spirituality
World Heavyweight Champion
Forgiving in Ramadan
Ways to a
Sweet Taraweeh
Why I Embraced Islam
From The Editor's Desk
Involving Children
in Ramadan
California Prayer Locations
Mus'ab Ibn Umair
Cook's Corner
7 Daily Spiritual Habits
The Importance
of Dhikr
Kids' Corner
Just Close Your
Eyes and Imagine
Sayings of the Prophet