There’s a story related inSahih Bukhari emphasizing the vastness and generousness of Allah’s forgivenessand mercy towards the creation. The Prophet (pbuh) picked on certain eventsthroughout history to show their importance. This emphasized a certain messagethat he was trying to convey to us. Since the events of the past are sonumerous, the ones chosen to be related and preserved in his words till the endof time must be of great importance.
Whenever we hear stories of the past weshould always remember that Allah had chosen those stories to be related as agreat occurrence. Once there was a man whohad cold-bloodedly murdered 99 people, when all of a sudden he felt regretfulover what he had done. He asked the people in his city if they knew anyone whowas pious enough to get information from. They recommended to him an asceticwho lived in the mountains. So the man went to this scholarly person and toldhim about the past and his wishing to repent for his actions. He asked the man,”Will Allah forgive me?” The learned man was so taken aback by everything hehad heard that he said “No, you will not be forgiven.
” So that person killedhim as well!He felt guilt and regretyet again and asked the people if they knew anyone else. They recommended tohim another scholar who they were acquainted with. Again, the murderer askedthe same question, “Will Allah forgive me?” Being a truly wise man and knowingAllah’s all-encompassing mercy and His ability to forgive any wrong doings ofHis creations, the scholar replied “Of course you will be pardoned, if you repentat once!” The wise man also gave him some advice, telling him of a city wherethere were devoted worshippers of Allah and recommended that he move there tobe around them and not to come back to his town, which was the place of eviland immoral practices. So the man started towards that town. He died on the way.The angels of mercy descended upon him and so did the angels of punishment.They started arguing over him.
The angels of mercy said “This man had repentedand was seeking Allah, so he is ours.” The angels of punishment said “This manhad never done anything good in his life and did not even completehis repentance.” Allah sent another angel to them in the form of a man toend the quarrel and both parties took him as their arbitrator.This angel said “Measurethe distance of the earth between the two cities, and let him be assigned tothe one he is closest to.” When the angels measured the distance, it just sohappened he was nearer the town of his destination just by a hand-span, and sothe angels of mercy took away his soul to paradise. Another versionnarrates that Allah had ordered the earth to be stretched such that he becamecloser to the city of piety and further from the city of evil. This story is a reminder ofthe power of forgiveness and the fact that Allah’s mercy is all-encompassing and He canforgive any sin, even the most heinous ones (except shirk). Therefore, Islamicstories about forgiveness encourage us not to fall into despair or lose hopesince repentance and forgiveness is a miracle drug and can turn the tides.