muslimahindesertAllah (az) says in the Quran (57:16): “Has not the time arrived for the believers to humble their hearts to the Remembrance of Allah and what He has sent down from the truth…?”

Once upon a time in Arabia a bedouin man set out on a journey through the desert. Before his departure he spent several days feeding food and water to his strong camel so that it could store necessary nutrition for the journey. He himself loaded his own provisions onto the camel and off he went. This camel had been with him since its birth and it had never let him down. Some days into his journey, in the middle of the desert, he came across an area of shade at the foot of a crescent shaped sand mountain formed by the wind. Finding this rare strip of shade, he decided to rest for a while. He unmounted his camel, made it kneel down and tied up his legs so that it wouldn’t move, then he lay down in the shade and went to sleep. He awoke a short while later and to his shock and horror, he saw that his camel had disappeared. He jumped up and began running around looking for his camel. The camel was carrying more than his journey’s provisions: it was carrying his life on its back. All of the man’s food and drink were with the camel. A couple of hours passed and the man was now becoming increasingly desperate...

Moreover, he could sense weakness creeping into his limbs and thirst seeping into his blood. There was no sign of his camel. The man was searching and calling in all directions for his camel but it was nowhere to be seen. Another couple of hours elapsed and by now the man was verging on the state of total collapse and exhaustion. He put his hands on his head out of despair and realised that there was no hope: it was only a matter of time before he breathed his last breath. He could already feel his life ebbing away. Having lost all hope, the man though to himself, “If I am going to die anyway, I may as well die in the shade.” Therefore, with all his energy, he slowly crawled and dragged himself to the strip of shade in which he had first slept. With great difficulty, he managed to reach the shade whereupon he fell unconscious.

A while later the man awoke and lo and behold, he saw his camel standing in front of him! He jumped up and out of extreme happiness he lost his senses and cried, “O Allah!! I am Your lord and You are my servant!” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allah is more pleased with the repentance of a servant as he turns towards him for repentance than this that one amongst you is upon the camel in a waterless desert and there is upon (that camel) his provision of food and drink also and it is lost by him, and he having lost all hope (to get that) lies down in the shadow and is disappointed about his camel and there he finds that camel standing before him.

He takes hold of his nosestring and then out of boundless joy says: 'O Allah! You are my servant and I am Your Lord.' He commits this mistake out of extreme delight." [Sahih Muslim, Vol. #4, #6618)

O prisoner, why are you in prison? Mistaken identity? Framed? Flimsy evidence? False accusations? Wrong place at the wrong time? Someone else’s ‘fault’? You may be innocent of the reasons behind which you find yourself in prison, but ask yourself sincerely, “Am I really innocent of all sins and crimes that I have committed against my Lord?” When you uttered obscenities, was it really someone else’s fault? When you looked at the naked image, was it a case of ‘mistaken identity’ and it wasn’t really you? When you willingly and knowingly ate or drank something that your Lord had forbidden, were you ‘framed’ by someone? Why then do you complain about ‘false accusations’ when you are guilty of thousands of sins that your accusers do not even know about? Do you not realise that it is Allah who has put you through the trial of prison, out of His Infinite Mercy to you, so that you can repent to Him and cleanse yourself of these crimes for which you are undoubtedly guilty?

  • Maybe you sinned in a state of heedlessness?
  • Maybe you now feel ashamed?
  • Maybe you now wish that the earth would swallow you alive because of those sins?
  • Maybe you are in despair like than man searching for his lost camel?

It doesn’t matter.

Turn to Allah.

Repent unto Him.

Open your heart and pour your eyes out to Him.

Furthermore, you will find Him happier at your repentance than the man who found his lost camel.