Malik ibn Dinar

Mālik bin Dīnār (Arabic: مالك بن دينار‎) (died 748 CE) was from the generation of the Tabi‘in. He is mentioned as a reliable traditionist, transmitting from such author­ities as Malik ibn Anas and Ibn Sirin. He was the son of a Persian slave from Kabul who became a disciple of Hasan al-Basri. He died at the age of ninety in Basra.

The first Indian mosque is thought to have been built in 629 A.D, purportedly at the behest of Rama Varma Kulashekhara is a Chera dynasty ruler, who is considered the first Indian Muslim, during the lifetime of Muhammad in Kodungallur, in district of Thrissur, Kerala by Malik Bin Deenar. His grave is situated in Malik Deenar Mosque, Kasaragod, Kerala. It is a famous pilgrim point among Sunni Muslims in India

Bilal Assad • Lecture

Malik ibn Dinar’s Story by Bilal Assad in Hallam mosque.

Repentance of Malik ibn Dinar

Shaykh Malik ibn Dinar (may Allah have mercy on him) was one of the renowned pious men of his time. It is said that in his early life, he was not a pious man and when someone asked him how he came to repent of his sins and abandon his evil ways, he related the following story about himself:

I was a policeman in my youth, and was fond of wine and would drink like a fish. I drank day and night and led a care-free life. I bought a beautiful slave girl whom I loved most dearly. I had a daughter from her, a lovely child, and I was very fond of her and she was also very fond of me. When this baby daughter began to walk and talk, I loved her all the more and she remained with me all the time.

The innocent child had a strange habit. Whenever she saw a glass of wine in my hands, she would snatch it away and spill it on my clothes. Being fond of her, I did not scold her. As fate would have it, my innocent child died when she was two years old and I was stunned with shock and heart-sore with bitter grief.

One night I think it was the 15th of Shabaan, I was dead drunk and went to sleep without performing my Esha Salaah. I had the most horrible and terrible dream, in which I saw that it was the Day of Resurrection with men coming out of graves, and I was one of those who were being driven to the place of assembly. I heard the noise of something following me and looking back I saw a huge snake chasing me, close behind. Ah! It was a most horrible sight, the snake had blue cat-like eyes, its mouth was wide open and it was rushing towards me most furiously. I ran faster in terror, desperate for my life, the horrible snake still running after me and drawing closer. I saw an old man, dressed in elegant clothes, with rich perfumes wafting all around his person. I greeted him saying, ‘Asalamu alaykum’ and he returned my greeting. I said, ‘For the Sake of Allah, help me in my misery.’ He said, ‘I am too weak to help you against such a mighty foe; it is beyond my powers. But you must go on running; perhaps you may find some help to save you from it.’

Running wildly, I saw a cliff in front of me and climbed it, but on reaching its top, I saw beyond it the raging fire of Jahannam, with its most horrifying spectacles. I was so terrified by the snake that I ran on till I was afraid I would fall into Jahannam. Meanwhile, I heard a voice calling aloud ‘Get back, for you are not one of them (people of Jahannam).’ I came away and began to run in the opposite direction. The snake also turned around and came after me. I saw again, the white robed old man and said to him, ‘Old man, can’t you save me from this python, I asked you before, but you did not help me.’ The old man began to cry and said, ‘I am too weak to help you against such a mighty snake, but I can tell you that there is a hill nearby where they keep the sacred trusts of the Muslims. If you go up that hill you might find something of yours, kept in trust, which might save you from the snake.’

I rushed towards the hill, which was round in shape, with a large number of open curtained casements. The casements had golden shutters studded with rich rubies and most precious jewels, on each shutter hung a curtain of the rarest of silk. When I was going to climb the hill, an angel called out, ‘Open the windows and raise the curtains and come out of your closets! Here is an unfortunate man in misery, may be you have with you some trust of his that might help him in his distress.’ The windows opened at once, the curtains went up and there issued forth from the casements a host of innocent children with faces bright as the full moon. By this time I was utterly despondent, for the snake had drawn very close to me. Now the children called their friends, ‘Come out, quickly, all of you, for the snake has drawn very close to him.’ Hearing this more children came out in crowds and among them; I saw my own dear daughter who had died some time ago. She began to weep, exclaiming, ‘By Allah, he is my own dear father!’ She jumped on a swinging cradle, which seemed to be made from heavenly light and darted to me. I took her to my bosom; she lifted her left hand towards me and with her right hand motioned the snake away. The snake went away immediately. Then she gave me a seat and sat in my lap and began to stroke my beard with her right hand saying, ‘My dear father:

Has not the time come for the Believers that their hearts should submit in all humility to the remembrance of Allah and to the truth which is revealed… [Surah Al-Hadeed: Ayah 16]

I was moved to tears and asked her, ‘My daughter, do all of you know the meaning o the Qur’an?’ She replied, ‘We understand the Qur’an even better than you.’ I asked her, ‘My dear child, what was this snake?’ She said, ‘It was your own evil deed which had made it so strong, it was about to push you into Jahannam.’ I asked ‘And who was that white robed old man?’ She replied, ‘Those were your good deeds and you had made them so weak with your scanty good deeds that he could not help you with the snake.’ I asked, ‘What are all of you doing on this hill?’ She replied, ‘We are the children of the Muslims who died in infancy. We shall live here till the day of resurrection, waiting to be reunited with you when you come to us at last and we shall intercede for you with your Lord.’

Malik then woke up screaming, crying out, “O my Lord! Right now! [I repent] right now my Lord! Yes, it is due.” So he got up, made wudu, and headed out to pray Fajr in the Masjid, seeking to repent and return to Allah. Upon entering the Masjid, he found the imam reciting the very same verse recited by his daughter in the dream.

Indeed, Allah is well aware of those who wish to turn back to Him, and out of His boundless mercy, He gives them continuous opportunities to seek His forgiveness and draw close to Him. After his repentance, Malik ibn Dinar was known to stand in prayer, weeping to Allah throughout the night, saying,

إلهي أنت وحدك الذي يعلم ساكن الجنة من ساكن النار، فأي الرجلين أنا اللهم اجعلني من سكان الجنة ولا تجعلني من سكان النار “

O Allah, you are the Only One Who knows the inhabitants of Paradise and the inhabitants of the Hellfire, so whichever of the two men I am, O Allah, make me of the inhabitants of Paradise, and do not make me of the inhabitants of the Hellfire.”

Malik ibn Dinar changed from a person known for his oppression, alcoholism, and great negligence in his relationship with Allah, to a leading pious scholar with the likes and in the times of big names like Hasan al Basri (may Allah be pleased with them all). He changed from someone the people used to hate, to someone the people to this day continue to love him and ask Almighty Allah to have mercy upon him. Once an individual whose actions could have made him merit Hellfire, Ibn Dinar turned into a person who, InshaAllah, will inhabit Paradise eternally.

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