The Saint of Rajab

In the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, there lived a notorious highway robber. The Prophet cursed him because if the highwayman found someone walking alone in or around Medina at night, he would assault and rob them – he had even murdered people. No one could catch him and the holy Prophet said, “that he would never pray for him nor bury him in the graveyard of the Muslims”.

After many years, the highwayman passed away and because the Prophet had cursed him, the children dragged his body through the streets of Medina and threw him into a dry well. As soon as they did this, God spoke to the Prophet and said, “O My dear beloved Prophet, today one of My Saints has passed away. You must go and wash him, clean him, cover him, pray for him and bury him”.

The Prophet was astonished, because all his life he had cursed the highwayman and now that he’d passed away, he had become a Saint – how could he be a Saint? The Prophet never questioned God and prepared immediately to find the body of the thief that had now become a Saint.

The Prophet called Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and said, “O Abu Bakr, we have to go and bury the highwayman who died.” Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of God, you said that you did not want to bury that person in a Muslim grave for he is not a Muslim.” The Prophet said, “No, apart from him being a Muslim, God informed me today that that he was a Saint”.

The Naqshbandi Shaykhs point to this as an example of having to look at everyone as being better than yourself. You do not know if God is going to raise that person’s level higher than your level. They say never to look at people as if you are superior to them, as you don’t know if that person is a Saint in God’s eyes. Always regard people as being higher than yourself by showing respect and humbling yourself towards them – not to show ego or pride.

The Prophet went with Abu Bakr to the well, took the robber’s body out of the well with his own hands and with his companions carried the body to his house. He cleaned him, washed him, wrapped him in a shroud, took him to the mosque, prayed for him and then took him to the Baqi cemetery, a distance of fifteen minutes walk. It took the Prophet more than two hours to move from the mosque to the cemetery. Everyone was astonished at the way the Prophet was walking to the grave, which was on his tiptoes. Abu Bakr asked why he was walking this way, to which the Prophet replied, “I am also astonished Abu Bakr. God ordered all the Saints from the East to the West and all the Angels from the Seven Heavens to follow the bier of the Saint. There were so many of them filling the way that I couldn’t find a place to put my feet”. After they buried him, the Prophet did not speak to anyone and quickly returned to his house with Abu Bakr. They sat together, still surprised, with the Prophet saying that he was waiting for the Archangel Gabriel to come to inform him of what happened. Gabriel came and revealed that he was also astonished and that God was now telling the Prophet to ask the Saint’s daughter what the robber did in his life.

The Prophet went to the house of the burglar with Abu Bakr.  When he arrived, he asked the daughter of the beggar, “O my daughter, please tell me how your father lived?” She replied, “What am I going to tell you? He was a killer and a thief. He robbed and stole throughout the year, except for one month. When that month came, he would say, “this is the month of God, because he heard you say, “Rajab is the month of God, Shaban is the month of the Prophet and Ramadan is the month of the Community”. So he said, “I do not care for the month of the Prophet nor for the month of the Community, I care only for the month of my Lord. Therefore I’m going to sit in my room and perform seclusion during this month”.

The Prophet asked, “What kind of seclusion did he do?” and she replied, “O Messenger of God, one night he was out in the street looking for someone to rob. He found an old man of seventy or eighty years of age, who he beat until he was unconscious and then he robbed him. He found a small piece of paper in his pocket, which he opened to find a prayer written inside, which he liked very much. Every year during his seclusion in the month of Rajab, my father would sit and read that prayer day and night, weeping and reading, except for when he wanted to eat or take ablution. After the month was over, he would get up and say, “the month of God is finished, now back to robbing and stealing”.

The Prophet asked the daughter to bring the paper with the prayer on it and when she did, he kissed it and rubbed this paper over his body. God told the Prophet, “O my beloved Prophet, that person came and repented to Me in the most precious month of the year. For that reason, because he sacrificed one month of the year for Me, I have forgiven him all his mistakes and changed all his sins into laudable deeds – as he had many sins, now he has many rewards. He has become a Saint”.

The supplication used by this man is a very important supplication, which the Naqshbandis advise should be recited three times a day during Rajab. This is a famous supplication in the Sufi orders, which Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said purifies you from all your sins and leaves you like a newborn child.