A Cautionary Story Of An Imprisoned Man

Abdullah bin Tahir, governor of Khorasan, was very just. One day, his gendarmes reported to the governor that they had caught some thieves. One of the thieves escaped. A blacksmith from Hirat who had gone to Nishabur was arrested, instead, as he was going back home one night. Together with the thieves they took him up to the governor, who then commanded them to be imprisoned. In the prison, the blacksmith made an ablution and performed salat. Holding his hands out, he invoked, "O my Allah! You alone know that I am innocent. You alone can rescue me from this dungeon. O Allah! Save me!" That night the governor dreamt of four strong people, who came up to him and were about to turn his throne upside down, when he woke up. Immediately, he made an ablution and performed a salat of two rak'ats [1] . He went back to sleep. Again he dreamt that the four persons were about to overturn his throne, and woke up. He realised that he had been doing injustice to someone who in turn had been invoking against him. As a matter of fact, the poet says:

Thousands of cannons and rifles can never do
What tears will do in the early morning.
The enemy-frightening spears are often
Pulverized by a Believer's praying.

O our Allah! You only art great! And you art so great that the great as well as the small beg only You when they are in trouble. Only he who begs You will attain his desire. That very night he summoned the prison manager and asked him if there was anyone who was unjustly put in there. The prison manager said, "I couldn't know. But there is somebody who is performing salat and saying prayers very much. He is weeping, too." Upon this, he had the blacksmith brought to him. Asking him and then learning what was wrong, he apologized and begged, "Forgive me, please, and do accept these thousand silver coins as my gift upon you. Whenever you desire anything, whatsoever, just come to me!" The blacksmith said, "I have forgiven you and will accept your present. But I cannot come to you to ask for my wish." When asked why, he said, "Would it become me as a born slave to present my wishes to someone else, abandoning my Owner, Who has several times overturned the throne of such a sultan as you for the sake of such a poor person as me? Upon the prayers which I sent after my salat, He rescued me from many problems. He enabled me to attain many a desire. How could I ever trust myself to someone else? My Allah opened the door of the treasure of Infinite Mercy. He set His endless table of gifts in front of everybody. How could I go to someone else despite these? Who on earth asked from Him and wasn't given? Who on earth came to Him and then went back empty-handed? If you don't know how to ask, you will not obtain. If you do not enter His presence in due manner, you will not get His compassion." A poem:

If anyone puts his head on worship's threshold for one night,
The Darling's favour will for certain open up for him a thousand ways.

When Rabia-i Adwiyya, one of the great Awliya [2] , heard somebody praying, "O my Allah! Open for me the gate to Thine mercy!" she said to him, "O you ignoramus! Has the gate to Allah's Mercy been closed up to now so that you want it to be opened?" ( Although the gate through which Allah's mercy originally emanates is always open, the heart which is the gate for it to enter, is not open in everybody. We must pray for the opening of this gate.)

[1] Rak'at: In performing namaz, the actions of standing, bowing and putting the head on the ground twice are altogether called a rak'at. Most prayers of namaz consist of two or four rak'ats. One of them contains three rak'ats.
[2] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta'ala.