A Zaalim is Punished

Hadhrat Amar Bin Dinaar (rahmatullah alayh) narrated the following episode in which there is great ibrat (lesson) for the zaalimeen (oppressors).

Once a man from Bani Israaeel who was living on the seashore, heard someone proclaiming: “Whoever sees me should refrain from zulm (oppression).” The Israaili man asked: ‘O servant of Allah! What is your story?’ The man said: “I used to be a policeman. One day I was walking along this very shore. I saw a fisherman who had caught a big fish. I asked him to give the fish to me. He refused. I asked him to sell the fish to me. When he again refused, I struck him with my whip and forcibly snatched his fish and left.

I took the fish home. After it was prepared, I sat down to eat. While I was about to eat of it, the fish suddenly came to life and sunk its teeth deep into my hand at the thumb. After a very long struggle and excruciating pain, we managed to pry open the vice-like grip of the fish’s teeth. My thumb immediately started to decompose. The physician diagnosed cancer and advised immediate amputation. After amputation of my thumb, the decomposition began on my hand. The physician said that it was imperative to amputate my hand otherwise the cancer will spread and ultimately consume my whole body.

After my hand was amputated at the wrist, the decomposition began on my forearm which was then also amputated. The disease spread to my upper arm. When this happened, I panicked, lost my nerve and ran into the wilderness abandoning my family. I wandered around aimlessly and screaming. One day during my aimless wandering, overcome with fear and fatigue I sat down under a tree. Whilst I was between sleep and wakefulness, I heard someone saying: “How long will you continue to dismember yourself? Make amends with the one whom you had oppressed. You will then attain salvation”

At this juncture I recalled the episode with the fisherman. I now understood that this malady was a punishment from Allah Ta’ala. I went to the sea shore in search of the fisherman and found him casting his net into the water and drawing out fish. I waited until he had retrieved his net full of fish. I went up to him and said: “O servant of Allah! I am your slave at your service.” The fisherman said: “O nephew! Who are you?” I responded: “I am that policeman who had struck you with the whip and snatched your fish.” I showed him my hand.

He recoiled with fear when he saw the state of my hand. He supplicated to Allah Ta’ala for protection, and he said: “I have forgiven you.” As he spoke, the worms began to fall from my decomposing arm, and the malady instantaneously disappeared. As I was about to leave, the fisherman told me to wait. He said: “I have committed a grave injustice to you by having invoked Allah’s curse on you. After all, the fish had really no value. That curse was accepted.” He took hold of my hand and told me to accompany him. We went to his home where he called his son and instructed him to dig in a corner. Soon a vat was retrieved. In it were thirty thousand dirhams (silver coins). The fisherman gave me 10,000 dirhams. Thereafter he instructed his son to count another 10,000 dirhams which he gave to me and said: “Distribute this to the poor and needy in your locality.”

I pleaded to him to inform me of the curse he had made. He said: “When you struck me on the head with the whip, I raised my eyes to the heaven, cried and supplicated: ‘O my Rabb! You have created him and me. You gave him greater strength than me. You made me weak. Then you imposed him on me. Neither did you protect me nor gave me sufficient power to repel him. O Allah! I plead to you by Your Power to make him an ibrat (lesson) for people.”