|1. Prior to his reformation and renunciation of the world, Hadhrat Fuzail was the chief of a band of highway robbers. He operated in the desert attacking and looting passing caravans. Even while a bandit he wore simple garments of sackcloth and a woollen cap. A tasbeeh was always strung around his neck. When his band of dacoits brought their plunder, he would take whatever he desired and distribute the remainder among them.
Although his profession was dacoity, he always performed Salaat in Jamaat. He would expel any member of his band, who did not participate in Jamaat Salaat.
2. Once a big caravan laden with wealth had to pass through the territory where Fuzail’s bandits operated. As the caravan approached his territory, the people were gripped by fear and worry. Before entering into the feared zone, a man who had brought along considerable wealth thought of burying his wealth in the wilderness. Even if the caravan is looted, his gold and silver would be safe. While searching in the wilderness for a convenient place to conceal his gold, he came across a tent in which a buzrug was sitting on his musalla engrossed in Thikrullah. This was an ideal place to hide the gold. He spoke to the buzrug who indicated to the merchant to leave the bag in one corner of the tent. After doing do, he left for the caravan.
As expected, Fuzail’s bandits looted the caravan. After the robbers had left, the merchant returned to the tent to reclaim his wealth. When he reached the tent, he was shocked to discover that all the bandits were there dividing the loot. Now to his dismay he realised the ‘buzrug’ was Fuzail, the leader of the bandits. He lamented the fact that he had destroyed his wealth with his own hands.
When Fuzail saw the merchant, he called him. Full of fear, the merchant stepped forward. Fuzail asked: “What do you want?” Merchant: “I came for my amaanat (trust) which I left by you.” Fuzail: “Take it from where you had left it.” At first the merchant thought Fuzail was mocking him. However, when Fuzail insisted, the merchant took his bag. Surprised and amazed he left for the caravan.
In surprise, the robbers asked: “Why did you return his money? We did not obtain any money in this caravan.” Fuzail said: “He trusted me and entertained a good opinion of me. I, therefore, honoured his trust. I hold a good opinion of Allah Ta’ala. By His fadhl, He too will uphold my hopes in His mercy.”
After this episode, the bandits looted another caravan in which they had acquired much wealth. When they sat down to eat, one of the travellers asked for their leader. The bandits said: “He is at the riverside engaged in Salaat.”
Hearing this, the traveller was very surprised. He went to Fuzail and asked: “Tell me, what relationship is there between robbery and Salaat, Saum?”
|This reply surprised the traveller even more. He left wondering at the condition of this leader of the bandits.
3. In the beginning he was deeply in love with a woman. He would send his share of the looted wealth to this woman.
4. One night when a caravan entered Fuzail’s territory, he heard a Qari reciting:
|“What! Has the time not arrived for the believers that their hearts mellow with fear for the thikr of Allah?”
This aayat struck Fuzail’s heart like an arrow. He exclaimed: “Alas! How long will I continue ruining my life with banditry? The time has arrived for travelling in the path of Allah.” He was overcome with profound regret and wept abundantly. He resolved to reform himself.
5. After repenting, Fuzail Bin Iyaaz set out for another wilderness. He found that a caravan had put up camp there. He heard a traveller telling his companion: “We are about to enter Fuzail’s domain. We have to be careful.” Fuzail said: “Have no fear. I have repented. I now am fleeing from you.”
6. After repenting, Fuzail journied to meet all those people whose rights he had plundered. He had to make amends otherwise his repentance would be incomplete. All his victims except a Jew, forgave him. The Jew said: “If you want me to forgive you, then remove this dune of sand in front of us. For many days, Fuzail laboured, carrying away the sand. One day Allah Ta’ala sent a strong wind which blew all the sand of the dune away. When the Jew saw what had happened, he said: “I had taken an oath that as long as you do not return my money, I shall not forgive you. Near my bed is a bag of Ashrafis (gold coins). Bring it to me so that my oath is fulfilled to enable me to forgive you.” Fuzail took the bag and gave it to the Jew. When the Jew opened the bag, he said: “First make me a Muslim, then I shall forgive you.”
After the Jew had embraced Islam, he said: “Do you know why I became a Muslim?”
7. Once Fuzail said to a man: “Take me to the king. In my lifetime I had committed many crimes. I want the king to punish me. The man took Fuzail to the king and put forward his request. The king, however, recognized him and honoured him. He ordered all present to honour and revere Fuzail. A group of noblemen was sent by the king to accompany Fuzail until his home. This treatment greatly grieved him. Seeing his grief, his wife asked: “Are you wounded?” Fuzail: “Yes, I have been wounded.” His wife: “Where?” Fuzail: “My heart has been wounded.”
8. When Fuzail resolved to go for Hajj, he said to his wife: “I intend to go for Hajj. The road is difficult and treacherous. I do not want to impose any hardship on you. If you wish, I shall set you free.” His wife: “I have been with you all these years. I have never been separated from you. I shall live with you and serve you. I shall go with you.”
They thus set off together on the journey which Allah Ta’ala made easy for them. He finally settled in Makkah Muazzamah. 9. In addition to having met many Auliyaa, Fuzail stayed for some time in the company of Imaan Abu Hanifah (rahmatullah alayh) gaining considerable knowledge.
10. The people of Makkah would attend Fuzail’s discourses. Once some of his relatives came to visit him in Makkah. He did not open the door. Standing on the balcony, he said: “May Allah Ta’ala bestow good intelligence to you. May He keep you occupied in some pious activity.”
The manner in which he delivered his naseehat made such an impact on his relatives that they all fainted. When they became conscious, they left to return to their homeland. Fuzail, standing long on the balcony, gazed sadly at them, crying and making dua for them until they disappeared from sight.
11. One night, the renowned Khalifah, Haroun Ar-Rashid said to his wazier: “Take me to a buzrug, for my heart has become hard and corrupt.” The wazier (prime minister) took the Khalifah to Hadhrat Sufyaan Bin Uyainah (rahmatullah alayh). The wazier knocked at the door. Sufyaan Bin Uyainah asked: “Who is it?” Wazier: “Ameerul Mu’mineen has come.”
Haroun Ar-Rashid: “Say something more.”
12. One day, Fuzail taking his son in his lap played with him. The boy said: “Do you love me?” Fuzail: “Yes.” The son: “You also love Allah. The love of two cannot co-exist in one heart.” Fuzail understood that this comment of the boy was a reminder from Allah Ta’ala. He put the boy down and became absorbed in ibaadat. 13. Someone asked: “When does a man attain excellence in his relationship with Allah Ta’ala?” Fuzail said: “When obtainal and denial (of bounties of Allah) are the same.”
14. Imaam Ahmad Bin Hambal (rahmatullah alayh) said that he heard Fuzail Bin Iyaaz (rahmatullah alayh) say: “The searcher of the world is contemptible.” He also said: “Remain a follower. Do not become a leader. It is nobler to be a follower.”
15. His love for solitude constrained him to say: “I wish to become sick so that I be prevented from meeting people.” (Severe illness will allow him to be absent from the Musjid. He will thus be in solitude.) “One should take to solitude in such a place where no one sees one.”
16. Fuzail said: “I am grateful to a man who does not greet me when he sees me and does not visit me when I am sick.”
17. Once when Fuzail saw his son polishing a dinaar (gold coin), he said: “Abandoning this futile act is better for you than ten Hajj and ten Umrah.”
18. For 30 years no one saw Fuzail laugh. But when his son died, Fuzail smiled. When asked for the reason, he said: “Allah Ta’ala is pleased with my son’s death, hence I smiled to conform with His pleasure.”
19. Once a Qaari recited the Qur’aan beautifully. Fuzail said: “Recite to my son, but do not recite Surah Al-Qaariah. My son is overcome with excessive fear of Allah. He is unable to bear hearing about the calamities of the Aakhirah.” The Qaari recited to Fuzail’s son. Forgetting about Fuzail’s warning, he recited also Surah Al-Qaariah. The son let out a piercing scream and dropped down dead.
20. Fuzail said: “I do not envy the Ambiya. They too have to go through the stages of the Qabr, Qiyaamat and Siraat. I do not envy the Angels. They have greater fear for Allah than man. I, however, envy the child whose mother never gave birth to it.”
21. Fuzail had two daughters. He was very scrupulous in their upbringing, when he was about to die. He said to his wife:”After my death, take my daughters to Mount Abu Qais and say to Allah: “Fuzail had cared for them until his last. Fuzail has now assigned them to Your care.” After his demise, his wife fulfilled his wasiyyat. While making dua, the king of Yemen happened to pass by with his retinue which included his two sons. He made enquiries and proposed that Fuzail’s daughters be married to his sons. In this way did Allah Ta’ala care for the daughters of Fuzail. They married princes and lived in palaces.
22. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mubaarak (rahmatullah alayh) said:”When Fuzail Bin Iyaaz died, even the heavens and the earth wept. An eerie silence was perceived.”
After his conversion, Fuḍayl moved to Kufa, in modern-day Iraq, and studied under Ja’far al-Sadiq and Abdul Waahid Bin Zaid. and taught Ibrahim ibn Adham, Bishr the Barefoot and Sari Sakti. When Fuḍayl determined to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, he approached his wife and told her that he had to leave on the long and dangerous journey, but that he was willing to grant her a divorce if she wished to remarry in his absence. She refused, and said she would prefer to accompany him on the trip. He remained in Mecca for a long time, and studied under Abu Hanifa. He had at least one son, named Ali, and two daughters.
Fuḍayl was noted for his anti-social nature, and many examples exist of this. When crowds began to gather around his Meccan home, eager for the chance to see him, he would often dissuade them, one time standing on his roof to thank them all and tell them that he prayed God would give them meaningful employment for their time. He was rather noted for his preference for solitude, at one point saying he wished he would become ill so that he did not have meet people and could avoid going out to public prayers. Another quote that survives from him is that “I am grateful to a man who does not greet me when he sees me and does not visit me when I am sick”.
Fuḍayl’s son suffered from a urinary tract infection, which was cured when Fuḍayl relied on prayer and faith alone.
When Fuḍayl understood that his death may be near, he told his wife to take his daughters to Mount Abu Qais, in Mecca, and tell God that Fuḍayl had cared for them all his life and now they were in God’s hands.
He died during his salat prayers, early in the year 187AH, with some scholars suggesting it was the third day of Rabi’ al-awwal
Following his wishes, his widow took their two daughters to Mount Abu Qais, where they were greeted by the King of Yemen who was travelling with his two sons, and two marriages were thus arranged.
A shrine was built in his honor in Bagdhad.
Fudhayl bin Iyaadh (rah) are amongst the Rijaal of all major hadith works and they are unanimously agreed upon to be “THIQA (RELIABLE)” “SUDUQ (TRUTHFUL)” “THIQA THABIT (UTTERLY RELIABLE) “SALIH (RIGHTEOUS)” etc… hence the hadith science itself reaches us through eminent Sufis.