CHAPTER ON REPENTANCE
20. Abu Sa'id ibn Sa'd ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri reported that the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) said, "Among those before you there was a man who killed ninety-nine people. He asked who was the most knowledgeable man in the world and was directed to a monk. He went to him and said that he had killed ninety-nine people and was repentance possible for him? The monk said, 'No,' so he killed him and made it a hundred.
Then he again asked who was the most knowledgeable man on earth and was directed to a man of knowledge. He said that he had killed a hundred people, so was repentance possible for him? The man said, 'Yes, who can come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a land, where there are some people worshipping Allah Almighty. Worship Allah with them and do not return to your own country. It is an evil place.' So he went and then, when he was half way there, he died. The angels of mercy and angels of punishment started to argue about him. The angels of mercy said, 'He came in repentance, turning with his heart to Allah Almighty.' The angels of punishment said, 'He has not done a single good action.' An angel came in a human form and they appointed him arbitrator between them. He said, 'Measure the distance between the two countries and whichever one he is nearer to, that is the one he belongs to.' They measured and found he was nearer to the land to which he was going, so the angels of mercy took him." [Agreed upon]
In the variant in the Sahih, "He was a hand-span nearer to the virtuous land, so he was put among their people."
In the variant in the Sahih, "Allah revealed to this country to distance itself and that one to come nearer. He said, 'Measure the distance between them,' and they found that he was nearer to the good one by a hand-span and he forgave him."
In one variant, "He was nearer it by a short neck."