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.
Another noble trait in him was that he had strict instructions for observing the Purdah of the female travellers in the caravans. Sufficient means for continuance of the caravan's journey were also left with the people. Fuzail Bin Iyaaz would also keep account of the persons and the amounts he robbed. (Allah Ta'ala had wonderful plans for Hadhrat Fuzail, hence these noble characteristics were in him despite him being the leader of dacoits.)
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."
Traveller: "This is not the time for Salaat."
Bandit: "He engages in Nafl Salaat."
Traveller: "Why does he not eat with you?"
Bandit: "He is fasting."
Traveller: "It is not Ramadhaan."
Bandit: "He keep Nafl fasts."
Hearing this, the traveller was very surprised. He went to Fuzail and asked: "Tell me, what relationship is there between robbery and Salaat, Saum?"
Fuzail: "Do you know the Qur'aan?"
Fuzail: "Did you not recite the aayat:
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?"
Fuzail: "I do not know."
Former Jew: "I have read in the Taurah that when a man who has sincerely repented touches sand, it becomes gold. That bag had contained some sand which turned into gold by your touch. I have now realised the truth of your Deen."
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."
Sufyaan: "Why did you not inform me earlier. I myself would have come to meet him." Hearing this, Haroun Ar-Rashid said: "This is not the type of buzrug I am searching for. Why have you brought me here?" Hadhrat Sufyaan said: "That type of buzrug is Fuzail Bin Iyaaz and no one else."
When they arrived at Hadhrat Fuzail's home, the wazier knocked on the door.
Fuzail: "Who are you?"
Wazier: "Ameerul Mu'mineen is here."
Fuzail: "What work has he with me? Do not take up my time."
Wazier: "Obedience to the Ameer is incumbent."
Fuzail: "Don't distress me."
Wazier: "Permit us to enter otherwise we shall enter without permission."
Fuzail: "You have no permission. To enter without permission is your decision."
Both entered. Fuzail extinguished the lamp so that his eyes do not fall on Haroun Ar-Rashid. The room was in darkness. Haroun Ar-Rashid managed to take Fuzail's hand. Fuzail said: "How tender is this hand. If only it could be saved from Jahannum." So saying, he began performing Salaat. The Khalifah wept. When Fuzail completed the Salaat, Haroun Ar-Rashid said: "Give me some advice."
Fuzail: "Your father was the paternal uncle of Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) . – Haroun Ar-Rashid was a Sayyid. – He, (i.e. Hadhrat Abbaas –(ra) had asked Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) : 'Appoint me the ruler of some region.' Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) said: 'I appoint you the ruler of your nafs. Your nafs in Allah's obedience is better than a thousand years of people's obedience (to you). On the Day of Qiyaamah, (earthly) kingdom will be the cause of regret."
Haroun Ar-Rashid: "Say something more."
Fuzail: "When Hadhrat Umar Bin Abdul Azeez became the Khalifah, he sent for Hadhrat Saalim Bin Abdullah, Hadhrat Rajaa Bin Hayaat and Hadhrat Muhammad Bin Ka'b (rahmatullah alayhim), and said: 'I have become involved in this affair (of the Khilaafat). Guide me.' One of the three elders said: 'If you desire salvation in Qiyaamah, treat the aged Muslims as you would treat your mother and father; the young like your brothers; the children like your own children; women like your mother and sisters."
Haroun Ar-Rashid: "Say something more."
Fuzail: "Be kind to the pious and do good to your offspring and brothers. I fear that your handsome form may perhaps be entering Jahannum. Your face will there become ugly."
Haroun Ar-Rashid wept and said: "Say something more."
Fuzail: "Fear Allah! Be prepared to answer to Him. On the Day of Qiyaamah, Allah will question you about every single one of your subjects. If even an old lady in your domain slept hungry, on the Day of Qiyaamah she will grab hold of you and demand justice in the Divine Court."
Unable to bear the impact of this naseehat, the Khalifah fainted. The wazier said to Fuzail: "This is enough. You have killed Ameerul Mu'mineen."
Fuzail: "O Haamaan! Be quiet! I have not killed him. You and your people have killed him." (Haamaan was the wazier of Fir'oun.) By this time Haroun Ar-Rashid had regained conscious and had heard the comments of Fuzail. The Khalifah said to the wazier: "Have you heard? He said that you are Haamaan, which means I am Fir'oun."
Addressing Fuzail, the Khalifah said: "Hadhrat, do you have any debt?"
Fuzail: "Yes, I am indebted to Allah."
Haroun Ar-Rashid: "I am asking about debt owing to people."
Fuzail: "Allah Ta'ala has bestowed bounties to me in such abundance that I have no need to incur debt." Haroun Ar-Rashid presenting a bag containing 1,000 dinars said: "I have acquired this in a lawful way. It came to me as inheritance from my mother. Do accept it."
Fuzail: Alas! You have derived no benefit from my naseehat. It is indeed surprising that while I have called you towards salvation, you plan to ruin me. I said that you should give to those who deserve, but you give to those who do not deserve."
Fuzail then asked Haroun Ar-Rashid to leave. He closed the door on them. Outside, the Khalifah said to his wazier:
"Truly, this is a man of piety and excellence."
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."
"A man who mingles with people is far from goodness."
"The tongue of a person who fear Allah, remains silent."
"When Allah befriends a man, He casts him in difficulties and He gives prosperity to His enemy." (i.e. Worldly prosperity which in reality is a delusion, the end of which is everlasting perdition.)
"Everything has its fixed Zakaat. The Zakaat of Aql (intelligence) is contemplation. It is for this reason that Rasulullah ( صلى الله عايه وسالم) was always seen in a contemplative mood."
"Just as weeping in Jannat is surprising, so too is laughing on earth surprising. Neither is Jannat an abode of crying nor is the world a place of laughing."
"A man who has Allah's fear, does not indulge in futility. The love of the world does not occur to him."
"All things fear a man who fear Allah and a man who does not fear Allah, fears all things."
"A man's fear (for Allah) is proportionate to his knowledge (of Allah)."
"A man's zuhd on earth is proportionate to his love for the Aakhirah." (The greater his love for the Aakhirah, the more will he abstain from the world and its pleasures.)
"Allah has accumulated all evils in one place. Its key is this world."
"It is easy to enter the world, but to leave it freed of liabilities is difficult."
"The world is like an asylum and its inmates like insane people. Insane people are always kept imprisoned."
"Even if the Aakhirah was of sand and this world of gold, man's striving should be for the Aakhirah which is everlasting. This is more so, since the world is of sand and temporary and the Aakhirah of gold."
"An arrogant man is deprived of humility. Allah Ta'ala loves humility (tawaadhu')."
"It is difficult to find three persons – A practising Aalim; a man who practices righteousness with sincerity and a brother without fault."
Allah curses a man who overtly professes friendship for a brother Muslim, but covertly is his enemy. It is possible that he may become blind and deaf."
"A man who is pleased with the decrees of Allah, is a Zaahid and an Aarif."
"True tawakkul (trust in Allah) is to sever all hope in anyone besides Allah and to fear only Him. A man of tawakkul is grateful to Allah."
"If someone asks you: Are you the friend of Allah?, then remain silent. If you say that you are not, you become a kaafir. If you say that you are His friend, you are a liar because your deeds are not the deeds of a friend of Allah."
"Many people emerge from the bathroom purified while many people return from the Ka'bah contaminated (with sins, i.e. there sins are not forgiven)."
"Smiling in front of a faasiq ruins one's Deen."
"When a man curses an animal, is responds: 'May the curse fall on the one who is the greater sinner of us two and 'Ameen' from us both."
"If I am told that only one of my duas will be accepted, I shall supplicate for the good of the king. If the king becomes good, it will benefit the whole nation."
"Excessive eating and excessive sleeping ruin a man."
"Allah Ta'ala revealed to a Nabi: "Give sinners the glad tidings of forgiveness if they repent and warn the Siddiqeen (Auliyaa) that if on the Day of Qiyaamah, I apply the code of justice, they all will be liable for punishment."
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."