The following narration is taken from the book Stories of Repentance by Muhammad Abduh Mughawiri. Written under the title of ‘The True Treasure’ it describes an event where Maalik bin Dinar, a member of the Sahabah, was confronted by a burglar in his home one night. Instead of finding the riches he was seeking, the burglar instead left with a much greater treasure than he could have imagined.
A burglar scaled the wall of Maalik bin Dinar’s house one night and easily managed to get inside. Once inside the house, the thief was disappointed to see that there was nothing inside actually worth stealing. The owner of the home was inside at the time, he was busy performing prayer. Realizing that he was not alone, Maalik quickly ended his prayer and turned around to face the thief. Without showing any sign of being shocked or afraid, Maalik calmly extended greetings of peace and then said, “My brother, may Allah forgive you. You entered my home and found nothing that is worth taking, yet I do not want you to leave my home without taking away some benefit.”
He stood up, went to another part of the room, and came back with a jug full of water. He looked into the eyes of the burglar and said, “Make ablution and perform two units of prayer, for if you do so, you will leave my home with a greater treasure than you had initially sought when you entered it.”
Much humbled by Maalik’s manners and words, the thief said, “Yes, that is a generous offer indeed.”
After making ablution and performing two units of prayer, the burglar said, “O Maalik, would you mind if I stayed for a while, for I want to stay to perform two more units of prayer?”
Maalik said, “Stay for whatever amount of prayer Allah decrees for you to perform now.”
The thief ended up spending the entire night at Maalik’s house. He continued to pray until the morning. Then Maalik said, “Leave now and be good.”
But instead of leaving, the thief said, “Would you mind if I stayed here with you today, for I have made an intention to fast the day?”
“Stay as long as you wish,” said Maalik.
The burglar ended up staying for a number of days, praying during the late hours of each night and fasting throughout the duration of each day. When he finally decided to leave, the burglar said, “O Maalik, I have made a firm resolve to repent for my sins and for my former way of life.”
Maalik said, “Indeed, that is in the Hand of Allah.”
The man did mend his ways and began to lead a life of righteousness and obedience to Allah. Later on, He came across another burglar he knew. [His friend] said to him, “Have you found your treasure yet?”
He said, “My brother, what I found is Maalik bin Dinaar. I went to steal from him, but it was he who ended up stealing my heart. I have indeed repented to Allah, and I will remain at the door [of His Mercy and Forgiveness] until I achieve what his obedient, loving slaves have achieved.”
The True Treasure is just one of a great number of beautiful narrations contained in the book Stories of Repentance.