The Thief and Abu Hurayrah

There is a famous hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra) found in Sahih al-Bukhari. The Prophet (saw) had assigned Abu Hurayrah (ra) the responsibility to watch over the Sadaqah of Ramadan during the nights. On the first night of watching, a person snuck in and started robbing the charity items which was mostly composed of foodstuffs. Abu Hurayrah (ra) caught the thief red handed and said, “By Allah, I will take you to Allah’s Messenger (saw).” The thief at once begged his release and said, “Release me, for I am meek and have many dependants and am in great need.” Out of pity, Abu Hurayrah (ra) released the thief. The following morning the Prophet (saw) asked Abu Hurayra (ra), “What did your prisoner do yesterday, O Abu Hurayrah?” Abu Hurayrah (ra) responded, “O Allah’s Messenger (saw)! He complained of being needy and of having many dependents, so I pitied him and let him go.” The Prophet (saw) knew well what was happening and told Abu Hurayrah, “Indeed, he told you a lie and will be coming again.” 

Abu Hurayrah was ready to face the thief again and that night he was keeping a special eye out for the thief. When he showed up again and starting stealing the Sadaqah Abu Hurayra (ra) once again caught him and said, “I will definitely take you to Allah’s Messenger (saw)!” Once again the thief garnered sympathy by repeating the same phrases he uttered the night before, which lead Abu Hurayra (ra) to feel pity. As a result, the thief was freed once again. The following morning, the Prophet (saw) asked Abu Hurayra (ra), “What did your prisoner do last night, O Abu Hurayrah?” Once again he had to explain his situation to the Prophet (saw) and the Prophet (saw) said that the thief would return again.

Once again Abu Hurayrah (ra) found himself keeping an eye out for the thief. The thief arrived and the same chain of events that occurred the two previous nights occurred again. However this time, the thief told Abu Hurayrah (ra) something very important. He said, “Let me teach you some words which Allah (swt) will give you benefit from. Whenever you go to bed, recite Ayat Al-Kursi, until you finish the whole verse. (If you do so), Allah (swt) will appoint a guard for you who will stay with you, and no Shaytaan will come near you until morning.’ In the morning, the Prophet (saw) asked “What did your prisoner do last night?” So Abu Hurayrah (ra) told the Prophet (saw) about how the thief told him to recite Ayat al-Kursi at night as Allah (swt) will appoint a guard for the night and no Shaytaan will come near me until morning. The Prophet (saw) said, “He spoke the truth, although he is a liar. Do you know whom you were talking to, these three nights, O Abu Hurayrah? Abu Hurayrah (ra) said, “No,” and the Prophet (saw) responded, “It was Shaytaan.”

The ayah tells us that Allah is One, Living, Self-sustaining, the King of kings, the Owner of the universe, supreme in dominion, and might, and absolutely exalted, beyond comparison. It is the best ayah in all of the Qur’an. The virtues of this ayah are limitless and Allah knows best.

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