Muhammad bin Munkadir says,
“Madīnah was once affected by a severe drought. The inhabitants went out to perform Salāt ‘l-Istisqā’, but it did not rain. There was one particular pillar in the Masjid of the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) behind which I would sit and also perform Salāt.
One night I performed `Ishā’ prayer and then came to sit and recline against the pillar as was my habit.
After a while I noticed a black person with a slightly yellowed face arriving. He had a cloth covering his legs and another covering his back. He proceeded towards the pillar in front of me and performed two rak`āt of Salāt. He then sat down and raised his hands in prayer, ‘O my Lord, those who frequent the Haram of Your Prophet went out to ask you for rain but you did not cause it to rain! I entreat You to grant them rain.’
When I heard him say these words I assumed that he was insane, but no sooner did he drop his hands when I heard thunder and rain began to fall. When he heard the rain he praised Allah in such glorious words which I had never heard before. He then said, ‘Who am I and what am I that my prayer was accepted? But I have turned to Your praise and Your might.’
He then stood up, placed his clothing over his body as before and began performing Salāt for the duration of the night. He then performed Fajr prayer in congregation and I did likewise. After the Imām had completed the Salāt he stood up to leave and I followed him. When he reached the door of the Masjid he raised his clothing and proceeded to wade through the water. I did the same but he disappeared from my sight.
The next night I again performed Salāt and came to recline against the pillar. The stranger again arrived, drew his clothing like the night before and continued to perform Salāt till dawn. After we had performed Fajr in congregation he rose to leave and I followed him. This time I succeeded in keeping up with him and noticed him entering a house in Madinah which was familiar to me. I returned to the Masjid. When the sun had risen and I had performed my Salāt I proceeded to the house. The man was sitting and stitching a piece of leather. He was a cobbler by profession. When he saw me he recognised me and asked, ‘Abū `Abdillāh, welcome! What can I do for you? Do you need a pair of leather socks sown?’
I sat down and asked, ‘Are you not the same person I saw last night?’
His expression changed and he cried out in anger, ‘Ibn Munkadir, what do you have to do with that?’
I noticed his irritation and I said to myself, ‘I should leave him alone and depart immediately.’
That night I performed my `Ishā’ and again came to my pillar but the pious man did not arrive. I said to myself, ‘What have you done?’
After the sun had risen the next morning I went to see him at his home. The door was open and the home was empty. The residents asked me, ‘Ibn Munkadir, what happened between you and him yesterday?’
I asked, ‘Why?’
They explained, ‘When you left him he laid open his cloth, packed all his leather and tools therein and left. We do not know where he has gone.’
I searched all the homes in Madīnah that I knew but I could find no trace of him. May Allāh have mercy upon him!”
[Sifatus-Safwah by Ibn ‘l-Jawzi]
Source: | — Al-Hanbali —|