A resident of Damascus, ‘Ubaidah bin Muhajir was a well-respected, and extremely rich, businessman, who one day decided to make a business trip to Azerbaijan. After a long day of travel, ‘Ubaidah came across a pasture and a river that ran alongside it. After he had made camp and was resting, he heard the sound of someone praising Allaah (subhanahu wa taala).
Going to the source of the sound, ‘Ubaidah came across a man who, attired in a garment made of straw, was resting in a ditch. After having extended greetings of peace to the man, ‘Ubaidah inquired, “Who are you, O slave of Allaah?”
“A Muslim,” answered the man.
“How difficult your circumstances seem to be,” said ‘Ubaidah.
“I lead a life that is replete with blessings,” said the man.
“How can you say that when you are wearing not clothing, but a covering made of straw!” exclaimed ‘Ubaidah.
“And why shouldn’t I praise Allaah for creating me, for giving me good form, for causing me to be born and raised as a Muslim, for blessing me with sound health, and for covering that part of my body which I dislike mentioning? Who goes to sleep having greater blessings than these, all of which I enjoy.”
“May Allaah have mercy on you.” said ‘Ubaidah. “Will you not come back to me on my camp, for I have made camp beside the river?”
“Why?” the man asked
“So that I can feed you and give you real clothing, making it unnecessary for you to wear straw.”
“I have no need for any of that,” said the man.
‘Ubaidah later said, “I then left him and returned to my campsite. I later fell into contemplation, and the more I despised my life and even myself. Here I was, richest man in Damascus, having no fear of anyone in Damascus having even nearly as much wealth as I had, yet I was going on a journey to make even more money. It was at that point that I said: “O Allaah, indeed I repent to You for the evilness of my situation.” ‘Ubaidah thereafter turned away from the pursuit of acquiring more wealth, and instead dedicated his life to repentance and worship.
[Transcribed from: Stories of Repentance, Pages 100-101|Compiled by: Muhammad Abduh Mughawiri|Edited by: Abdul Ahad (Alig.)|Published by: Darussalam 2005]