Sari As-Saqati reports: I was traveling as a tourist, when I once stumbled upon a cave. Issuing forth from the inside of it was the sound of weeping. When I looked inside the cave, I saw a young man, who had the look of a man whose sorrows have reduced his body to a weak, wan and emaciated figure. From the looks of him, he seemed to be a pious worshipper, and so I asked him,
“O young man, how can I achieve your safety?”
“By performing obligatory acts of worship, by returning things to their rightful owners (also, by gaining the pardon of those one wrongs), and by repenting to Allaah Azza wa Jall (the Possessor of might and majesty).”
“Will you preach to me?” I asked.
“If you want to learn an important lesson, ” He began, “Or to be on the receiving end of profound admonition, then look within yourself (at your deeds, your level of faith, etc). Act with knowledge that Allaah (subhanahu wa taala) sees you when you are alone, for doing so atones your sins and results in Allaah displaying you to the dwellers of the heavens.”
“Give me more,” I asked.
“Indeed, Allaah (subhanahu wa taala) has slaves whom He created to (worship) Him and whom He chose for His love. He has bestowed upon their hearts eagerness to seek closeness to Him. Their minds constantly engaged in reflection, and the color of their skin has turned yellow (pale) because they forsake their beds and stay up late at night to worship Allaah (subhanahu wa taala).” He then said, “Go away now, for you have kept me preoccupied away from what I was busy doing.”¹
[Transcribed from: Glimpses of the Lives of the Righteous People, Pages 110-111|Compiled by: Majdi Muhammad Ash-Shahawi|Edited by: Abdul Ahad (Alig.)|Darussalam 2004]