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The Perfume of Piety


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There was once a person whose body would always exude the fragrance of the most exotic musk and perfume. A friend one day asked him, “What is this wonderful fragrance I always smell on you? You must be spending a lot of money on musk if you apply it so often!” The person replied, “By Allah! Never have I purchased musk nor have I ever applied it!” His friend was astonished and asked, “Then where does your fragrance come from?” Not keen to answer the question, he said to his friend, “Why are you asking me?” His friend explained, “I hope that Allah Ta‘ala will let me benefit in some way by what you will tell me.” On his friend’s coaxing and urging, he eventually narrated the following:
In my youth I was a very handsome lad. My father was a merchant and I would generally spend my time with him. One day, an old woman came to him and purchased some cloth. As she did not have the money with her to pay for it, she asked my father if he would send me along to her home where I would collect the money. My father agreed. Hence, I proceeded with her until we finally stood before a grand, palatial home. The old woman ushered me into a stunning courtyard and as I entered, my gaze fell on a beautiful young girl who was seated atop a raised seat on a silken cushion. The instant she saw me, she was dazzled by my beauty and immediately demanded that I join her on her seat. I staunchly refused. Instead of bringing her to her senses, my rejection only incited her to get down and come to me. Then, in a fit of infatuation, she began pulling and tugging me towards herself. I was in a genuine predicament. Thus in order to escape from her embrace, I asked her if I could use the toilet. Although impatient, she acceded and shouted for her slaves who guided me to the toilet. I entered the toilet where I relieved myself into my hands. Not wasting a moment, I smeared the filth over my body, clothing, and face. When I exited the toilet, the eagerly awaiting girl was greeted by the sight and smell of not a handsome youth but a person literally covered in human waste! The flames of her passion were, at once, thoroughly doused and she screamed to her servants in horror and disgust, “This is a madman! Throw him out immediately!”
I happened to have only one dirham with me. On leaving, I purchased some soap and thereafter went to the river where I cleansed my body and clothing of the filth. When I was done, I went back to my father and did not tell him a word of what had transpired. When I went to sleep that night, I saw a dream in which a handsome man with an excellent fragrance came to me. I asked him who he was to which he replied that he was Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam). He said to me, “Allah Ta‘ala has sent me to give you the glad tidings of Jannah and to reward you with some of its perfume because of the extent to which you went to avoid falling into sin.” He then passed his hands over my face, body and clothing and departed. When I awoke the next morning, I smelt an exquisite fragrance which, to this day, still perpetually wafts from my body. (At-Targheeb wa Tarheeb lil Yaafi‘ee pg. 165)
1. The pious youngster was prepared to go to the extreme of covering himself with filth and mess in order to avoid falling into sin. We, on the other hand, make an all-out effort to ensure that we fall into sin and filth – resulting in us making a mess of our lives.
2. A person who leaves sin for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala will enjoy rewards in both this world as well as the Hereafter.
3. A true Muslim detests sin even more than he detests filth and faeces.
4. A Muslim is prepared to make any sacrifice necessary in order to keep his link of love with Allah Ta‘ala intact.
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