It is related that a group of people were once seated in the company of Al-Hasan Al-Basri, when some men passed by, dragging along with them a body of a dead man. When Al-Hasan saw the dead man, a glint of instant recognition could be discerned in his eyes, and he fell unconscious from the shock of some memory that had just been rekindled.
When he regained consciousness, his companions asked him what was wrong with him.
He said: This man – referring to the dead man being dragged along on the ground – used to be one of the best worshipers and one of the most renowned ascetics (in the world) (renouncing all the temporary pleasures of this world because he was so busy and devoted to worship).
One day he left his home, intending to go to the Masjid to pray, but on the way, he saw a beautiful young Christian women, who became an immediate temptation to him.
When he proposed to her, she refused, saying; “I will not marry you until you become an adherent of my religion.”
He went on his way, but as time went on, he yearned for her continued to increase. He then succumbed to her wish and exited from the fold of (Islam) the religion of pure, unadulterated Monotheism.
After he became a Christian and some time passed, the woman came out to him from behind the curtain and said, “You are a man who is bereft of goodness. You have forsaken your religion, which was important to you for your entire life, simply for the sake of a lust that is of no value. Indeed, I too am forsaking my religion, but not for the same reason. I am doing so in order to achieve a blissful existence that never comes to an end, an eternal existence under the care of the One, the As-Samad (i.e., Allah; The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creature need, He neither eats nor drinks).”
She then recited the entire Chapter of Al-Ikhlaas:
“Say (O Muhammad (saw): “He is Allah, (the) One. Allaah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.” [112:1-4]
When the people had heard about what she had said, they approached her and asked, “All along, you had this Chapter memorized?“
“No,” she answered. “By Allah, I had never known it before. But after this man continued to insist upon having me, I saw a dream; I saw Hellfire, and my place in it was shown to me. I became terrified and panic-stricken.
Maalik – the custodian of the Hellfire – said to me: ‘Do not be afraid or sad, for Allah has ransomed (i.e., saved) you with this man (i.e., he will take the place in Hellfire that you would have taken had not Allah saved you).’ He then took me by the hand and admitted me into Paradise. Seeing a line written inside of it, I read it; among what was written were these Words:
“Allah blots out what He wills and confirms (what He wills). And with Him is the Mother of the Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfooz).”[13:39]
He then recited the Al-Ikhlas Chapter to me, and I began to repeat it. Then I woke up and had it (the Al-Ikhlas Chapter) memorized.”
Al-Hasan then said, “The woman then embraced Islam, and the man whose corpse you just saw being dragged away was killed for having apostatized.
And I ask Allah to make us firm and steadfast upon guidance and to grant us safety and success.”
[Taken from: Glimpses From The Lives Of Righteous People | Pages 53-55 | Compiled by: Majdi Muhammad Ash-Shahawi | Darussalam]