Once when Ali Bin Abu Talib and Al-Hussain Bin Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) were walking together they heard a man making du’a to Allah. The man was begging Allah to forgive him for his evil deeds. His sincere tone and eloquent words aroused the interest of Ali. He told his son, “Do you not hear the man who is so very penitent because of his sins? Go catch up with him and call him.”

When Al-Hussain caught up with the man, he saw that he was clean-looking, clean-smelling, with nice clothes and altogether handsome, except that he seemed to be paralyzed on the right side of his body. Al-Hussain said, “Answer the summon of Amir Al-Mu’mineen, Ali Bin Abu Talib.”

Dragging his right side, the man followed Al-Hussain back to where Ali was waiting for them.

“Who are you!” asked Ali.

“A man who did not fulfill the rights of others and is now being punished for that,” replied the man.

“And what is your name?” asked Ali. “Munaazil Bin Laahiq,” said the man.

“What is your story?” asked Ali.

The man said, “I was famous among the Arabs for my frivolous and sinful exploits. Merciful and kind, my father would constantly admonish me and advise me to mend my ways. He would remind me of Allah’s punishment, saying, ‘My son, do not go against He who punishes with the Hell-fire!’ When he would persist in advising me, I felt his voice grating on my nerves. I would get so frustrated that I would beat him with harsh blows. In response to my blows, he one day said, ‘By Allah, I will fast without breaking my fast and I will pray without stopping to sleep.’

“He fasted for an entire week, but seeing no change in my behavior, he climbed a camel and set off to perform Haj. His parting words were, ‘I am going to the House of Allah, and there I will seek help from Allah against you.’ When he reached Makkah, he grasped the curtain of the Ka’ba and made du’a against me, asking Allah to make me paralyzed on one side of my body. By the One who raised the sky and sends down the rain, no sooner did my father finish his du’a that I became paralyzed on my right side, which became like a piece of wood. Anyone who would then pass by me would point to me and say, ‘Allah answered his father’s supplication against him.’”

“What did your father do then?” asked Ali.

“O Amir Al-Mu’mineen, after he became pleased with me, I asked him to go back and invoke Allah on my behalf. He agreed to do so. I walked alongside him as he rode on his camel, until we reached a place called the Valley of Arak. When we reached there, a group of birds flew away from a tree, their sudden movement frightened the camel. As the camel raced off in a state of fright, my father fell off it and died.”

It was certainly late for the man, but not too late, and so Ali advised him to continue to make du’a and to repent for his past misdeeds. Ali then parted from the man, but before leaving him, he taught him the du’a that a person in distress should say. (The narration does not specifically mention which du’a Ali taught the man.)

 – an excerpt from the Stories of Repentance