It was narrated that in the days that Musa (peace be upon him) wandered with Bani Israel in the desert, an intense drought befell them. Together, they raised their hands towards the heavens praying for the blessed rain to come. Then, to the astonishment of Musa and all those watching, the few scattered clouds that were in the sky vanished, the heat poured down, and the drought intensified.

It was revealed to Musa that there was a sinner amongst the tribe of Bani Israel who had disobeyed Allah for more than 40 years of his life. “Let him separate himself from the congregation,” Allah told Musa. “Only then shall I shower you all with rain.”

Musa (peace be upon him) called out to the throngs of humanity, “There is a person amongst us who has disobeyed Allah for 40 years. Let him separate himself from the congregation and only then shall we be rescued from the drought.”

That man waited, looking left and right, hoping that someone else would step forward, but no one did. Sweat poured forth from his brow and he knew that he was the one. The man knew that if he stayed amongst the congregation all would die of thirst and that if he stepped forward he would be humiliated for all eternity.

He raised his hands with a sincerity he had never known before, with humility he had never tasted, and as tears poured down on both cheeks he said, “O Allah, have mercy on me! O Allah, hide my sins! O Allah, forgive me!”

As Musa (peace be upon him) and the people of Bani Israel waited for the sinner to step forward, the clouds hugged the sky and the rain poured. Musa asked Allah, “O Allah, you blessed us with rain even though the sinner did not come forward.”

And Allah replied, “O Musa, it is for the repentance of that very person that I blessed all of Bani Israel with water.”

Musa (peace be upon him), wanting to know who this blessed man was, asked, “Show him to me O Allah!”

Allah replied, “O Musa, I hid his sins for 40 years, do you think that after his repentance I shall expose him?”

– Muhammad Al-Shareef is director of Al-Maghrib Institute in Canada