During his old age, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (ra) was travelling, when he stopped by a town.
After Isha salah, he wanted to stay the night, in the Masjid. Owing to his humility, he hadn't introduced himself to anyone, thinking that if he did, he would be welcomed by many people.
Failing to recognize him the caretaker of the Masjid, refused to let him stay the night in there.
A baker, whose shop was nearby, watched this scene and took pity on Imam Ahmed (ra) . And invited the Imam, to stay with him for the night.
Imam Ahmed (ra) watched as the baker mixed and kneaded the dough, tended the fire and pulled hot loaves from the oven, all the while uttering zikr of Allah and Istighfar.
In the morning, Imam Ahmed (ra) eagerly asked his host, about his zikr and continual seeking of forgiveness.
The baker said, "It has come like second nature to me"
Imam Ahmad (ra) then asked "Have you experienced any reward from this practice?"
The baker answered, "By Allah! No dua I made, except that it was answered, but one."
Ibn Hanbal (ra) asked "What is that unanswered prayer?"
The baker responded, "To see the famous Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal."
At this, tears came to Ibn Hanbal's (ra) eyes; he told the baker, "I am Ahmed ibn Hanbal! By Allah! I was brought to your place, your dua has been answered and has come true!"
Source: Tafsir Al Qurtubi.
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