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What is the story of Barsees?

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In a Nutshell: The story of Barsees is a cautionary tale that illustrates the dangers of succumbing to temptation and the importance of maintaining faith in Allah (عز وجل) at all times. The story takes place among the Bani Israa’eel (The Children of Israel) and centers around a man named Barsees who was known for his devotion and worship.

The story of Barsees is a well-known tale from the Islamic tradition that highlights the importance of devotion, worship, and compassion in the pursuit of righteousness. The story takes place many years before the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Prophet Isa (peace be upon him) among the Bani Isra’eel (The Children of Israel). It centers around a man named Barsees who was an extremely devout person known for his asceticism, worship, and prostration to Allah (عز وجل).

Barsees was known as the zaahid (ascetic), the ‘aabid (worshipper), and the saajid (prostrator) among the Bani Israa’eel. He had a small temple or monastery for himself, where he would live, worship, and remember his Lord. He was said to be the greatest worshipper of Allah in the world.

Barsees had a regular routine of fasting and praying for forty days, and then resting for one day. He would then again pray and fast for forty days and rest on that one day. He had been worshipping Allah for over 60 years nonstop, and for all of these long years, the cunning Shayaateen (devils, satans) were unable to misguide or tempt him.

Iblees (لعنه الله), the leader of the Shayaateen, was unable to overpower Barsees. Therefore, he gathered his soldiers of shayaateen and the evil Jinns for a meeting. He asked them, "Which one of you can take care of this worshipper? For 60 long years, we have been unable to misguide him!" None of the satans came forward, then one Satan walked forward. He was known as ash-Shaytaan al-Abyad (the White Devil) and it was his job to go and bother the Prophets/Messengers of Allah.

The White Devil told Iblees, “Barsees is mine.” And Iblees told him to go. In the town of Barsees, there were 4 young men from the youths of Bani Israel. The brothers had a young sister who was extremely beautiful. They were called to go for Jihad in the way of Allah, and they were worried about leaving their sister behind.

The brothers sat down and began to think, “What are we going to do with our sister; she is a youth and is very beautiful, and we will be away from her for days, for weeks, or even months.” One of them said: “There is no one whom we can trust with our sister except for Barsees, for he is the most righteous of mankind. He worships Allah the most.” And so the other brothers agreed to this idea. They all went to the temple of Barsees and asked him: “Could you please keep our sister with you, until we return from fighting in the way of Allah?”

Barsees immediately refused and said: “I seek Allah’s refuge. I am a person who is busy with worship, and I simply cannot keep you sister with me!” The 4 brothers kept on asking and asking and asking. They said: “Soon we will have to go for Jihaad – to fight the enemies of Allah. So please, be a helper for us. Help us by taking care of her – because we simply cannot entrust our sister with anyone from this town but you.” Barsees, seeing their desperate situation, agreed with one condition. He said: “She cannot stay with me. Make for her a tent [a place where she will stay] and put a wall in front of it, with a door. So I will place food for her at the doorstep, and I will guard her from far away.”

The story begins with Barsees being beaten and crucified by his own people for lying to them. The brothers tied him and crucified him and tied him to a tree, and agreed to kill him the next day at noon while all the people of the city were present and witnessing.

That night, the White Shaytaan, who had been appointed by Iblees to misguide Barsees, came in his true form before Barsees, who was injured and in pain. Shaytaan offered to save him, but at a price.

Shaytaan asked Barsees to do one sajdah (prostration) to him, and in his state of sorrow, anxiety, remorse, and desperation, Barsees agreed. He did one sajdah to Shaytaan with his head, thinking he would be saved.

However, as soon as Barsees humbled himself to Shaytaan, Shaytaan laughed and shouted in joy, "Barsees disbelieved in Allah! Barsees disbelieved in Allah! Barsees disbelieved in Allah! Hooray!" Barsees cried out for help, but Shaytaan smiled and said, "I have nothing to do with you," and disappeared.

The next morning, Barsees was executed in front of the whole community for his crimes, and he died in a state of kufr (disbelief). This incident serves as a reminder of the dangers of succumbing to temptation and the importance of maintaining faith in Allah at all times.

Conclusion

This story of Barsees highlights the importance of devotion and worship in the pursuit of righteousness, as well as the dangers of temptation and the importance of compassion towards others. It also illustrates the power of Iblees and the Shayaateen, and the importance of seeking refuge in Allah and being cautious of their deceits.

The story of Barsees is a reminder to reflect and learn from his story, and to be aware of the deceits of Iblees who is always trying to misguide us. He is truly deprived the one who has not learned from the story of Barsees.

References

This story is mentioned in various Tafsir of the Quran and Hadith of the Prophet (saw).


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