I believe everyone should be aware of this story; there is no greater example of how the worst deeds can start with the best of intentions. I pray none of us ends up like Barsisa.
Who is Barsisa?
Barsisa was a great worshipper from the time of Banu Israeel. He was an extremely pious man; a monk…what you will call today a sheikh. The whole community knew Barsisa as a great scholar, he had his own temple and he would worship Allah day and night.
There were three brothers who wanted to go for jihad, but they had a sister. If they went for Jihad who would look after her? They asked around and everyone suggested Barsisa. He is a great abid (worshipper), he fears Allah, he’s of high esteem; who better than Barsisa to look after your sister?
They went to meet Barsisa…here is where the trick of shaytan starts. They said to him “Barsisa, we want to go for Jihad and we are wondering if you can look after our sister?” Barsisa immediately says “a’udhu billahi mina shaytani rajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from Satan), no.” He said this because he was scared of falling into sin knowing the potential fitnah it may cause. The 3 brothers were disappointed, so they left.
Then shaytan comes to Barsisa, not literally in a form of a man but he made waswasa; the whispers mentioned in the quran that shaytan makes in the ears and chest of men. He tells Barsisa “brother what are you doing? These men they want to go for jihad…they are going for something good. They are going for the sake of Allah, Barsisa if you do not look after her who is? You are the most noble Barsisa, you are the most pious man. If they leave her with someone else, what do you think will happen?” So Barsisa says maybe I should look after her for the sake of Allah and help these brothers. Just look at the trick of shaytan. When Shaytan knocks on your door, he does not want you to open it fully. All he wants is just a little peep…a little who is it? A little crack and he slips in.
So Barsisa calls the brothers back and says listen, for the sake of Allah I will look after your sister but she will not stay with me. Barsisa was a genuine man that feared Allah, he said she will stay in the house I have at the back of my temple and I will stay here. The brothers were pleased and had no problem with the arrangement; so they agreed and went for Jihad.
Barsisa would cook some food for the sister and place it outside his door. She would then have to come out of her house, pick up the food and return. That was how much he feared Allah but what happened? Remember he already opened the door for shaytan; if you put yourself in a situation where sinning is a possibility, there’s no way shaytan will leave you and not try and get you to commit that very sin. The only way he won’t persist is if you remove yourself from that situation. So the food arrangement went on for a while between the two of them and shaytan has plenty time on his hands. Shaytan is like take your time brother, take your time. Eventually Shaytan comes to Barsisa and he says “Barsisa don’t you know that when you put the food outside, she has to leave her house and walk all the way to pick up the food? This is a fitnah, people can see her. I think you should put the food on her doorsteps.” These are thoughts going on in his head. Barsisa cooks her food, leaves it on her doorstep, knocks on her door and returns to his house.
After some time, Shaytan comes to Barsisa and says “Barsisa she still has to open her door, put the food inside the house.” So this happened for some time and her brothers took very long. Now shaytan comes to Barsisa and says “Barsisa you know its been a long time. This woman has no one to talk to…no friends, nobody to socialise with, maybe you should talk to her and keep her company. Otherwise she will go outside and Allahu A’lam (Allah knows best) cause fitnah outside. Brother it’s for the sake of Allah.” So Barsisa goes to her house and he still fears Allah very much, so he talks to her from outside the door. It was a struggle because she could not hear him properly; so Barsisa would have to shout and raise his voice in order to be heard.
After some time shaytan comes back to him and says “Barsisa, why are you embarassing yourself? You’re screaming and shouting, go inside the house and talk to her there.” I ask has Barsisa done anything wrong up to this moment? No, everything he has done he did with clean intentions. He was genuinely concerned about her not having someone to talk to, he had no dirty thoughts lingering anywhere. So after some time he starts to speak to her inside the house. What was a little conversation started becoming longer. After talking he now wants to see, after seeing he now started to touch. After touching, the great Barsisa committed zina (fornication) with her. How many of us, maybe we have not committed zina but we fell in the same footsteps of Barsisa?
The sister falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy. Shaytan comes to Barsisa and says “Brother…bro…if the brothers come back and sees this young boy (and you are the one responsible for looking after her), how will you explain the boy?” Now Barsisa is worried. What will he do? Shaytan says “Barsisa you have to kill the boy and get rid of the evidence”. So Barsisa kills the boy. What do we have now? Zina and murder.
After some time, Shaytan comes back and says “Barsisa, do you really think she is going to keep quiet about what happened? Do you really think she’s not going to tell her brothers what went down?” Barsisa starts thinking what do I do? Shaytan says “kill her too”. Zina and double murder, by this time he has also stopped praying as much.
The brothers come back and they ask Barsisa where is our sister? He says to them “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (to Allah we belong and to him we shall return). Your sister she became very ill and Allah took her life.” Barsisa is a great abid (worshipper), he does not lie so the brothers had no choice but to believe him. They asked him where she was and he took them to a fake grave, and said this is where she is. They made some dua for her and went away.
The next morning, one of the brothers said you know I had a very interesting dream last night. The other brothers said I had an interesting one too, what did you see? The brother said I saw in my dream that our sister was not sick, rather she fell pregnant. She had a boy and both of them were murdered. I also saw that she was not buried where Barsisa showed us but somewhere else. The other brothers said “ajeeb (strange) I had the same dream”. They agreed the three of us cannot be wrong so they went to the grave they had seen in their dream, they dug the grave and found their sister and the baby there.
They went back to Barsisa and said Barsisa you lied to us. This is what took place and now we are taking you to the ruler. On the way Barsisa is thinking to himself, how did I get into this mess? Zina, double murder . . . I’m going to be executed. So when the brothers brought him to the ruler, Shaytan comes to Barsisa in the form of a man. Shaytan says “Barsisa do you know who I am?” Barsisa says no. He says “Barsisa I am Shaytan and I am the one who caused you all these mess and I am also the one that can get you out of it. Barsisa I can get you out but I have a lifeline for you.” Barsisa says anything, get me out of this. Shaytan says ” Barsisa make sajda (prostration) to me and I will get you out.” So Barsisa makes sajda to him; confirming his disbelief in Allah. Shaytan says “I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!” and he left. Barsisa was shortly after crucified and killed.
Allah said in suratul al harsh ‘(The hypocrites are) like the example of Satan when he says to man, “Disbelieve.” But when he disbelieves, he says, Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the Worlds.’ (59:16)
How incredibly consistent is Barsisa’s story with that verse in the Quran? Alhamdulilah for the gift of the Quran because Allah has exposed Shaytan, making it very clear to us who and what he is.
What was the last action in Barsisa’s life? Shirk and kufr to the highest level. Shaytan will never make you sin directly. I tell you a decent person with some level of iman (faith) will not sin directly when instructed by anyone (be it friends, family or shaytan). Shaytan will always try to trick us using waswasah and he is more patient than any of us, so we should always seek refuge in Allah from shaytan.
Never think you have enough knowledge or that you’re strong enough to take Shaytan down. If you think you are righteous and nothing can happen or cause you to commit an evil act or loose faith, I ask you to think again. Barsisa is an example of a man that is fit to think that. He feared and worshipped Allah day and night. Barsisa was that good imam. Barsisa was that good sheikh. Barsisa was that good pastor. Barsisa was that person we never thought was capable of doing such an evil act.
Had shaytan visited Barsisa at the beginning in the form of that same man and said make sujood (prostration) to me, Barsisa would have said no straight away. Shaytan knew this, so he made a plan and Barsisa fell for it. Shaytan never goes for the straight kill. He takes you apart slowly, limb by limb; he is truly the devil.
I seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan and an ill fate.
I’d like to say something important, having knowledge and acting upon that knowledge are two very different things. You can have people preach to you about certain things, but they themselves don’t follow it; your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your teacher…whoever. Just because we know certain things or the truth doesn’t mean we are off the hook and Allah won’t test us with it. Barsisa knew zina (fornication/adultery) was a sin but when the time came for him to act upon his knowledge, he did not. Barsisa knew killing someone was a sin but when the time came for him to act upon that knowledge he failed twice over.
The truth is Allah knows what we are from the beginning. He tests us to reveal to ourselves and to others what our true nature is. People can sometimes find a way to convince others that they are something they are not, Allah knows what they are all along. If Barsisa was a real honest man like people thought, he would not have told the lie that the sister fell sick and passed away. A honest man will always speak the truth no matter how much it’s against him. If Barsisa was a real pious man (although at the beginning he felt nothing for her), the moment he started feeling those sexual desires, he should have taken for the hills and stopped all unnecessary communication. Tell me would you call a person pious in the absence of temptation or in the face of one? You never know what you are (or capable of) until you are tested. I’ll give a quick example to explain this.
Something quite interesting happened to my mum when she was younger. She was chased by an aggressive dog and the terrifying moment caused her body to release adrenaline; a substance that gives you more energy. In the middle of her flight she was faced with a fence that blocked her path. The only way out of that situation was to magically grow long legs and jump over the fence or turn back. Turning back was not an option but believe it or not she scaled that fence like an olympian.
In a normal situation she would have turned back and accepted that there was no way forward. It shocked her that she was able to do it but how could she have known that she was capable except that some situation (outside the norm) would arise and show her that she was in fact capable all along. If the truth is she’s incapable of jumping that fence like many people, then my mum would not have been able to jump it. My point is you don’t always know who you are or what you are capable of. We sometimes get tested to prove and affirm that we are what we think we are or not. Barsisa was not a pious and great man everyone thought. If he was, he would have held himself accountable by owning up to his mistake, repented and sought Allah’s forgiveness and faced whatever punishment he earned for sleeping and getting the sister pregnant or even better did what I said earlier by fleeing the moment he started feeling those sexual desires.
I pray we find the strength to make the right decisions in whatever difficult situation we find ourselves in.
Have a great week and see you in my next post In Sha Allah ^.^