Malik bin Dinar narrates his story in the following way: “I was a policeman and very fond of drinking. I led a care-free life. I bought a beautiful slave girl whom I loved dearly. I had a daughter from her, a lovely child. When my daughter began to walk, I loved her all the more and she remained with me all the time. The innocent child had a strange habit. When she saw a glass of wine in my hands, she would snatch it and spill it on my clothes. Being fond of her, I never scolded her. As fate would have it, my child died when she was two years old and I was shocked and sorely grieved.
“One the night of 15th of Shaaban, I was drunk and went to sleep without performing Isha prayers. I had a horrible dream. I saw myself among those bring driven to the assembly of people on the Day of Resurrection. I heard a noise and felt something following me. When I looked back, I saw a huge snake chasing me. Ah! It was a horrible sight; the snake had blue catlike eyes, its mouth was wide open and it was rushing toward me furiously! I ran faster in terror, desperate for my life, the horrible snake still running after me and drawing closer.
“I saw an old man, dressed in elegant clothes with rich perfumes wafting all around his person, I greeted him saying, “Assallam-o-Alaikum” and he returned my greetings. I said, “For the sake of Allah, help me in my misery”. He said “I am too weak to help you against such a mighty foe; it is beyond my powers. But you must go on running; perhaps you may find some help”. Running wildly I saw a cliff in front of me and climbed it, but on reaching its top, I saw, beyond it, the raging fire of hell. Meanwhile, I heard a voice calling aloud, “Get back, for, you are not one of them (the dwellers of hell).
“I turned and began to run in the opposite direction. The snake also turned around and came after me. I saw again the old man in white robes and said, “Old man, can’t you save me from this python.” The man began to cry and said, “I am too weak to help you against such a mighty snake, but I can tell you that there is a hill nearby where they keep the ‘sacred trusts’ of the Muslims. If you go up that hill, you might find something of yours, kept in trust, which might save you from the snake.” I rushed toward the hill, which was round in shape, with a large number of open curtailed casements. The casements had golden shutters studded with rich rubies, and most precious jewels; on each shutter hung a curtain made of the rarest silk.
“When I was going to climb the hill, the angels called aloud, “Open the windows and raise the curtains and come out of your closets! Here is an unfortunate man in misery; may be you have with you some ‘trust’ of his, that might help him in his distress.” The windows opened at once, the curtains went up, and there issued forth from the casements a host of innocent children, with faces bright as the full moon. By this time I was utterly despondent, for the snake had drawn very close to me. Now the children called their friends, “Come out quickly, all of you, for the snake has come very close to him.”
Hearing this, more children came out of their windows, in large crowds, and among them I saw my own dear daughter who had died some time ago. She also espied me and began to weep, exclaiming, “By Allah! He is my own dear father.” She jumped on a swinging cradle, which seemed to be made from heavenly light (Noor) and darted across to me. Next moment, she was standing by my side and I took her to my bosom; she lifted her left hand towards me and with her right hand motioned the snake away.
The snake went away immediately. Then she gave me a seat and sat in my lap and began to stroke my beard with her right hand saying, “My dear father, ‘Has not the time come for the believers (who indulge in sins) that their hearts should submit in all humility to the remembrance of Allah and to the truth which is revealed’ (Al-Hadeed:16)”. I was moved to tears and asked her, “My daughter, do all of you know the meanings of the Qur’an? She replied “We understand the Holy Quran even better than you.”
I asked her “My dear child, what was this snake?” She said “It was your own evil deeds which had made it so strong that it was about to push you into Jahannam”. I asked “And who was that white-robed old man?” She replied “That were your good deeds and you had made them so weak with your scanty good deeds that he could not help you against the snake (though he suggested to you a means of escape.)”
I asked “What are all of you doing on this hill?” She replied “We are children of Muslims, who died in infancy. We shall live here till the Day of Resurrection, waiting to be reunited with you when you come to us at last and we shall intercede for you with our Lord”. And then I awoke from the dream, with the fright (of the snake) still heavy on my heart. I turned to Allah in repentance, as soon as I arose; and abandoned all my evil ways.