What is the reference for this incident?
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “A monk worshipped Allah in his hermitage for sixty years. Then a woman came and laid down at his side, so he laid down with her and was intimate (in adultery) with her for six nights. He became regretful and he fled. He arrived at a masjid and sought refuge in it and remained inside for three days without eating anything. He was given a loaf of bread, so he broke it into two halves and gave half to the man on his right and half to the man on his left. Allah sent to him the angel of death to take hold of his soul. The angel placed his deeds of sixty years upon one side of the scale and the sin [of zina] was placed the other side, yet the six nights outweighed it. Then, the loaf of bread was placed on the scale and it outweighed the six nights.”
Imam Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah and Imam Bayhaqi (rahimahumallah) have recorded this incident.
Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) states that the narrators are all reliable.
(Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 9906, Shu’abul Iman, 3213)
Shaykh ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah) explains, ‘This incident should be quoted when encouraging people to give sadaqah. It should not be quoted as a rule, that giving some bread in charity will expiate a major sin. We should also keep in mind that Allah Ta’ala is the King of all kings, He can forgive whomsoever He wishes to forgive and punish whomsoever He wishes to punish.
(Footnotes on Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 9906. Also see: Targhib, vol. 2 pg. 23-24)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar