It was said to Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah): ”O Shaikhul Islaam! In what prison are you in, and in what paradise am I In?”
Al-Allaama Al-Manaawiy (rahimahullaah) said that it was mentioned that when Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) was the leader of the judges, he once went past a market with a great procession and a beautiful appearance; so a Yahoodi who was selling hot oil-whose clothes were stained with oil and he was in an extremely miserable and ugly state-grabbed the bridle of his female mule and said: ”O Shaikhul Islaam! You claim that your Prophet said: ‘The worldly life is the prison of the believer and the paradise of the disbeliever’, so in what prison are you in, and in what paradise am I? So he [Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah)] said: In relation to what Allaah has prepared for me of bliss in the afterlife (i.e. for me and other believers In-Shaa-Allaah), then it is as if I am in a prison. And in relation to what Allaah has prepared for you of painful punishment in the afterlife (i.e. for you and other disbelievers), then it is as if you are in paradise (at present). So the Yahoodi accepted Islaam (i.e. he became a Muslim).
[Source: يض القدير شرح الجامع الصغير جـ3 ص [page: 730]
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