In our society, crying denotes the very opposite of masculinity. We find throughout our history, however, that tears readily fell from the eyes of Muslim men. Tears spring only from men who have soft hearts and it was because of this that the Prophet (saws) made the famous du’a: “I seek refuge in You from eyes that do not shed tears.”
A Muslim man cries out of fear of Allah (swt). He cries when he remembers his state in front of his Lord and what he has prepared. The following is an anecdote from our history of a great man who shed tears when he was reminded of meeting his Lord.
A man once came to Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and asked him; “O Imam, what is your opinion on poetry?” He replied; “Which poetry is this?” The man responded by reciting the following lines:
إذا ما قال لي ربي اما استحييت تعصيني
If my Lord asks me, “Have you (any) shyness in disobeying me?
وتخفي الذنب عن خلقي وبالعصيان تأتيني
You conceal your sins from my creation – and with sins you come to me.”
فكيف أجيبُ يا ويحي ومن ذا سوف يحميني؟
So how will I answer? O woe to me – and who shall protect me?
أسُلي النفس بالآمالِ من حينٍ الى حيني
I keep averting my soul with thoughts of hope – from time to time.
وأنسى ما وراءُ الموت ماذا بعد تكفيني
And I forget what is to come after death – and what is to come after I am shrouded.
كأني قد ضّمنتُ العيش ليس الموت يأتيني
As if I am guaranteed life (eternally) – and that death will not come to me.
وجائت سكرة الموتُ الشديدة من سيحميني
And when the severe stupor of death overtakes me – who will protect me?
نظرتُ الى الوُجوهِ أليـس منُهم من سيفدينـــي
I looked at the faces; is there not from amongst them who will ransom me?
سأسأل ما الذي قدمت في دنياي ينجيني
I will be asked regarding what I have prepared in my life to save me (on the Day of Judgement).
فكيف إجابتي من بعد ما فرطت في ديني
Then how will I answer – after I have neglected my religion.
ويا ويحي ألــــم أسمع كلام الله يدعوني
Woe to me! Did I not hear the Speech of Allāh inviting me?
ألــــم أسمع لما قد جاء في قاف ويسِ
Did I not hear what came in (the chapters of) Qāf and Yā-Sīn?
ألـــم أسمع بيوم الحشر يوم الجمع و الديني
Did I not hear about the Day of Gathering, the Day of Assemble and the Day of Judgement?
ألـــم أسمع مُنادي الموت يدعوني يناديني
Did I not hear the crier of death inviting me, calling me?
فيا ربــــاه عبدُ تــائبُ من ذا سيؤويني
So O my Lord, a slave (turning to you) I have repented – so who then shall shelter me?
سوى رب غفور واسعُ للحقِ يهديني
Except a Lord extensive in forgiveness – to the truth He will guide me.
أتيتُ إليكَ فارحمني وثقــّـل في موازيني
I have come to you (in repentance) – so have mercy on me, and make heavy my scales (with good deeds).
وخفَفَ في جزائي أنتَ أرجـى من يجازيني
And lighten my account – You are the best of who will bring me to account.
Imam Ahmad took these lines and repeated them over and over again, and wept profusely to such an extent that one his students said that he almost perished due to him crying so much.
(Talbis Iblis of Ibn al-Jawzi)