To be sure, every single One of us is a sinner. But what distinguishes some from others is that some people feel no remorse for past sins, while other feel a great deal of remorse. The latter group repents and continually strives to improve while the former group sits back self-complacently, going through the motions of life without appreciating the significance of their actions.

For a sincere person, sin is painful; its pain lingers in his heart for many years, very often until the day he dies. An example of such person is the noble Companion, Sa'id bin Amir.

During the caliphate of Umar bin al-Khattab, Sa'eed bin 'Amir was the governor of Hims, a city in ash-Shaam. When Umar visited Hims to see how things were going there, he was met by a large group of people who began to complain to him about Sa'eed.

They found fault with him in four matters. First, they said, he would not come out to them until mid-morning. Second, he would refuse to answer any caller during the night. Third, once a month, he would stay away from the people. And fourth, once in a while, Sa'eed would faint and lose consciousness for no apparent reason.

The Leader of the Believers asked Sa'eed to respond to their complaints.

In regard to the first complaint, Sa'eed explained that he had no servant and that, every morning, he had to crush his own wheat in order to make bread. As soon as he would finish making his bread, he said, he would then go out to serve the people.

As for not answering any callers during the night, he said that he dedicated his days to serving the people and his nights to worshipping Allah.

As for not going out to the people once a month, he explained that he had only one garment and that he washed it once a month and had to then wait until it dried.

As for passing out every so often, Sa'id gave this explanation:

"When I was a polythiest, I witnessed the brutal execution of Habib al-Ansaari in Makkah. I saw how Quraish cut up his flesh little by little. They said to Habib, 'Do you now want Muhammad to take your place?' He said, 'By Allah, I would not want to be safe with myself, my family and my children if Muhammad were even to be pricked by a thorn.' Every time I remember that day and how I refrained from helping Habib- for I was a polythiest and did not believe in Allah, the All-Mighty- I begin to think that Allah, the Posessor of Might and Majesty, will never forgive me. It is then that I faint, O Leader of the Believers."