Once Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) was travelling to some place. On his way, he arrived at some town, at midnight. He was travelling all alone so he decided to have some rest at that place and continue forward in the morning. To spend the night, he decided to take shelter in a masjid. So, he went inside the masjid and began to rest; soon, some guard came and asked him to vacate the ‘House of God’. The guard didn’t know whom he was addressing though Imam was a greatly revered scholar at that time but since there was no technological outburst as of today, so mostly people knew great men only by their name and not by their face.
Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra), politely replied to him that he was only seeking refuge for the night and that this was a masjid. The guard didn’t budge, so, Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) went out of the masjid and decided to sleep at the doorway. This irked the guard and he dragged the imam onto the road. Across the street, there was a baker who was getting the dough ready for the next morning, while doing so he was watching all that was happening on the other side. He saw this person being dragged, and because of Imam’s humbleness and his character while dealing with the disrespect and also because Imam appeared to be a man of knowledge, the baker invited this old person into his shop and allowed him to take some rest there.
While preparing the dough, this baker was continuously reciting Astagfirullah. Imam noticed this, and asked this baker if he has experienced some barakah out of this continuous Istagfaar. The baker replied that all of his duas have been granted to him because of the barakah of Istagfaar except one! Imam curiously asked which one? Baker replied that he had made a dua to meet the scholar of the time Hazrat Imam Hambal (ra) and so far that dua hasn’t been granted to him.
Hearing this, Imam understood the Allah’s plan of making him leave for an impromptu visit without anyone to accompany him, arriving in the town past midnight, being dragged out of the ‘House of God’ and being invited into the ‘House of baker’ just to answer that Baker’s dua of meeting the Imam!