The following is extracted from the work of Shahid Murtadha Mutahhari, the anecdote of Ahl al bayt.
It was an hour before sunset. The caravan was in the middle of a desolate wilderness. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) urged everyone to collect sticks to light a fire. The people murmured apologetically that there was no sign of any tree, bush or shrub in sight. It seemed impossible to find any dried twigs. However, he (s.a.w)insisted, ‘Everyone should get as many as he can find.’
The companions moved in different directions, searching for twigs. Even if they spied the smallest twig, they picked it up. Soon, they all returned with whatever they could find and deposited it in a pile. To everyone’s amazement, they had gathered a pile of sticks sufficient to light a fire that would last them the whole night.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) looked at the pile and said. ‘Our small and insignificant sins are, just like these little twigs, barely noticeable, when scattered over a lifetime, but, just as you gathered them to make this huge pile, there is someone keeping an account of your little sins, too. One day you will be shown your sins piled together, and realize, too late, that what seemed insignificantly small to you then, had actually become increasingly burdensome.’