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Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Justice of the King of Persia

By Khusthar Jamal

It is related in a story that in the times of old, a king by name, Sultan Malik Shah Seljuki ruled the Kingdom of Persia. One day, he set out on a hunt along with his soldiers on the banks of a river. After a long journey, the king decided to rest for a while before continuing on the hunt. He got down form his horse and pitched camp on a green meadow, under a tree, which grew on the banks of the river.

One of the servants of Sultan Malik Shah who was the chief of all his bodyguards decided to get the Sultan some food as they rested under the tree. He went to the nearby village seeking food, and unable to find any, seized a large goat that was grazing on the riverbank. He ordered his companion to slaughter it and roast its flesh.

Now, the goat belonged to an old man whose only means of food was the milk that he got from the goat. When he became aware of the incident, he rushed towards the bridge where the Sultan and his retinue had to pass, in order to continue on with their journey. He waited eagerly until the magnificent decked horse of the Sultan, accompanied by his soldiers arrived in front of him. Running forward, he caught the reins of the Sultan’s horse. The chief of the Sultan’s bodyguard flourished his whip in order to strike at him for this disrespectful act. The Sultan said, “Leave him, for he appears to be an oppressed man and a helpless creature. Let me see what his grievance is.” He then turned and faced the old man, and asked him what he had to say.

The old man said, “O Sultan! If you do not give me redress at the entrance of this bridge, I swear by the Glory of Allah, the Almighty God that I will not let the hand of my resentment quit your royal robes at the entrance of the Sirat Bridge, until I get justice from you. Think well; which of the two bridges will you choose before you will grant me to put right the injustice that was done to me?”

The Sultan was struck with terror on hearing those words, and said, “Take care, my friend! I even as the Sultan do not have the strength to face that bridge! Who has oppressed you?” The old man replied, “O Sultan, the same person who had just flourished his whip to strike at me in your presence, has slaughtered and roasted the only goat that I had in my possession, from whose milk, I used to sustain myself for my daily food.”

Malik Shah immediately turned to his chief of bodyguard to find out the truth. When he admitted his guilt, Malik Shah ordered him to be punished with the same whip, which he held in his hand. He ordered his other soldiers to go into the nearby villages and purchase 70 goats and present them to the old man in compensation for the goat he had lost.

After some time, the old man heard the news that Sultan Malik Shah had died. He journeyed to the city the same night and made his way to his grave where he was buried, and spreading a prayer-mat besides the grave, and raising his hands in supplication prayed to God, with tears flowing out of his eyes, “O Allah, this slave of Yours who lies buried in this earth, helped me on one occasion when I was in distress. Now, it is possible that he may be in trouble, please help him out of Your Mercy! I was helpless like him on the day when I sought justice from him. He took compassion on me and relieved me of my distress in a handsome manner. At this moment, he himself is helpless and is in need of Your Compassion. You are the Lord of the worlds. Please help him out and take pity on him!”

On that night, one of the servants of the Sultan saw him in a dream. The servant asked the Sultan how Allah, the Almighty had treated him. The Sultan replied in the dream, “If the prayer of the old man had not come to my help, then I would not have escaped the Wrath of Allah and his Punishment! The justice, which I had got for him, and the blessings of his prayers, opened the door of Allah’s Mercy on me!”

Moral of the story: Grant redress to the oppressed and fulfill the desires of the disappointed so that Allah may show compassion on you and shower you with His Mercy in the Hereafter!

The King and the Cow

It is said in a story that once King Salim of Turkey, while hunting along with his soldiers strayed far away from the group. The air in the countryside grew warmer and he soon felt thirsty. He began to look in every direction in search of shade and a spring of water. At a distance, he could make out a house, so he drove his horse in that direction. He saw that it was a roadside inn built in the middle of a deserted road. When he came near the inn, he saw an old woman sitting with her daughter. When the King reached the inn, the old woman ran out of the building to welcome her guest. She brought some food for him to eat. After the king ate from the food, and drank the cool water provided for him, he felt drowsy, and soon slept.

After waking up from his sleep, he noticed the sun setting behind the clouds. It was very late for him to return back to his palace so he decided to stay in the inn for the night.

As soon as he finished his evening prayer, he noticed a cow had come to the inn after grazing from the nearby meadow, and after tying it to the fence of the inn, the old woman’s daughter started milking the cow. The King was surprised at the huge quantity of milk that was obtained from the cow. He said to himself, “These people reside in the village side with the object that no person may become acquainted with their secret of growing up their cows. They get quite a lot of milk from a single cow. If they give it to the King, once in a week, surely they would not suffer in poverty, and the Royal Treasury can be filled with additional taxes from the proceeds that are got by selling the milk.”

He decided on the intention of taxing his subjects who lived in the countryside on the milk that was produced by their cows. He retired for the night on a bed provided by the old woman for him to sleep.

The next day morning, the young daughter milked the cow again. Soon, she raised a cry and ran to her mother, saying, “O my mother, take yourself immediately to prayer, for it appears to me that our king has just made an intention of oppressing his people.”

The King listened to the girl astonished, and asked her, “How did you know that?”

She replied, “I have been milking this cow for many years now, and it yields plenty of milk, but today, I find that she has given out only a small quantity. It is said by our wise people that whenever a king makes an evil intention, Allah, the Almighty, puts an end to the prosperity of his kingdom.” The King said, “You speak the truth.” He removed the intention of taxing the villagers for their milk from his mind and said to the girl, “Go again, and try to milk the cow.”

The girl obeyed, and then rose to milk the cow for a second time, and this time, she found the cow yielded a large quantity of milk. She ran again to her mother and announced to her about the good news. “Perhaps,” she said, “Our King must have given up on the evil intention of oppressing his subjects. The cow is yielding the same quantity of milk as before.”

Moral of the story: A country ruled by a good ruler who has the welfare of his subjects in his mind, brings the country more prosperity, Allah, the Almighty blesses such a land with health, wealth and prosperity of its people.


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