the Message Continues ... 10/18

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A Story Fom Rumi's Book "Fables of Rumi"
Translated by Madhia Ali/ Edited by Nasir Shamsi

The Editor's note:
To better appreciate and enjoy this story, read its first part (  Wisdom of Luqman ) posted as Article# 10/16 in the November Issue (16)

....Thus the fondness and liking of Luqman was further enhanced in his chief 's eyes. His good qualities were known to him. He had observed that this servant of his is free from all greed and envy; his heart was clean and he spoke nothing but the truth. Outwardly he was Luqman's chief, but in reality he thought him to be his Superior. He was so endeared by Luqman that when the other servants brought food for him he always offered it to Luqman so that he would eat it first; the chief ate then the left-over with pleasure. At times, when Luqman did not eat, the chief did not either.

    One-day the chief's friend sent from his farm a colorful melon as a gift to the chief. The chief said to one of his servants, "Go, call my son, Luqman." Obeying his command, Luqman came and sat respectfully in front of him . The chief cut a piece of melon with a knife and offered it to Luqman. He ate this piece with great enjoyment. The chief gave him the second piece; that too Luqman ate with pleasure. Then he gave him the third and the fourth piece. Thus h went on until the seventeenth piece and Luqman ate every piece with joy. at the ened when there was only one piece left, the ruler said, "I feel I will relish this last piece; it really must be very sweet, since you ate all seventeen pieces so tastefully."

    Luqman tried that he could get the last piece too. The chief refused and put it in his own mouth. The moment he did it, his mouth  became bitter to the throat.  He spitted it out and rinsed his mouth several times with water. But the bad taste still remained. Looking at Luqman in amazement, he exclaimed: " Oh my beloved son, I can't believe that you ate this horrible melon, without letting your face even show that the apparent color and good looks could only be a deception. And oh! Could there be patience like yours ?
Is it not weird that you didn't even attempt an excuse to save yourself from such a bitter melon. You could have given me some indication that it was not good and you be excused. "

    Luqman very respectfully answered, " Oh my Lord, what can I say. I feel ashamed of saying anything. I have eaten so much at your most generous hands that I cannot even raise my head, due to embarrassment. I had eaten those bitter pieces thinking that since I had always enjoyed so many kinds of delicious and tasteful things from your generous hands, then what a shame, if I  make fuss over just one bitter-tasting melon and show my ingratitude. The truth (my Lord) is that your sweet hands had taken all bitterness from the melon, then why would I pollute my tongue, by  complaining ?"  

A Note by Nasir Shamsi, the Editor:
Rumi through this mystical story leads the reader to the moral lesson that we must remain in eternal gratitude of our Master, the Almighty Allah swt. He gave us the gift of life and, with it, innumerable and myriad blessings. Come to think of it, could we even breathe another breath, without His permission ? So when we are tested with some pain or affliction or hardship, we must, instead of complaining or protesting or showing ingratitude, turn to Him in all humility, to earn His Pleasure ( Reza) and His Grace (fadh'l). Remember, for every thing there is a reason. Allah knows it best. A Believer with true faith in Him faces every affliction with patience and gratitude. According to a Tradition of the Prophet (s), for any pain, even though it is as little as pricking of foot by a thorn, Allah rewards a person by forgiving his sins.
When asked how does He do it? The Noble Prophet (s) replied: when a believer goes through an affliction, his sins start fallimng out of his nama-i aamal, like the falling of leaves from a tree in the autumn.

The Fables of Rumi, a book of stories from Jalal uddin Rumi are in the process of being translated into English. We'll continue to post these stories in the Al-huda online magazine.  





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