Monday, August 5, 2013

Message of Eid - The Caliph and the New Clothes

The little boy came running to his mother crying with a request.
"Jarir and Mughiz have both got new clothes for Eid. Can I have some
new clothes as well?" The mother picked him up and wiped his tears.

Their mother, Fatima bint Abdul Malik(RA), was no ordinary woman. Her
father, grandfather and each of her four brothers were at one time or
another Caliph and leader of the Muslim Ummah. In fact, her own
husband was the present Caliph, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz(RA) – who ruled
the world's largest empire that stretched from the Atlantic to the
Indian oceans. She promised him that she would check with his father
to see if he could have new clothes for Eid.

When Umar ibn Abdul Aziz returned home, his wife related her sons
request to him. The Caliph had a pained look in his eyes. "Fatima, you
know how much I value my children, but all the money I have is in
front of you", he said motioning towards the sparsely furnished hut.

Though a Caliph, Umar took care to live honestly and did much to
ensure justice. Fatima agreed with her husband, but she said that
maybe it would be possible to buy very cheap clothes for him and he
would just be happy with something new to wear. The tears have left
satins on his cheeks. Finally, the Caliph, saddened by the plight,
agreed and wrote a letter to his treasurer requesting that his pay be
advanced a month early so that he could buy his child something to
wear on Eid.

But the honest and pious Caliph had an equally honest treasurer who
wrote a letter in reply to the Caliph. The Caliph read the letter with
tears flowing from his eyes: "Amir Ul-Mumineen, I have great respect
for you and I trust and obey you completely. However, if you could
guarantee to me that you will live through the next month and do your
service to the people (which will entitle you to your pay) then the
money can be advanced to you. If you cannot give the assurance of your
life, then how can the treasury pay you and why are you taking the
rights of the poor,orphans and widows onto your shoulders?"

Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz realised his mistake. Fatima bint Abdul
Malik, washed the old clothes. The day of Eid arrived and the whole
area of Damascus was buzzing with joy and celebration with people clad
in their new attires. Caliph Umar ibn Abdul Aziz also set out for the
Eid Prayer holding the hand of his son, both father and son wearing
their clean old clothing. The young boy's face shone brightly, as he
walked alongside his father, convinced that the eternal pleasure and
comforts of Jannah(Paradise) are by far superior to the comforts of
this temporary world.

One has to wonder if they were made from the same dust as us. Once we
(Muslims) were kings on this Earth, but it wasn't because we were
large in number that we were respected. It wasn't because we were
powerful that we were victorious. It wasn't because we were successful
that we were admired. It wasn't because our women were beautiful that
they were treated with honour and dignity. It wasn't because we were
intelligent that our example was emulated. It was all due to the faith
of Islam. Sometimes, it's worthwhile reflecting on how far we've
fallen so we know how high we need to climb.