Sunday, 17 October 2010

Story of a Slave Girl

 Once upon a time, Hadrat Malik b. Dinar (mercy be upon him) was walking in the streets of Basra. On the way, he happened to see a female servant walking with such pomp and show as the maidservants of kings generally do. Hadrat Malik (mercy be upon him) after witnessing the manner in which she walked, called her and said:

 ''Oh handmaid! Would your master like to sell you?'' She was surprised to hear his voice. She said ''What? Repeat it again.'' Hadrat Malik did accordingly. She said to him:

''Would a beggar like you, be able to purchase me if master agrees to sell at all?'' He replied in the affirmative and added that he could purchase a better one than she. On hearing this reply she laughed and ordered her servants to take this beggar along with them (just for making fun of him). The servants obeyed her orders accordingly.

 On reaching home she narrated all this story to her master, who too laughed boisterously and ordered to bring him (Hadrat Malik) before him. When he was brought before him, he (the master) was invested with fear and asked him: ''What do you want?'' In reply, he advised him to sell his handmaiden to him. He asked him: ''Can you pay her price?'' Hadrat Malik replied:

 ''For me, her price is not more than two stones of dates.''

 On hearing this the whole audience began to laugh. The master asked him: ''What prompted you to fix this price for her?'' He replied that there were many shortcomings in her. The master asked him to let him know these shortcomings. Hadrat Malik enumerated them thus:

''Incase she applies not perfume, her body emits a foul smell.
If she cleanses not her teeth, these begin to putrefy.
If  she combs not her hair, the dishevelled and untidy hair are infested with lice.
She on becoming a bit old, would bear the appearance of an old woman not worthy to be loved.
She menstruates.
She makes water and relieves herself. In other words she emits all sorts of filths (spittle, mucus, saliva)
She suffers from agonies and hardships.
She being much greedy, shows her love to you merely for her self interests.
she shows her love to you only for her material benefits.
Today, if any loss is incurred by her because of you, the whole edifice of her love will within no time, be crumbled down.
She is absolutely faithless and fulfills not her promise.
Her love is based on falsehood. As soon as you breathe your last, she will sit by the side of another person and sing the song of her permanent and everlasting love for him, in the same way as she did for you.''

 ''On the contrary,'' said Hadrat Malik (mercy be upon him). ''I have a handmaid a thousand times better than your handmaid. Her price is much less than hers.''

''She is made out of camphor's essence
She has been fashioned out of musk and saffron.
She is covered by pearls and light.
If her spittle is caste in saltish water, it will become sweet.
Incase she speaks to a dead man, he will be restored life.
If her wrist is shown to the sun, it will suffer darkness and eclipse.
If she visits a place of darkness, it will begin to illuminate.
If she happens to appear in the world with all her elegance, the whole world will become fragrant.
She is brought up in the gardens of musk and saffron.
She has played amidst the branches of ruby and coral (a small pearl).
Her abode is a place of great blessings.
She drinks water from Tasnim (a fountain in Paradide).
She never backs out to her words.
Her love is constant.''

 Hadrat Malik (mercy be upon him) then asked the master to let him know what handmaid is, according to price, more beneficial to him. All said unanimously that the handmaid had been more valuable about whom Hadrat Malik (mercy be upon him) had told them. He added:

''Everyone can afford to buy her at any time and in every age.''

The people asked Hadrat Malik to tell them her price. He told them:

''If they want to purchase such an important and valuable thing, they will have to spare some time at night and observe two raka's of Tahajjud prayer in order to seek the pleasure of the Almighty God;
 They shall have to invite some poor and the needy to meals at the time of eating;
 They shall have to give preference to Allah's pleasure to their own wishes;
 They shall have to remove away any troublesome thing lying in the way;
 They shall have to lead simple lives and they will have to be more anxious for the eternal abode than this mortal world.''

 Then Hadrat Malik (mercy be upon him) told them that if they could act upon this advice, they would lead an honourable life and would be blessed with honour and veneration in the Hereafter and would abide in the paradise (a place of great blessings) under the shadow of Almighty God.

 After that the master asked the maid-servant whether she had listened to the advice of the venerable old man. If so, what was her opinion. She told that the preachings of the venerable old man were true and were calculated to promote good and virtue. The master set the maid-servant free and gave her a portion of his property as a gift. He also set his slaves free and bestowed upon them some property. He donated his house and all its belongings for the welfare of the poor. After casting off his elegant dress giving it too the poor, he covered his body with a thick cloth of  a door's curtain. The maid-servant told her master that she could not live without him. After sacrificing her elegant dress and her property for the welfare of the poor, she also accompanied her master.
 Malik b. Dinar (mercy of Allah be upon him) prayed for them and departed.

 Both of them bade farewell to the worldly pleasures and dedicated themselves to the divine worship and died in that very state.
(May Allah bless them and all of us)

From the book 'The Spectacle of Death' including Glimpses of life Beyond the Grave
by Khawaja Mohammad Islam