أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 (A story from Islamic history…)
standing, he looked down the cliff at the village that lay calm & quiet in the tranquil moonlet night.he mounted his white horse & strode slowly down the cliff through the sleeping village.
he could see the changes that had occurred to it. though it wasnt exactly what it was since twenty four years but he could still tell where the house would lay. & he reached it successfully. he looked at the house & the neighbourhood & found everything has changed but not the house. it still lay there with its red stones but old & much worn out. he breathed deeply & holding his sword in his hand, he opened the door.
the squeaking of the door broke the silence of the night & he moved through the dark doorway. Suddenly he  felt a very hard blow on his chest which was followed by oaths & curses & several other blows everywhere on his body. As soon as he realized what was going on, he started fighting back.
“how dare you?”
Between the fight, he could answer, “how dare i what? you have envaded my house!”
though he was old & aged, he could fight well. the other man seemed very young in early twenties but he was strong too. they fought like two bulls, one pounding at the other. at last, the young man could throw him out of the house but he persisted & got up to fight again until several arms got hold of him. he came to realise that the street was full of people who probably had been awakened by their noise.
“get out of my house, now?”
He shouted at the young man who was also held by other people to prevent the fight.
“what are you talking about?! You are the one who had busted at this hour of night into my house like a barbarrian with a sword.”
“this is my house & my property”
“what property are you talking about?i have been here all my life & this house had always been mine… & stop changing the subject… nothing gives you the right to enter my house without permission. Don’t you even think that there might be woman in there?”
He cursed & freed himself from the men holding him & flew at the other hitting him hard on the head. & they started fighting again.
They fought feircely while the people around shouted & cried at  them to stop. But neither of the two did. Then some one called loudly, “the governor is here… make a way for him.”
Suddenly silence filled the place & the fight broke but each held the other man from the collar.
An old, graceful  man emerged from the crowd & stood staring at the two.
“sir! He has busted into my house at this time of night, with a sword in his hand.”
The governor frowned & looked at the older man who said panting,”this  is my house & I have the right to enter it whenever  I wish to.”
The governor’s frown deepened. “your house?”
The governor breathed deeply & said calmly, “Rabiatarrai! Let go of the old man. & you old man let go of him too & lets talk this thing out.”
“but  sir!”
The two men let go of eachother & moved away staring angrily. Each hating the other. Rabiatarrai, the younger of the two, said fiercely, “he has invaded my house without knocking at the door at such a late hour & with a sword in his hand & claims now that this is his house”
“yes this is my house.”the old man said boldly & continued, “I have lived here since I was born & I left it long ago but this is still my house & my property & nothing gives you the right to occupy it”
The governor said calmly, “but where is the proof for what you claim. Here every one knows that this house is this guy’s property & it had been his father’s before he died.”
The old man said impatiently, “I am Farokh… Farokh from the tribe of Tamim.” as if this explained every thing.
When he saw the unmoved faces before him, he opened his mouth to explain. But before he could utter a word, they heard a woman from inside the house crying, “Rabiatarrai! My son! This is your father.”
Thick silence filled the place. The sound of the woman sobbing cracked the silence, “ Farokh! This is our son you left me with, before you left for the war.”
Farokh looked at the young man before him barely visible in the moonlight.
The governor called the woman, “lady! Are you sure that this is Farokh, your  husband?”
“yes, I can see him from the window.”
An old man from the crowd  came closer & looked into Farokh’s face. Then he cried out throwing his arms round him & hugging  him heartily, “ Farokh! My friend! Oh here you are. We thought you were killed. Thanks God you are safe & sound.”
Slowly & gradually Farokh recognised his old friend & he hugged him back.
The governor asked Rabiatarrai to let his father into the house & so he did.
When he was in the house, Farokh could see through the feeble light of the lamp, his old wife. She came to him weeping & hugged him with tears & kisses.
“they told me you were dead. Thanks God you are fine. Oh God you have changed. Farokh, my dear!you must be tired. Come sit here. tell me, where were you all this time? I was told that after you went to the war, you were murdered… God forgive me, I believed them. Well, I had to, they told me some people saw your body… oh no, of course it wasn’t  yours. They must have made a mistake… a horrible mistake…”
She was  shivering & breathing unsteadily between her tears. He put his arms round her & calmed her down.
“I am fine. I am very fine except for the blows I received from your son.”
He smiled feebly & looked at the young man leaning against the wall & staring at them. The mother, Ruqaiia, realised her son’s presence for the first time since they had entered & said, “son! you can’t stand there like that. Come greet your father.”
He stared at them for afew seconds & then moved closer, took his father’s hand & kissed its back saying, “thanks God you are safe, father. & sorry for the fight…”
Farokh smiled & Rabiatarrai returned to his previous position staring at them blank faced.
Ruqaiia said enthusiastically, “Farokh! Don’t you remember the day you left me for the war when I was pregnant. This is our son for whom you promised to come back… thanks God you did…”
Farokh could tolerate it no longer. He stood up suddenly & strode the room towards his son, took  him in his arms & they hugged each other compassionatly. They could hear Ruqaiia sobbing behind them. When the three sat down, Farokh held his wife’s hands & said, “you don’t need to cry any more”
“God knows how much I missed you since you left & how many tears I shed”
“I know… now, no more tears.”
She wiped off her tears & said, “are you not going to tell me where have you been all these years?”
He smiled at her lovingly, “of course I am.” He breathed deeply & said, “twenty four years ago, I was in the war… we fought well but they overtook us & I was wounded badly so I couldn’t fight any more & couldn’t back off either so they got hold of me & I remained their prisoner since then.”
“since then? Oh God! Such a long time! I heard you were…”
“I know!rumours spread very fast or they might have mistaken me for someone else.”
“yes I can see that”, she said slowly.
“you were tough.” this time it was Rabiatarrai  who spoke. Farokh smiled heartily, “you mean when we fought afew moments ago? huh?”
Rabiatarrai nodded. Ruqaiia chided her son, “of course he is tough. your father is a first class warrior.”
Farokh laughed & said,”was! not any more Ruqaiia. it has been a long time.”
Ruqaiia’s tears gushed out, “i had always dreamt you would be back.”
he smiled at her,”& i am back.”
they heard the azan being said in the village mosque. Rabiatarrai stood up & said, “i am going to the mosque..”
“& so am i”, his father said & they gazed at eachother for a long moment. There his father was infront of him, Rabiatarrai thought, the man his mother had told stories about. stories that had made him wish he was alive. this man he was proud of. About whom people told him was a great warrior & a very God-fearing Muslim. how much had he wished he had his father by his side! & now there he was before him at an arm’s length.
“yes”, he nodded & they moved together to the door.
Farokh & his son prayed side by side in the mosque & after prayers, he met several old friends who greeted him heartily.
After prayers Farokh thought he needed to go home to have some rest.
sitting on her chair, she smiled at herself  & thought about her husband who has come back after she had utterly lost all hopes to see him again. there he is now in the mosque with their son who she always had dreamt & wished hopelessly that he would see his father. Now God has united father & son & that was the most exhilarating moment of her life. though he had turned frazzled, Farokh still had that aura of strength & courage about him.how much had he endured in these years! Twenty four years is a long time… very long indeed. “pour soul!”, a hot tear fell down her cheeks which she wiped. “Rabiatarrai would be proud of his father more than ever after he had seen him.’ she smiled & remembered how he said that his father was tough.
‘but will Farokh bep roud of his son? will he be glad at the way she had brought their son up?’ she hoped he would & remembered the time when he was leaving for the war. how much she tried to keep her tears back & how much she tried to smile & encourage him but as soon as he gave her a farewell hug, she collapsed in his arms & cried hard. she still remembered when he gave her that bag of gold coins & asked her to promise him that she would take care of their child & the money. he then, went away & in a few months, she gave birth to their son. she worked & earned her living by sewing & as soon as Rabiatarrai was at the age of learning, she sent him to the village mosque to learn Quran, Sunnah & literature. she wanted him not just a Muslim but a scholar. a man of religion & learning. she started to spend the money her husband gave her on his education. she used to give his teachers extra fees to make them take care of him & teach him the best they could. she even sent him to other far away cities to learn more until he became, at twenty four, an eminent scholar to whom people of even older age would come for advice & inquiry. now her son was, after all her efforts, a great scholar of whom all the village was proud. but will Farokh be contented with what she did? she wished he would. she had tried her level best & had spent all the twenty four years caring about nothing but her son.& this was the result she got. she smiled gladly but soon her smile faded. what will she say to Farokh if he asked her about the money? He had given her four thousand gold coins & now she is left up with nothing. it’s true that twenty four years were a long time but four thousand gold coins is a far large sum of money that would be enough for a century.& she had spent them in mere twenty four years. Even if she told him that she spent them on his learning, he wouldnt think that four thousand gold coins were needed for mere learning. she thought anxiously about a way that would make him realise that she hadnt been exravagant in spending the money. because actually, she had invested the money in something very pious which is educating her son.
suddenly she heard the door opening. she held her breath & waited until her husband came in smiling. she smiled back & helped him take off his coat. he yawned, held her hands & sat her beside him,”how are you my dear?”
“thanks to Allah! i have been waiting for you.”
“i had to greet several old friends”
“i know! should i make you a cup of tea & breakfast?”
“no, no need. i just want to have some sleep”
“yes, you need rest”
“but not before hearing you tell me how you managed your life affairs when i was gone”
she smiled & remembered anxiously her last thought, “we were fine” she said “Allah was always with us though we wished you around”
“i had always been sure Allah wouldnt desert you”
“he hadn’t. we never needed any thing except your presence… & now you can see how well our son grew up”
“thanks to Allah… what does he do?”
“he has a shop in the neighbourhood & he deals in leather goods”
“this trade is very profitable”
“yes, quite so! & he is very good in his work. very wise…”
“i am glad to hear that…”
“& what about the money i left you? it must have helped you until Rabiatarrai started working. i was very anxious though i left you a large sum but i was always concerned & worried about you.”
“you didnt have to be anxious. we dwelt quite well.”
“thanks God”
he smiled quite contented & then asked, “where is what remained from the money?”
her heart missed a beat
“i… i invested it in a very profitable buisness”
he lifted his brows & asked curiously, “what buisness?!”
she tapped his hands & said with an effort to smile, “i will tell you later now have some sleep.”
he smiled back & yawned asking her to bring him a blanket. only then she breathed with relief.
After sunrise, Farokh went to the mosque again to meet his friends. when he entered the mosque, he could see the mosque properly, as the sun had let its light tell the change that had occured since the last twenty four years. it had grown vast, airy & beautifully built. he smiled happily & looked at a large group pf people at one corner encircling a man sitting crosslegged with his head bent down probably reading from the book before him, Farokh thought. but when he drew closer, he could hear the man reciting a few ahadith & verses & explaining them very beautifully & aptly. his interest grew & he decided to sit & listen. he was greatly impressed by what the man was relating & by the very correct explanation the man was giving about the verses & he seemed very young.
Farokh was impressed. He asked a man sitting next to him, “who is this man?”
“you mean the imam?”
the man was surprised, “you dont know him!!”
“sorry but i had not been in the village for a long time.”
the man smiled, “he is Rabiatarrai bin Farokh”
Farokh’s heart pounded, “you mean the one from Tamim?” he asked.
“yes! he is very popular. i was therefore surprised that you hadnt recognised him by face.”
“No, it was dark when we first met.”Farokh said quite to himself.
“nothing” & he got up leaving the mosque to his house.
when he entered the house, he called, “Ruqaiia!”
Ruqaiia came running with fear in her heart that he might have discovered the truth. when she looked at his face her heart leapt.
“Anything wrong?” she tried to seem normal but her sound shook. He was panting too.
he sat on the chair nearby & said slowly,
“our son is a scholar”
“& a very eminent one”
“i heard him delivering a lecture”
she nodded.
he continued, “he did very well”
she didnt move.
he breathed deeply “i dont know how to thank you…”
he looked into her eyes, “you promised to take care of our child but i never half expected he would turn out to be a scholar & a great one…”
“i tried my best”, she said, her voice hoarse.
he got up & took her hand, “you are the best woman i have ever known”
Tears flooded her eyes, she said with shaken words”i spent all the money you left us on his education.”
His eyes widened, she continued, “i told you i sewed to earn our living, i did. but i spent all the gold you left us on his learning.”
she was scared about his retaliation so she continued without looking at him, “i know it was a huge amount but you have to lose something to gain what is more worthy.”
he shook his head, ” no! no! dont give me excuses… you dont have to… i dont want the money… money is nothing when you have  a son like him…”
Holding her from the arms, he said, “you..are..the best..woman..on earth”
& he took her in his arms.

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