There was once a king who had a doorkeeper whom he would always keep close to himself. As for the doorkeeper, he would give the king this advice, “O king! Treat with goodness those who are good to you, and ignore those who show you ill-treatment, as their evil will itself suffice you (in dealing with them).”
It so happened that there was a person who harboured jealousy for the doorkeeper on account of his special position and proximity with the king. Hence, he went to the king and said to him, “O king! The doorkeeper is telling people that you have a foul breath!” The king asked him, “How do I know that what you are saying is correct?” The man replied, “When he comes to you, then call him close to speak to him. When you do so, (you will find that) he will cover his nose.”
Thereafter, the man went to the doorkeeper and invited him for a meal. However, when preparing the meal, he placed an excessive amount of garlic in the gravy.
The following day, when the doorkeeper entered into the king’s presence and the king called him close to speak to him, the doorkeeper placed his hand over his face! The king said to him, “Move back.” The king then called for an ink pot, wrote a message, sealed it with his stamp, and handed it to the doorkeeper saying, “Take this to so-and-so.”
As the doorkeeper proceeded with the message, he encountered the person who was plotting against him. Seeing that he held a paper in his hand, he asked him, “What is this?” The doorkeeper replied, “The king gave it to me.” The man thought that it must be a message instructing for the doorkeeper to be given some money, and since the doorkeeper would receive one hundred thousand as his stipend, the man asked the doorkeeper to give the paper to him. The doorkeeper obliged and made it over to the man.
The man thus took the message to the man specified by the king and gave it to him. As soon as the man opened the letter and read it, he called for the executioners! Seeing the executioners, the man who had plotted began to plead shouting, “Fear Allah, O people! I am the victim of a mistake that has occurred! Refer back to the king and ask him!” However, they answered, “It is not possible for us to refer back to the king!”
As far as the letter of the king was concerned, it contained the following message, “When the person bearing this letter comes to you then slaughter him, skin him, stuff the skin with straw and send the stuffed skin to me!” Hence, they did as instructed and sent the stuffed skin to the king.
When the king received the stuffed skin (of the man who had made the accusation, and not the doorkeeper,) he got an absolute surprise! He thus summoned the doorkeeper saying, “Come here! Tell me what transpired, and ensure that you tell me the truth! When I called you close to speak to you, then why did you cover your nose?”
The doorkeeper replied, “O king! This person had invited me for a meal, and he fed me a dish in which he placed an excessive amount of garlic. When you called me close to speak to me, I feared that you would be inconvenienced by the odour of the garlic (in my breath).”
Hearing this, the king realized that the accusation was actually a sinister plot of jealousy against his faithful doorkeeper. He thus apologized to him, gave him gifts and said to him, “Return to your post, and continue to give me the advice which you used to give me.”
(Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 2, pg. 122)
1. Among the great sunnahs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is the sunnah of keeping a clean heart and not harbouring hatred or malice for any person. Hence, even if a person ill-treats us, we should not retaliate, but should rather turn to Allah Ta‘ala in du‘aa as He will suffice us. By adopting patience in this way, we will be rewarded by Allah Ta‘ala, and He will either cause the issue to be resolved (e.g. the person will repent and reconcile), or alternatively, He will punish the wrongdoer, whether in this world or the next. Either way, justice will eventually be served to the oppressor.
2. We should never plot against others and hatch schemes against them. One day, these schemes will catch up with us. When this happens, it may ruin and destroy us entirely, leaving us no chance to make amends or even recover.
3. We must never be so gullible and naïve as to believe what anyone and everyone tells us – especially when the information negatively implicates another person. If it concerns us, we must conduct thorough investigations before jumping to any conclusion.
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