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Books Section > The Golden Deeds of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Yakub Khan > The Manliest of Kings


The Manliest of Kings:
by Muhammad Yakub Khan
Taken from: The Golden Deeds of Islam


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The Isha prayer was over. Everyone came out of the great mosque of Madinah. Among them there was one whose clothes were simple, but whose face proclaimed him to be a man far above the commoners. This man was the King of the Muslims. 

A little later, as he was accustomed to doing, this king left his bed, and at the dead of night visited a village a good few miles away from the town. Here he came across a family that was still up, at this late hour of the night. The mother had kindled a fire by her tent and around the fire were squatted her three dear little ones on the ground. The children were crying their tiny hearts out. And the kettle on the fire showed that the mother was doing some cooking for them.

"What makes these children cry?" asked the stranger tenderly, as he approached the fire.

"Pray, mind your own business. Worry not an unfortunate woman with questions!" replied the gloomy mother.

"Take me for your brother, madam," reassured the stranger, "and do tell me what the matter is with these children. I feel you are in trouble and I must help you."

"For the last two days," said the mother with a sob, "I have not had a morsel to put into these hungry mouths. They cling to me crying for food. I have nothing to give. So far I have been putting them off. Now it has become unbearable. Yet I have no food to give them. The kettle on the fire contains nothing but water. This is just to console them. They think I am cooking something for them. But alas, it is only a short-lived consolation. In a little while they will find it out and disappointment this time may break their little hearts."

"Poor little things!" exclaimed the stranger with tears in his eyes, as he rose to his feet. "Worry no more! Be of good cheer! I shall be back with food." And with a parting kiss to each one of the children he left the family.

It was past midnight and as the King was coming home to fetch provisions for the family in distress, his heart trembled with the fear of God. "God has appointed me to look after the welfare of my people," he said to himself. "Woe unto me if in the kingdom of Islam there should be a single soul suffering from starvation. In the eyes of God, the responsibility is mine. In Islam the King is there not to wear a crown and roll in plenty. He is there to bear the burden of his people. He must feel for his people and work for his people. In fact, Islam is another name for service of fellow-man and no Muslim is a Muslim who does not live up to that ideal. But a Muslim King is doubly accountable for any omission of this Islamic duty."

Thus musing within himself, the King arrived home speedily and collected a quantity of flour, butter, sugar and dates. This made quite a heavy load and the place it had to go to was a very long way off. One of his men offered to carry the load for him. "Will you carry my load for me on the Day of Judgement?" came the sharp reply. "As a King, it is my duty to look to the well-being of my subjects and it is, therefore, for me to carry this load." And cheerfully he shoved the load on his own kingly back and carried it all those miles to the starving mother and children.

As the King sat down by the fireside and the children helped themselves to the dates and the bread that the mother had soon cooked for them, his face beamed with the delight of seeing misery relieved. "My bread is sweet," shouted the boy. "But my dates are sweeter," retorted his sister.

 As they merrily frolicked about, the King's heart was filled with joy that no kingly crown could give. He had done his duty and would face God with a clean conscience. As to the mother, she was overwhelmed with emotion. "You ought to be the king instead of Umar," she said, her eyes bursting with tears of gratitude, little knowing that this unknown visitor was none other than the great Caliph Umar, himself.

The next day, a stipend was duly allotted to the widow and the orphans out of the public treasury.

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Books Section > The Golden Deeds of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Yakub Khan > The Manliest of Kings

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