The Prince and the Handmaid
September 8, 2008 § Leave a comment
Ramadan kerim everyone! Yesterday, I was talking to a family member on the phone and they were continuously saying inshaAllah, inshaAllah; God willing, to almost everything we spoke about. Overtime our conversation came to a close, but when I got off the phone the phrase, inshaAllah played over and over again in my mind. And it reminded me of a story from Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s masnavi.
A prince, while engaged on a hunting excursion, espied a fair maiden, and by promises of gold induced her to accompany him. After a time she fell sick, and the prince had her tended by divers physicians. As, however, they all omitted to say, “God willing, we will cure her,” their treatment was of no avail. So the prince offered prayer, and in answer thereto a physician was sent from heaven. He at once condemned his predecessors’ view of the case, and by a very skillful diagnosis, discovered that the real cause of the maiden’s illness was her love for a certain goldsmith of Samarkand. In accordance with the physician’s advice, the prince sent to Samarcand and fetched the goldsmith, and married him to the lovesick maiden, and for six months the pair lived together in the utmost harmony and happiness. At the end of that period the physician, by divine command, gave the goldsmith a poisonous draught, which caused his strength and beauty to decay, and he then lost favour with the maiden, and she was reunited to the king. This Divine command was precisely similar to God’s command to Abraham to slay his son Ismail, and to the act of the Angel in slaying the servant of Moses, and is therefore beyond human criticism. (Rumi, Masnavi i Ma’navi, tr. EH Whitfield)