290-dawn
This blog is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read part 1 here.

In the morning, the custodians of faith came to the man who had argued that lack of religious knowledge does not prevent a person from loving God.

The man was known as the lover among his admirers for his non-traditional and passionate methods of expressing his love for God. The custodians showed him a rope and a sack. “Come with us or we will tie you up and carry you out in this bag,” said one of them.

“I have no problem going with you but what do you want to do with me?” asked the lover.

“We want to kill you because you blasphemed,” said another.

The lover smiled and said: “In this room, you are my guests. So, sit down while I get your breakfast and then we will go.”

Before they could stop him, he said loudly: “Guests are a blessing of God.”

Within seconds, two helpers of the innkeeper came in and said: “The innkeeper’s friend is the friend of the entire inn” and withdrew. They came back soon, holding trays that had all that most people eat at breakfast.

“We did not ask for it but it is bad manners to turn down a sincere offer,” one custodian said to the other and all started eating.

One of the trays had a small plate which only had a piece of bread and a glass of water. This was for the lover. “Today I am here; tomorrow I may be somewhere else. That’s why I only eat what I can get everywhere,” he said and started nibbling the bread.

When he finished his bread, the lover said to the custodians: “In this place, they also offer dry fruits and coffee after the breakfast. So while you enjoy the innkeeper’s hospitality, let me tell you another story.”

And the story he told this time was that of a king and some of his subjects who lived in total darkness. The only light they had in their lives came from the lightning bolts. The thunder struck fear in their hearts but it showed them the way too. With each bolt, they moved a few steps but stopped when the lighting ceased.

The king felt sorry for them and decided to help them find their way. So he gave them a large and bright jewel and said: “This should be enough for you and your coming generations. Go, use it wisely.”

He also advised them to share the light with others, saying: “The more you share, the brighter it will grow. And it is precious enough to enrich all of you. So do not be miserly. Share it with all. It is a wealth that grows with sharing.”

The king’s subjects agreed to do as advised but changed their minds when they saw the jewel outside the king’s court.

“This jewel can make all of us very rich. We should not show it to others yet,” said one of them. Others agreed.

“Let’s go to the richest jeweller in the kingdom and sell the jewel to him,” said another. “This would bring enough money for each of us to buy lands, build large homes, get thoroughbred horses and slaves and all other luxuries that we have always desired.”

All liked the idea but one of them cautioned others. “We cannot sell this jewel. It is from the royal treasury. We will be arrested right away.”

“So what shall we do?” asked another.

“Let us not be like the robbers who poisoned each other because they did not want to share their loot. Remember, they all died,” one of them warned the others.

They agreed and asked him to suggest a plan. “Let us split it,” he said.

“But how?” asked one. “We do not have the tools to cut a jewel.”

“Well, we can break it into pieces,” said the one who had suggested that they split the jewel.

Then he selected a sharp, pointed stone and said: “I know how to do this, I am a stone breaker.”

He hit the jewel carefully and split it into two. Everybody clapped.

“We can take these two pieces to the jeweller,” said one, “nobody will recognise these as king’s.”

Now greed had taken charge of their sense. They were no more willing to trust each other. So they decided to break it into more pieces.

“That way, each of us can take his share and go home,” said the stone breaker.

But when he tried to split those two into four pieces, they broke into six.

Another man took the stone from him and tried to split those six into 12 pieces. But they split into 20 pieces.

Another took the stone and tried his skill.

By the time they finished, all that remained of the jewel were tiny pieces that had no light or value. They were condemned to live in perpetual darkness.

The custodians had already finished their breakfast, so they stopped the man.

“This was no story. It was a direct attack on us,” one of them said to the lover. “Now stop your silly stories and come with us so that we can punish you.”

The lover smiled and said: “I have many sympathisers here. You cannot force me. But I will come with you because if you try to harm me here, it will start a dispute that will never end.”

And he went out with the custodians.

They took him to a tree and tried to hang him. But he came out of the rope.

“See, this is what happens when you eat so little,” one custodian said angrily. “Your neck is so thin that it does not fit in the knot.”

The lover smiled as they tied him to the tree.

“I am a trained archer. Just one shot at your heart and you will be dead. No pain,” said a custodian.

The lover smiled as the arrow missed its target. The archer tried again and missed. They all tried but nobody succeeded. “This is magic,” said one custodian, “and a magician must be burned.”

They piled dried leaves and wood around the lover and set the pile on fire.

The fire and the smoke disturbed the birds nesting in the tree. They started flying about as did the bats.

The smoke reached the nearby mountain too and caused rain which put out the fire.

The lover freed himself and said: “Those you killed before were my masters. They died to save their slaves. So you cannot kill me as I cannot kill you.

“We represent two forces, one that brings the rain of mercy and the other that causes birds to leave their nests. Let people decide which force they wish to follow.”

And the lover walked away from them.

 


The author is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC.

 

 


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Updated Mar 23, 2013 11:48am

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Comments (17) (Closed)


Arpit
Mar 23, 2013 08:55am
beautiful story.. let us all be mad in this love
ashar
Mar 23, 2013 09:23am
A very good and inspiring fiction for all the ignorant who only watch movies and read newspapers, hence know nothing about the love of Allah SWT and the blessings associated with it.
Akram
Mar 23, 2013 10:16am
an excellent article, it should be published in the urdu press.
Parvez
Mar 23, 2013 12:19pm
There is a limit to being cryptic.
AHA
Mar 23, 2013 01:24pm
Allah is the ultimate knowledge. Seeking knowledge is seeking Allah. Newspapers are definitely good. And even some movies are good. Memorizing tests is definitely not.
Mahfooz Ahmad
Mar 23, 2013 03:38pm
I also hold the opinion that it must be translated and published in Urdu news paper , it is no doubt a beautifl article.
dynsus
Mar 23, 2013 04:35pm
j That’s what Plato an ancient Greek philosopher and mystic born in 428 BC said, in his allegory of the Cave. Plato suggested that a philosophic realization is possible and can help to lead people away from an unenlightened, into an enlightened, state: “Now then, I proceeded to say, go on to compare our natural condition, so far as education and ignorance are concerned, to the state of things like the following. Imagine a number of men living in an underground chamber, with an entrance open to the light, extending along the entire length of the chamber, in which they have been confined, from their childhood, with their legs and necks so shackled, that they are obliged to sit still and look straight forwards, because their chains render it impossible for them to turn their heads round: and imagine a bright fire burning some way off, above and behind them, and an elevated roadway passing between the fire and the prisoners, with a low wall built along it, like the screens which conjurors put up in front of their audience, and above which they exhibit their wonders”.
pathanoo
Mar 23, 2013 04:42pm
Deep from within a good soul.
asad durrani
Mar 23, 2013 05:40pm
Beautiful story congratulatuions to the author for subtle meanings .
riz
Mar 23, 2013 08:00pm
very very well written. Please write more of the sort.
Haseeb
Mar 23, 2013 08:53pm
Fantastic fiction.
Cyrus Howell
Mar 23, 2013 08:53pm
The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan have already decided where they stand. People don't change.
whatever
Mar 23, 2013 09:07pm
Dawn and its secular thinking people . duh you people think that you are modern.
whatever
Mar 23, 2013 09:08pm
i agree 100%
Almanaar
Mar 24, 2013 09:17am
It is a very good metaphorical article but Mr. Parvez your comment was antagonistically funny.
AHA
Mar 24, 2013 03:36pm
Have been hearing the line of reasoning that you are presenting for the last 50 years. It is stale. Being secular is not being 'modern', specially within the context that you seem to be suggesting. It is just trying to seek more understanding and more openness. This is what Dawn really stands for - understanding and openness.
Parvez
Mar 24, 2013 06:21pm
Thank you................it was intended as such.