The Story of a Villager

It is said that it was a custom in olden days that when anyone attended a King’s court he presented to the King some gift. The King obviously was not  in need of that gift, but  it was presented  to gain the King’s favour and pleasure and some good return from the King. Maulana Rumi(rah) has illustrated this point through an interesting story, as follows:

Once a villager decided  to pay a visit  to the Caliph of Baghdad. He wanted  to  carry  a gift  for  the King. He consulted his wife about the gift suitable for the Caliph. In her natural  naivety  she advised her husband  to  take with him  for  the Caliph  a pitcher  of water,  as  in  her  opinion, the Caliph might not be enjoying such sweet and cool water in the capital. The villager appreciated her wife’s suggestion and set off for Baghdad on foot with a pitcher of water  on his head. On approaching  the Caliph he presented to him the gift of water,  saying that it was pure and cool water, the like of which might not be available to the Caliph  in his  capital. It may be noted  that  on account of the  long journey  and  contamination  of dust  and  dirt  the water gone dirty.

The Caliph ordered the villager  to open the cover of the pitcher. As soon as  the mouth of the pitcher was opened, the entire hall was filled with  foul nauseating smell. Realising  that  the  villager  had  decided  to  present that useless, rather disgusting present  in his extreme simplicity and sincerity the caliph accepted and appreciated it and ordered  the pitcher  to be  filled with gold  coins. The villager, was very happy  and  heartily  thanked  the Caliph for his generosity. When  the villager was going back home with  his  reward,  the Caliph  asked  one  of  his  servants to see him off along the bank of the river Tigris.

The villager was going back home joyfully with the caliph’s escort, suddenly he  saw the River Tigris proudly flowing with  its  cool,  crystal  clear  and  sweet water. He felt ashamed at the gift of worthless water he had presented to the Caliph and realised from the core of his heart the Caliph’s generosity and magnanimity, because not only did he punish him for presenting him such a worthless gift but filled his pitcher with gold coins.

The Value of our worship
Drawing a moral  from  the  above story Maulana Rumi (rah);  has said that our worship  is just  like the villager’s pitcher of dirty and foul water, deserving to be pelted at our faces. It  is, however, the unlimited mercy of Almighty Allah that He accepts them  for valuable recompense. Allah  takes account of man’s limited power and thanks that His servant has presented  it with  faith and sincerity. The example which Maulana Rumi(rah),  has given holds good of all our worships which are in fact no better than the villager’s pitcher of worthless water.

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