The Sultan's Cure

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There once was a Sultan who was very sick, and no doctor was able to cure him.  He grew distraught over his sickness, and sent his people to far off places looking for someone who could remedy his illness.  One of them brought back a Sufi named al-‘Arif.  al-‘Arif examined the Sultan, asked about all the treatments he tried, and then announced to the Sultan and to his entire court how the illness could be cured.  He said, “The Sultan can be cured with faith.”

One of the courtiers responded, “He has faith, but that has not cured him.”

al-‘Arif then replied, “Alright.  Hearing that, it leaves me only one other option to remedy his illness.  But I am reluctant to even suggest it, because it is really a terrible thing.  In fact, I will not say it.”

When the people heard this, they pleaded with him for about fifteen minutes until they finally convinced him to tell his remedy.

al-‘Arif said, “The Sultan can be cured by taking a bath in the blood of 300 executed children who are under seven years old.”

Everyone was extremely distraught to hear these words.  However, after thinking it over, some of the royal councilors eventually advised the Sultan to comply with the remedy, and reasoned, “Although this man al-‘Arif is a foreigner that we don’t know much about, I am afraid we don’t have much of a choice.  We must go to great lengths to save the Sultan — he is a man we exalt and regard so highly, and he keeps the entire kingdom safe and orderly.”

Soon, most of the people in the royal court shared the same sentiment, and it was agreed that al-‘Arif’s suggestion would be tried.  An announcement was made throughout the city of what was to happen.  The people were horrified to hear this.  Some cursed the Sultan for demanding that all these innocent children be killed for his sake.  Others prayed that the Sultan would be healed in time so that the children’s lives would be spared.

The Sultan, meanwhile, just could not bear the slaying of innocent children, and became tormented with the thought of doing such a thing.  Several days passed, and he declared that he would not take al-‘Arif’s suggestion after all.  And about the same time he declared this, his illness also disappeared, and he returned to perfect health.

Some people attributed his recovery as a reward for his good deed of sparing the children lives, while other people felt that it was a divine power caused by the relieved mothers of the children who were going to be killed.  They asked al-‘Arif what he thought, and he remarked, “He did not have faith, so I gave him something equal to it.  It was his focus and purposefulness, combined with the feelings of the mothers who wanted his disease cured.”  He also said, “An effect can take place when there is a way made to attain it within a certain time period.”


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