The Wise Qadhi & the Garden

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This account is from about 1,150 years ago when Hakam ruled Andalusia.  A nice site near the capital attracted the ruler, and he thought of building a palace for himself there.  The land belonged to an old woman who lived in a cottage upon it.

The ruler offered the woman a reasonable price for the land, but she declined to sell it.  He then offered double the price of the land, but she was persistent in her refusal.  The ruler got angry, forcibly ousted her from the site and demolished the cottage.  Within a short time, a stately mansion and a beautiful garden was built on that spot.  But the woman was not easily dismissed.  She went to the qadhi and complained against the ruler.

Shortly afterwards, the ruler invited the qadhi to see his new palace and gardens.  The qadhi went to the palace at the fixed time and took with him some empty sacks on his back and a donkey.  The ruler felt curious and asked why the donkey was there in noble company.  The qadhi replied, “I pray to your Majesty to permit me to take some sacks of earth from this royal garden.”

The ruler was amused at this strange request and granted permission.  The qadhi had the sacks filled with earth and then asked the ruler to help him in lifting the sack onto the back of the donkey.  Further, amused at this particular request of the qadhi, the ruler cheerfully went up and applied himself to the task.  But with all his effort, he failed to lift a single sack.

The qadhi then turned to the ruler and said, “Sire, if you cannot lift a single sack of earth today, how will you lift the entire garden when, on the Day of Judgement, Allah will Command you to transfer it to the old woman whom you took it from unjustly?”

The ruler felt ashamed and at once sent for the woman.  When she came, he said to her, “Mother, I have grievously wronged you.  Please forgive me.  From today, this palace and its garden are yours.”


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