Sultan Murad & the Dead Drunk

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Sultan Murad IV, ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640.  He would often move anonymously amidst of the people to observe their condition.  One evening, he felt uneasy and the inexplicable urge to go out.  He called for his head of security and set out together.  They came to a busy area, and found a man lying on the ground.  Sultan Murad prodded him but found that he was dead.  The people were going about their own business.  Nobody seemed to care about the dead man lying there.

Sultan Murad called out to the crowd.  They did not recognise him and asked him what he wanted.  He asked, “Why is this man lying dead on the ground and why does no one seem to care?  Where is his family?”

They replied, “He is so and so, the drunkard and fornicator!”

Sultan Murad asked, “Is he not from the ummah of Muhammad (s.a.w.)?  Now help me carry him to his house.”  The people helped Sultan Murad carry the dead man to his house.  Once they deposited the body, they left.  Sultan Murad and his assistant remained.

When the man’s wife saw his corpse, she began weeping.  She said to his dead body, “Allah have Mercy on you!  O friend of Allah, I bear witness that you are from amongst the pious.”

Sultan Murad was bewildered.  He asked, “How is he from the pious when the people say such and such things about him; so much so, that no one even cared he was dead?”

She replied, “I was expecting that.  My husband would go to the tavern every night and buy as much wine as he could.  He would then bring it home and pour it all down the drain.  He would then say, ‘I saved the Muslims a little today.’  He would then go to a prostitute, give her some money and tell her to close her door until the morning.  He would then return home for a second time and say, ‘Today I saved a young woman and the youth of the believers from vice.’

The people would see him buy wine and they would see him go to the prostitutes and they would consequently talk about him.  One day I said to him, ‘When you die, there will be no one to bathe you, there will be no one to pray over you and there will be no one to bury you!’

He laughed and replied, ‘Don’t fear; the sultan of the believers, along with the pious shall pray over my body.’”

Sultan Murad began crying.  He said, “By Allah!  He has said the truth, for I am Sultan Murad.  Tomorrow we shall bathe him, pray over him and bury him.”  And it so happened that the Sultan, the scholars, the pious and the masses prayed over him.

We judge people by what we see and what we hear from others.  But concealed in their hearts is a secret between them and their Lord.

O ye who believe!  Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs.  Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother?  Nay, ye would abhor it... but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surah al-Hujraat:12)


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