There was once a cripple man in Baghdad. Being a cripple, he could not travel so he sat all day staring into the azure desert sky asking passers-by, “Where art thou traveling, thou brother? All, by Allah’s grace Almighty, smiles upon thee and I. Where art thou traveling, good man?” All, believing the man was mad, kept their paces. One day a lovely woman adorned in her religious clothes heard the man calling to her, “Where art thou traveling, fair woman? Surely, Allah Almighty and Glorious delights on a woman with such a beauteous stride and such grace!” The woman, whose name was Ishna, was the eldest daughter of the Wazir and was indeed beautiful and good. At the time of this happening, a haughty and wicked nobleman sought Ishna for his bride. The Wazir had consented and so Ishna was on her way to market for a wedding veil for the ceremony the subsequent day. Ishna replied to the Beggar, “Lo! All the world is lost to me, save Allah on High! Here I stand breathing, although it be not my will. So it is with my future. All is lost, Beggar, except Allah Almighty.” “What!” the Beggar exclaimed, “How should one so lovely, by Allah, retain such misfortune that she should sigh with unwanted breath and shuffle gracefully down the street?” “Beggar, I shuffle and sigh under the burden of misfortune due to the life and future unwanted by this ungrateful woman.” Replieth Ishna. “Ah, dear child, dost thou knowst that happiness, a gift from Allah, must be earned!” quoth the Beggar. “Aye,” Replieth she with a sigh “but how?” “Trust, child, that Inshallah, the universe will use the error and fault found by you to perfect you for God’s acceptance.” And so with a last heavy sigh and downcast eyes, she continued.
Ishna and the Cripple
January 2, 2010