malik bin dinaar (rahmatullahi alayh)

The very same Malik bin Dinaar (Rahmatullah alaih) says he was once walking through an alley of Basra when he saw a beautiful regal maid riding and being escorted by several servants. Malik called out to her and said: ‘O maid! Will your master sell  you?’

‘How can you say that old man?’ she replied.

‘Will your master sell you?’ Malik asked again.

‘If he does, are the likes of you going to buy?’ she asked.

‘Yes! Even better than you.’

She laughed and asked her servants to escort Malik to her quarters. On arriving at her place, the maid informed her master who also laughed and asked to see Malik. Malik was brought in an had an immediate impact on the master.

‘What do you want?’ the master asked him.

‘Sell me your maid,’ Malik said.

‘Can you afford to buy her?’

‘Can you afford to buy her?’

‘To me she is worth no more than two rotten date pits.’

Everybody in the room burst into laughter.

‘How can her price be that,’ they all asked mockingly.

‘Because she has so many defects,’ Malik retorted.

‘And just what might her defects be?’

‘If she does not wear perfume her perspiration stinks,’ said Malik.

‘If she does not brush her teeth, her teeth give off a foul odour. If she does not groom her hair, it becomes infested with lice and disheveled. If she lives for a few more years, she will become an old woman. She menstruates, urinates, and defecates. Perhaps she only likes you for selfish reasons. She probably isn’t loyal to you and if you die before her, she will find someone else just like you.

I am in the position to buy – for much cheaper than what you want for your maid – a maid whose constitution is of pure camphor: if she were to mix her expectorate in salty, bitter water, it would become sweet; if she was to speak to the dead, they would respond (to the melody of her voice). If  she raised her hand towards the sun, it would lose its shine; if she appeared at night, it would radiate with light and if she confronted the horizon with her dresses and jewellery, she would adorn it (the horizon). She is a maid who has been nurtured in musk and saffron; raised in gardens and suckled by the waters of Tasneem (waters of Paradise). She will never be disloyal and her love for you will never falter. Which one of these maids is more deserving of a price?’ Malik concluded.

‘The one you described,’ the master conceded.

‘Then you should know that she is very affordable and accessible.’

‘What is her price? May Allah have mercy on you.’

‘Very cheap. Spare a moment at night and offer two units of prayer with sincerity. When you place food in front of you, think of the hungry and sacrifice your craving for lavish food (and feed the hungry). Remove stones (impediments) and dirt (obstacles) from the road. Spend the remainder of your life on bare necessities. Remove your  worries of this world of oblivion so that you may live in this world with the honour of an abstemious person, go tomorrow to the station of dignity in peace and dwell in Paradise forever.’

The master turned to the maid and asked: ‘O maid! have you listened to what our old man has said?’

‘Yes.’ she replied.

‘Has he spoken the truth, or is he merely telling a tale?’

‘No he has spoken the truth. He has been kind and offered advice.’

The master then exclaimed: ‘If that is the case, then  you are free for the sake of Allah. And such and such property is yours. And all your servants around me, you are all free and you may have such and such properties. This house of mine and everything in it is charity in the path of Allah.’

He then ripped a piece of rough curtain cloth and replaced his expensive clothes with the curtain cloth. The maid remarked: ‘ I have no life after you, my master. She also took off her attire and replaced it with some rough clothing and set off with her master. Malik saw them off: he took one route and they took another.