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Two little boys came to their mother with a request. “Our friends have both got new clothes for Eid. Can we have some new clothes as well?” Their mother, Fatima bint Abdul Malik رحمها الله, was no ordinary woman. Her father, grandfather and each of her four brothers were at one time or another a Khalifa (ruler of the Muslim World).
In fact, her own husband was the present Khalifa, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz رحمة الله عليه – who ruled the world’s largest empire that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. She promised them that she would check with their father to see if the two princes could have new clothes for Eid. When Umar ibn Abdul Aziz رحمة الله عليه returned home, his wife related the children’s request to him. The Khalifa had a pained look in his eyes.
“Fatima, you know how much I value my children, but all the money I have is in front of you”, he said motioning towards the sparsely furnished hut. Though a Khalifa, Umar رحمة الله عليه took care to live honestly and did much to ensure justice. Fatima رحمها الله agreed with her husband, but she said that maybe it would be possible to buy very cheap clothes for the children and they’d just be happy with something new to wear.
Finally, the Khalifa agreed and wrote a letter to his treasurer requesting that his pay be advanced a month early so that he could buy his children something to wear on Eid.
But the honest and pious Khalifa had an equally honest treasurer. The reply he got was this: “Amir Ul-Mumineen, I have great respect for you and I trust and obey you completely. However, if you could guarantee to me that you will live through the next month and do your service to the people (which will entitle you to your pay) then the money can be advanced to you. If you cannot give the assurance of your life, then how can the treasury pay you?”
Umar ibn Abdul Aziz رحمة الله عليه realised his mistake. Fatima bint Abdul Malik رحمها الله, washed her children’s old tattered clothes for Eid day and sent them out to play. One has to wonder if they were made from the same dust as us. A beautiful example that if we are not in the financial position to buy eid clothes we cannot go over the top and open accounts at Edgars, Bally Spitz, e.t.c, thereby spending money we don’t have.