A GOLD DINAR ON THE STREETS OF BAGHDAD
Story of honest days
The creation of life itself centers between two extremes. We have positive charge as well as negative charge of electricity. Magnetism. Everything. Mountains or valleys. Single atom or infinity. Extremes make life. In this context Allah also created Good and Evil. The Quran stresses the best way of life as moving forward is based on Truth and Honesty.
A tale has been told from generations and I heard it from my father, as he heard it from his own. The story of the times of Caliph Haroon ur Rasheed, when Baghdad was the richest capital of the world. Everything flowed through Baghdad, the capital of the world. And where the Court of the Caliph, shined in affluence of every kind, the honesty prevailing in his reign was outstanding too. We are told that Caliph Haroon ur Rasheed used to disguise himself as a common man and used to roam the streets of Baghdad to notice first hand the rights and wrongs going on in the society. The principles were rigid indeed. The testing of men’s character paramount to the character of the city.
Trade flew through Baghdad through caravans and merchants from all over the world passed through the city. Buying things, selling things. A merchant had come from far away and found that there was a gold dinar lying on the paved street. He noticed it but did nothing about it. Time passed. The merchant came again to Baghdad the next year and saw the Gold Dinar there where he had seen it before. It did not vex him then but after repeat of a few years, he could not take the anxiety any more. He asked the nearby shopkeepers as to why the Dinar was lying there after few years, where it was originally seen by him.
The shopkeepers answer was straight forward. ‘WE ARE STILL HOPEFUL THAT THE OWNER WHO LOST IT, MAY COME LOOKING FOR IT AND WILL FIND IT WHERE HE DROPPED IT.” This unimaginable honesty seen in Baghdad engendered the character of the Muslims of that time.
Even today we hear of incidents of Pakistanis both at home and abroad, returning money which is not theirs and not even asking for a reward. It is these stories told at bedtimes that engender the character of the nation. Now our bedtime stories are not stories from the Quran or Aesops Fables or even more awe inspiring tales of yesterday. We sleep on the antics of Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck, Mickey Mouse, or even more modern personalities like Courage the dog, or the Despicables. Even more and more horrid characters are being made and the Vampires are the scene of the day. Even the concept of ‘Gay’ characters has been introduced in cartoons as normal. These cartoon characters may be fun but never inspire character building. Merely fun. Okay but the stories in the lap of grandmas built our personalities. I remember tales of Solomon and his remarkable judgement which sent ripples through me. Or Moses whose faith was tested by the Pharaoh between the fire and gold coins. And even mundane stories like the boy who used to shout ‘lion, lion’ in jest, till an actual lion came and ate him up. Yes, those stories built us as we are today. We need to do something about tomorrow too. It is our duty to create story books, stories, to build character of our nation. And we need imaginative Muslim investors to invest in children for a better future not only of Islam but of humankind and Planet Earth itself.