Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Words of Wisdom from Arabian Nights - 2

Almost everyone is familiar with some of the stories Arabian nights (Alibaba and 40 thieves, Alladin and the Flying Carpet etc). They are a collection of stories that Shaharezaad tells her husband, Sultaan Shaharyaar, every night so he would be intrigued by the stories and would not kill her. (She was successful) My mother has collected many of them from various sources and published them on her website ( under Arabian Nights Stories. All stories are interesting and keeps one spell bound until the end.  Read them; I am sure you will enjoy them. Most are suitable for kids 10 years or older.

Lately I have been editing them for my Mom, and came across some very good learning moments in some stories. These are valid for anyone in any culture.  Here they are in two installments.

Again - this is from my Mom's website:
(Read part 1 here)

Part 2: This excerpt comes from the story of Haykar (link). This is really a good story of how despite good teaching one can become bad and how wisdom always prevails. In this story Haykar, a vazeer (the king's adviser), is try to train his adopted son to become a good vazeer. I am going to write some these in my own words as some of these are written in a very different kind of English.
  1. If a word comes to your ears, suffer it to die within your heart, never disclose to anybody, lest it becomes a live coal to burn your tongue; if you see something, do not disclose it to anyone; breed pain in your body, clothe yourself in shame and always fear from God. 
  2. Don't make haste in replying.
  3. Don't desire for formal beauty which fades away soon, but look for inner qualities which last forever.
  4. O son, be not deceived by a woman of immodest speech, lest you become a prey of her speech and die by a shameful death. Don't be attracted to a woman of art, her clothes and cosmetics etc, because they are the things of immodesty. Beware of her to give anything which is not yours, for she will robe you in sin and you will have to answer to Allaah.
  5. Do not be an almond tree whose leaves appear earlier than everything else and its fruit comes in the last, but try to be a mulberry tree which bears the fruit first and everything later as its foliage. 
  6. Bow your head even to your inferiors, always speak softly, be courteous, and tread in the paths of piety. 
  7. Never speak or laugh loudly, because if the house was built by the volume of the sound, the ass would eat many a mansion everyday.
  8. The transport of stones with a man of wisdom is better than the drinking the wine with a man blamed for his foolishness. You should pour out the wine over the tombs of the pious men than drain it in those who offend others. 
  9. Be with a sage who fears Allaah and try to be like him and learn his ways.
  10. If you have a friend or a familiar, make trial of him, then be with him; and without testing him, neither praise him, nor insult him, nor disclose your thoughts about him to anybody who is not wise. 
  11. As long you have a shoe to wear, walk always on thorns and tread a way for your sons and grandsons. Always keep a boat ready, lest the sea drowns you.
  12. When a rich person eats a snake, it is said that it is his delicacy; but when a poor eats the same snake, it is declared "it is because of his poverty." Be content with your status and your good, never be jealous with your fellow. 
  13. Never be friendly with ignorant, nor eat food with him; nor be happy when they are annoyed with you. 
  14. Even if your enemy maltreat you, meet them with kindness and charity feelings. (read such a story). 
  15. And always fear the man who does not fear Allaah.
  16. O son, the fool will fall if one slips, but a wise man does not even tumble, and even if he tumbles, he will rise quickly, if he falls ill, he will be healthy soon; but for the ignorant there is no remedy. 
  17. If a lesser intelligent man than yourself comes to you, protect him respectfully; and if he does not suffice you, the Lord will suffice you in exchange of him.
  18. Spare not blows to your child, for the beating the boy is like to manure the garden, to bind the purse mouth, to chain the cattle, and to lock the door. Withhold your child from wickedness and discipline him, lest he becomes stubborn and obstinately disobedient; and thus lowering your head in the society and you should be described as an aid to his wrongdoings.
  19. Let no word escape your lips without consulting your heart; nor should you stand up between two opposites, because if you talk to wicked people it will give birth to enmity, from enmity comes out the battle, and from battle arises the slaughter. 
  20. Wherever your testimony is required, flee from that place and be at rest.
  21. Never stand against a man who is stronger than you, but be patient; long suffering, self-control and treading the path of piety are excellent. 
  22. Do not enjoy over the death of the enemy because after a while you will become his neighbor.
  23. Do not hear if somebody talks to you rudely or makes a mockery of you; honor him and always greet him with Salaam. 
  24. When the water in the stream is high, the bird will fly sky-high, and the black raven will be white, then only the ignorant and the fool will talk. (don't understand this one well)
  25. If you are wise, control your tongue from talking, your hand from stealing, and your eyes from seeing evil, then only you will be called a sage.
  26. O son, suffer, if a wise man strikes you with his staff, rather than being happy when a fool anoints you with the sweetest smell. 
  27. Be humble in the years of youth so that you may be honored in your old age. 
  28. Do not stand opposite to a man in your office, nor try to stop a river. 
  29. Do not haste in the matters of marriage - because if it brings prosperity, the folks will not tolerate you, and if it brings ill, they will abuse you and curse you.
  30. Live in the company of the one whose hand is full, not in the company of the one whose hand is like a fist. 
  31. There are four things which are unstable - a king with no army; a Vazeer in difficulty for lack of advice amongst; the folks whose speech is discourteous and over the Kings. (?- seems incomplete)
  32. Four things also are never hidden - wit, the sage and the fool, the rich and the pauper.

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