Al-Malik _ The King

Professor Mohammad Ratib En- Nabulsi

Al-Malik (The King) is one of Allah’s ninety-nine Beautiful Divine Names and Attributes. Whosoever knows each one of them will be admitted into Paradise. Allah, Most Gracious, says, “He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god, the King, the Holy, the One Free from all defects, the Giver of security, the Watcher over His creatures, the All-Mighty, the Compeller, the Supreme. Glory be to Allah! High is He above all that which they associate as partners with Him.” [XLI; 23] He, Most Merciful, also says, “The Only Owner (and the King) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).” [I; 4]


According to the Shafi’ite school of Islamic Jurisprudence a worshipper should recite the above Quranic Verse in the first Rak’a of prayer as “The Only Owner of the Day of Recompense” and in the second Rak’a as “The King of the Day of Recompense”. This Name also occurs in the Quranic Verse: “in a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King” [LIV; 55]

In another Quranic Verse Allah, Glory to Him, says, “Say: ‘O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom! You give kingdom to whom You will, and You take kingdom from whom You will; and You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the Good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.” [III; 26] He, Praised and All-High, also says, “So Glorified and Far Exalted is He (above all that they associate with Him), in Whose Hand is the Dominion of all things, and to Whom you shall be returned.” [IIIVI; 83]


Definition of Al-Mulk (Ownership):

In Arabic the word “Mulk” means “the ability to dispose with things”, and hence, Allah’s Beautiful Name “The King” is derived from His Holy Self, but it can also be derived from His Acts as the Disposer with all things. In a Divine Hadith, Allah, Glory to Him, says, “I am the King of kings, and the Owner of kings. The hearts of kings are in My Hand: if My slaves obey Me, I turn the hearts of their kings to them with tenderness and mercy; but if My slaves disobey Me, I turn the hearts of their kings to them with wrath and avenge. Therefore, do not occupy yourselves by abusing kings but (rather) pray (to Allah) for their reform, for their reform comes from your own reform.”


Allah, Praise belongs to Him, is the King and Owner of kings. In other words, everything that can be owned belongs to Allah, All-High. Some scholars hold that a king is someone who rules but does not own, and an owner is someone who owns but does not rule; but Allah, Glory to Him, is the Owner and King.


Sometimes, a person may own something but does not, or does not have the right to, use it. Sometimes, a person may use, and dispose with, something although he does not own it. And sometimes, a person may own, use and dispose with something,  but in the end it does not remain his own.


An example: A person may own a house legally and lawfully. He may dwell in and dispose with it, but suddenly an act of public appropriation is issued and the house is seized from him by the government. Thus, when it is said that Allah is the Owner of the Kingdom, it means that He owns and disposes with all things; and their final end will be to Him. Therefore, Allah’s Ownership is Supreme and Absolute.


An Arabian who owned a herd of camels was once asked, “Whose are those camels?”. In reply he said, “They belong to Allah, but they are in my hand (i.e. I have been allowed by Allah, their real Owner to dispose with them).” Hence, a true believer is someone who believes that his house, shop, car, expertise, social position …etc. belong to Allah, All-Mighty.


An example: Even the very best and most specialized physician may sometimes lose his memory or even become insane because of a blood-clot in his brain and is, therefore, sent to an asylum. So, who is the Owner of the Kingdom? It is, undoubtedly, Allah, Glory and Praise belong to Him.


Who is the Owner of our eyes by which we see things?! Who is the One Who owns our ears, tongues, movement, power…etc. Allah, Praised and Exalted! In other words, true Faith necessitates that one should firmly believe that everything in one’s possession belongs in reality to Allah, All-Mighty, Who allows one to dispose with it.


“Whose are these camels?” “They belong to Allah, but they are in my hand.” Thus, your house belongs to Allah, but it is in your hand, and so is your car, your shop …etc.


Now, if we say, “Someone is a king.” do we mean that he is really or metaphorically a king? Scholars said: No one can really own anything except Allah; and any kind of ownership other than that of Allah is only metaphoric and unreal. This is because the real king is someone who is self-sufficient in both himself and attributes and needs no one, or nothing, else in existence. Is there a king who is self-sufficient and needs nothing for his existence and survival? Does he not need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and sleep to rest? Does he not feel afraid or sad? Does he not wish he could have more supporters and helpers? Each and every human being is, therefore, in need of other fellow humans or other things for the achievement of his existence and survival; and, therefore, no human being, or any other creature, can ever be a real king. The Real King is Allah, the All-Mighty, the Self-Sufficient; and anyone else can be only metaphorically called “a king”.


The Real King is He, Who is Self-Sufficient in Himself and Attributes and needs nothing but all things in existence need Him for everything. In other words, He is the King by Himself, His Existence, and His Attributes. He is in need of nothing, but all things do need Him. Such is the accurate definition of  “The King”, and none but Allah, All-Mighty, All-High, deserves it. In other words, the Real King is Allah; and whosoever describes himself as king, or owner of a certain house, shop, business or company is only metaphorically as such. Therefore, we should know the reality of ourselves; and Allah will have mercy on those who know their reality and abide thereby.


Allah, Glorified and All-High, is the One Who owns and grants ownership. To this effect Allah, Most Gracious, says, “Say: ‘O Allah, Owner of the Kingdom! You give kingdom to whom You will, and You take kingdom from whom You will; and You endue with honor whom You will, and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the Good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.” [III; 26] And real ownership is to control one’s desires and not to let them dominate over one, to be free from oneself and not possessed thereby. To this effect, Joseph, (PBUH), invokes his Lord, “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams. (You are) the (Only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Guardian in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous.” [XII; 101]


The above-mentioned Quranic Verse is very delicate: Joseph acknowledges the fact that Allah has bestowed on him sovereignty. But what kind of sovereignty was it? It might be thought that it was sovereignty over treasures of the earth, but most interpreters hold that it was not that as such, but, rather, he (PBUH) was granted the real sovereignty, namely self-control. That is because sovereignty in the traditional sense, which Allah, Most Gracious, grants to whomsoever He pleases of His slaves, is a perishable  kind of sovereignty and is by no means a laudable privilege. But what is real sovereignty? It was when he got control of himself saying, “I take refuge with Allah!” when the king’s wife invited him maliciously to indecent work, seducing him: “Come on!”. Scholars of Quranic interpretation said: This is real sovereignty that never perishes – sovereignty whereby one is happy for ever – i.e. to get control of oneself and dominate over one’s whims and caprices. In other words, if you get control over you whims and caprices, you are a real king; if you have self control, you are a real king; if you dominate over yourself, you are a real king; if you suppress your desires, you are a real king; and if you guide yourself to the way of righteousness and happiness, you are a real king. If, however, your desires and caprices lead you to misguidance, wrong-doing and sinful deeds, you are a slave. If your mind rightly guides you, you are a real king; but if your whims and desires mislead you, you are a mere slave. And great is the difference between being a king or a slave.


One of the former European leaders who achieved great victories in World War II once said a word that I never forget. He said, “In fact, we have dominated the whole world except our own selves. We are weak before ourselves!” A man, no matter how great and powerful he might be, is a mere slave to his desires if he is seduced to illegal sexual relation by a woman working with him. In fact, all mankind have two destructive points of weakness, namely money and women. A man may have too many great things, good knowledge, and amazing talents and abilities, yet he could be enslaved by women and money. In this case he is by no means a free person but rather a mere slave. In this context, the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says, “Miserable is he who is enslaved by the Dirham and the Dinar (i.e. money).” [narrated by Ibn Majah]


A slave is he who is enslaved by money and fails to make money in his own benefit and service. This is because money is originally meant to be used by people and not vice versa. In other words, if people get themselves enslaved by money, they are mere slaves. The Prophetic Hadith goes on: “Miserable is he who is enslaved by the vulva (pudendum of the female); miserable is he who is enslaved by garments.”

Whenever you read Joseph’s invocation “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty!”, you really should deliberate its great connotation, namely that real sovereignty is to get control of one’s own self and not to be controlled thereby, to enslave one’s own desires and caprices and not to get enslaved thereby, to be with the truth wherever it might be, to stick to Allah’s Book, and to acknowledge the rights of other fellow humans. Such is real heroism; and such is what most interpreters say about Allah’s Words “My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty and taught me something of the interpretation of dreams. (You are) the Only Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Guardian (and Protector) in this world and in the Hereafter! Cause me to die as a Muslim and join me with the righteous!” [XII; 101]


Some say: The King is He Who possesses the hearts of worshippers and makes them anxious. In fact, when someone gets to know Allah, Most Gracious, All-Mighty, he enters a state of love and becomes possessed thereby. He becomes great after having been trivial. Hence, he enters a state of permanent anxiety until he meets his Lord, wondering, “Is my Lord contented with me?! Does my work appeal to Allah, Most Gracious?! Does Allah love me?! Is my work sincere enough?! Is there any deviation in my work?! Is there anything or anyone I seek other than Allah?!


They also say that the King is He Who possesses the hearts of those who know Him and causes such hearts to burn; the King is He Who, if He so desires, grants ownership, or, if He so desires, causes to perish: “Verily, the Seizure of your Lord is severe and painful.” [LXXV; 12]. If He gives, He amazes; and if He brings someone to account, He inquires about everything. A few years ago, He gave us heavy rain that amazed us and produced seventy folds as much as previous years of wheat; but if rain is withheld from us, who can ever order such rain to come down?! Even if all nations, counsels or leaderships gather together, they can by no means cause rain to fall down. And if rain is withheld from us, plants, animals and humans will inevitably die. We are slaves because we can not survive without rain: “Say, ‘Tell me! If (all) your water were to sink away, who then can supply you with flowing (spring) water?!’”[LXVII; 30]


Allah, Glorified and Exalted is The King, Who, if He so desires, grants ownership and dominion, and, if He so desires, causes to perish. He is the Real King, Whom none could ever defy or dispute with. None could ever resist His Irresistible Divine Will or prevent His Judgment. He is the King, by Whose Command all stars and planets run.


In one Quranic Verse Allah, All-Mighty, mentions five basic elements of ownership. He, Most Gracious, says, “Say, ‘O Allah, Possessor of the Kingdom! You give the kingdom to whom You will; and You take the kingdom from whom You will; and You endue with honor whom You will; and You humiliate whom You will. In Your Hand is the good. Verily, Your are Powerful over all things.’” [III; 26]


Scholars interpreted the word “Kingdom” as that in the Hereafter as well as that in the present world. In other words, if you are a true straightforward honest sincere believer who performs deeds of righteousness, you are a king in the Hereafter, when neither wealth nor children can avail anything, except for those who come to Allah with pure hearts. Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, says, “Richness and poverty are (determined) after standing before Allah (for judgment and accountability).” The above Verse says, ”You give the kingdom to whom You will”. But who does the word “whom” refer to? When Allah, All-Mighty, says, “And Allah guides whomsoever He pleases to a Straight Path.”, He means: whosoever seeks guidance, Allah will guide him/her. He also says, “And He misguides whomsoever He pleases” in the sense that He, Most Gracious, misguides those who seek misguidance. In other words, guidance and misguidance are given to people in fulfillment of their own free choices of seeking either. To this effect, Allah, Most Merciful, says, “And (remember) when Moses said to his people, ‘O my people! Why do you annoy me while you know certainly that I am the Messenger of Allah to you?’ So when they turned away (from the Path of Allah), Allah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path). And Allah guides not the people who are disobedient.” [LXI; 5]

In the light of the above-mentioned the words “You grant kingdom to whom You will” means that Allah grants guidance to those who seek it just as He takes away guidance from those who reject Allah’s Religion, His Divine Mercy, His Great Promise – i.e. those who seek the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of the present world as well as the fulfillment of their lusty desires and caprices even by committing sinful deeds and evil deviations.


By the way kingdom in the present world can be granted by Allah to both those whom He loves and those He does not; but kingdom in the Hereafter is granted only to those whom He loves.


The second connotation of kingdom in the present world is derived from Allah’s Words, “And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [VI; 165]


Who has made you owner of your own house? It is Allah, Most Gracious. Who did your house previously belong to? It belonged to someone else. How did he sell it? He needed money, so he sold it. Who has made you the new owner of such house? It is Allah, Most Generous. Your job: Who has given it to you? It is Allah, Most Gracious. Why was someone else made to leave such job so that it became yours? It is Allah, Most Wise, by His Infinite Divine Wisdom and Judgment. This is the second connotation of Allah’s Words in the above Verse “You grant kingdom (and ownership) to whom You will” in the present world. To this effect, Allah, All-Mighty, says, “It is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth.” But what is the wisdom behind this? Why does Allah, Most Wise, give someone ownership and deprive someone else of it? Why does he raise someone in rank above another and make someone else inferior to another? The answer is simply: “that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you.” Allah tries you in both richness and poverty, in both good health and sickness, and in both powerfulness and weakness. If someone is rebellious and disobedient, what is the remedy? The answer comes from the Lord, All-Mighty: “Verily, your Lord is Swift in retribution”. But if he is obedient and devoted, the answer is: “And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds, and then remains in guidance.” [XX; 82]


Therefore, we, human beings, have been made generations coming after generations replacing each other, and people’s lots in the present world have been allotted by way of trial and testing; and they will be allotted by way of recompense in the Hereafter. Allah, hence, is the Possessor of the Kingdom: He either grants you kingdom in the present world, the Hereafter, or both.

How nice are religiousness and richness if they combine together,

And how ugly are infidelity and poverty in man!                              


By the Quranic Words “And you endue with honor whom You will” we embark on the notion of honor and humiliation. Here we have something delicate: If Allah desires to honor you, He subjugates even your enemies for you; and if He desires to humiliate someone, He makes even his closest relatives humiliate him: “And he whom Allah humiliates shall receive honor from none.”:


Make all your  honor with your Lord, it will be firmly established;

But if you seek honor from someone who dies, your honor will inevitably perish.


Therefore, Allah’s being the King necessitates that it is He Who honors and it is He Who humiliates; so try always to be with Him.


Obey Our Commands, and We shall remove for you Our Veils,

For We have granted with full content to those who have obeyed Us.

And take refuge with Us and seek Our Protection,

That We may protect you from the evil ones from among our creatures.


The Quranic words “In Your Hand is the Good” mean that even humiliation coming from Allah to some of His slaves is good, and taking away kingdom from other slaves is also good, even if it might be considered as evil by some ignorant people.


The words “You make the night enter into the day…” denote Allah’s Divine Disposal with the universe. The earth goes round the sun in an elliptical orbit. Who makes it move in its accurate orbit round the sun? Is there in the whole universe any other power that can put the earth back to orbit if it were to go away from it? If it went away from its orbit round the sun, the earth would perish and be attracted by other heavenly objects!!

“Verily, Allah grasps the heavens and the earth lest they should move away from their places; and if they were to move away from their places, there is not one that could possibly grasp them after Him. Truly, He is Ever Most Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” [XXXV; 41]


The above Quranic Verse denotes that Allah, All-Mighty, holds the heavens and the earth in their orbits. If a train goes out of its rails, can a tiny creature like a baby, an ant or a fly bring it back to its rails? “And if they were to move away from their places, there is not one that could possibly grasp them after Him”. Who has made the earth go 30 km/hour round the sun? Ho has made it turn round itself 1600 km/hour? Who has made it that big? Who has made it so far away? This is one of the connotations of Allah’s Divine Name “The King”.


“You make the night enter into the day; and You make the day enter into the night. You bring the living out of the dead; and You bring the dead out of the living. And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will without limit .” [III; 27]


The phenomenon of animal, plant and human generation: “You bring the living out of the dead”: an olive seed seems like a lifeless piece of wood, but a real olive-tree is hidden inside it. Consider types and circles of life: a tree is dry and dead in the winter, but no sooner does spring come than it is brought back to life again.


One day, Omar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, asked ‘Amr bin Al-‘Ass to describe Egypt to him. ‘Amr said: “O Commander of the Faithful! Its length is a month and its width is ten (i.e. Its length is a distance of a month-march, and its width is a distance of a ten-days-march). A blessed river runs across it. O Commander of the Faithful! While it is a dark piece of amber (i.e. its soil is dark because of fertility), it is a white pearl (i.e. when the Nile floods) and a green chrysolite. Blessed is Allah, Who does whatever He wills.”


‘Amr described Egypt in winter, at the time of the flood of the river Nile, in the spring, and in the summer. He also described its length and width.


One of the connotations of Allah’s being The King is that He alternates day and night and brings the living out of the dead and the dead out of the living. Of the meanings of Allah’s Words: “He brings the dead out of the living and the living out of the dead” is that a disbeliever might give birth to a believer and vice versa.

“And Noah called upon his Lord and said, ‘O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true; and You are the Most Just of the judges.’ He (Allah) said, ‘O Noah! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous. So ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you lest you should be one of the ignorant.’” [XI; 45,46]


The last item of Allah’s being The King is: “And You give wealth and sustenance to whom You will without limit” in the sense that He, All-Mighty, may give wealth and sustenance to a weak person just as He may make a powerful and clever person poor. That is why merchants and businesspeople usually say: “With Allah there is no clever merchant”; and one of the invocations of believers against disbelievers is, “O Allah! Make their own destruction in their evil planning!” In other words, the evil plots of disbelievers are sure to bring about their own destruction. Thus goes the Prophetic Hadith: “No might or power could ever avail a powerful person against You (Allah).”


Now, the question is: Does a person really own, i.e. if someone makes you the owner of something, do you really possess it? How can this idea be discussed? The owner of a certain house, a building, a car is in our opinion the one who enjoys full ownership by means of authentic documents accepted by others. This is what we usually say; and there is not much wrongness in it. Scholars literally said: It is more proper and more correct to say that a human being can not own. Why? This is because his being independent and free to dispose with other things is part of his self-independence and self-sufficiency. If a human being can never be self-independent or self-sufficient, then how can he be independent in his disposal with other things. That is why Allah, Most Gracious, admonishes His Messenger, (PBUH), and all human beings after him, “Say, ‘I possess no power over benefit or hurt to myself except as Allah wills. And if I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I should have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no evil would have ever touched me. Verily, I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe.’” [VII; 188]                    


If the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), possesses no power over benefit or hurt to himself, could he possibly have such power to others? The answer is definitely, “No.” In other words, if one is unable to rightly guide one’s son, could he ever be able to guide someone else’s son?! Impossible. Therefore, it is definite that Allah, Glorified and All-High, is the Only Real King; and man is only metaphorically as such. For example, an employee in the foreign ministry might sometimes tell you: “We have appointed Mr. so and so as an ambassador.” Such a saying has a metaphoric denotation, because the one who has actually appointed the ambassador is the minister himself, not the employee who tells you that. Yet, in absolute certainty: the One Who has granted this man such a post is Allah, Most Gracious.


A slave, for example, when is he on travel? When his master is. When is he in settlement? Also when his master is. Does a slave have any freedom in his movement away from his master? No. Then definitely you have to feel, when you have documents of the ownership of a house, that it belongs in fact to Allah, All-Mighty. At any moment you can sell or dispose with it, but you are by no means its real owner. Something wrong might go with a certain part of your body, and you might be told that such a surgical operation costs 800, 000 pounds in addition to travel and accommodation costs. The result is that you have to sell your house to pay for such a surgical operation. Glorified is the Owner of Ownership. Another example: kidney transplantation might sometimes cost 1000,000 pounds; and all that you own might be the cost of such an operation. Transplantation of a heart-valve costs 500,000 pounds. Therefore, if someone is granted good health by Allah, Most Merciful, he is rich in the full sense of the word.


There is a somewhat delicate issue; but before dealing with it, let’s read Allah’s Words in His Holy Quran: “Allah puts forward the example of (two men – a believer and a disbeliever): a slave (disbeliever) who is under the possession of another and has no power of any sort, and (the other) is a man (believer) on whom We have bestowed a good provision from Us and he spends thereof secretly and openly. Can they be equal? (By no means). All praises and thanks are to Allah. Nay! (But) most of them know not.” [XVI; 75]


If a slave possessed by another person is unable to do anything independently, could he ever be a real owner, i.e. someone who disposes with the things that other people possess? That is impossible. But why does the Quranic Verse go, “Within a few years. The decision of the matter, before and after, is only with Allah. And on that Day, believers will rejoice.” [XXX; 4]


Deliberate, dear brother believer! Decision of the matter is always in Allah’s Hand. To this effect, Allah’s Words go: “On the Day, when no person shall have any power to do anything for another, and the Decision, on that Day, will be (wholly) with Allah.” [LXXXII; 19] Therefore, the decision of all matters is in Allah’s Hand. In another Verse, Allah, Most Gracious, says, “The Decision of the matter, before and after, is only with Allah.” In another Verse, He, All-Mighty, says, “Then they were returned to Allah, their True Master, the Just Lord. Surely, to Him does belong the Decision, and He is the Swiftest in reckoning.” [VI; 62] He, Most Merciful, also says, “And He is Allah; there is no god but He, and all praises and thanks are to Him both in the present world and the Hereafter. And to Him belongs the Decision; and unto Him you shall be returned.” [XXVIII; 70]


Who does the Decision belong to in the present world? Does it not belong to Allah? Yes, indeed. Another example is Allah’s Words, “And to Allah belongs the Unseen of the heavens and the earth, and to Him do return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do.” [XI; 123] He, Glory to Him, also says, “The Path of Allah, to Whom does belong all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Verily, all matters, in the end, do go to Allah (for decision).” [XLII; 53]


But in whose hand is the decision before the end? Here and in interpretation of the above Verse scholars had a great opinion. They said: The fact is that the decision of all matters, before and after, is only with Allah. In other words, decision of all matters always belongs to Allah; and decision-making is His at all times. But heedless straying feeble-minded disbelieves wrongly believe that decision belongs to other human beings. On the Day of Judgment, all creatures will inevitably see that both Judgment and Decision as well as the Kingdom belong only to Allah and to no one else. They will see that all affairs return to Him for decision and judgment. Hence, it is wisest to see this before it is too late.


Therefore, even disbelievers and those who are heedless and straying will inevitably see with their own eyes that decision is in Allah’s Hand, that judgment belongs to Him and that to Him all matters will be retuned. In the present world, they do not see Allah, All-Mighty. They see other guardians and protectors than Him. They see superpowers and worship them instead of Allah. But on the Day of Resurrection, they will see the Truth.


In fact it is only a matter of time: You either see the Truth in time before you are overtaken by death or see it for sure on the Day of Resurrection and incur absolute regret. Heroism is, therefore, not to wait until you see the truth with other ignorant people. Heroism is to see the truth in due time in order to avail yourself of it.


There is another thing: Why can’t a slave be an owner in the full sense of the word? It has been said: That is because he can not be self-sufficient. Let us suppose that a great king is in no need of any of his subjects, but is he ever in no need of the air, water, food or marriage? That is why when Haroun Ar-Rasheed, the famous Abbaside Caliph, whose kingdom spread to the end of the ancient world, asked for a glass of water, his intelligent vizier asked him, “O Commander of the Faithful! How much would you pay for this glass of water if it were withheld from you?” “Half of my kingdom”, he replied. The vizier asked, “How much would you pay if you were unable to get rid of it (i.e. to urinate it)?” “The second half of my kingdom”, the Caliph answered. The vizier said, “Then, your kingdom is worth only a glass of water!”


In one of Cairo museums there is the tomb of one of the greatest Pharaohs, called Tout Ankh Amoun. It was dug out with a lot of gold, jewelry, and other precious ornaments. But there was one thing that called my attention, namely that he died at a very young age, eighteen years old. His coffin was very short and so was his body. I said, “Glorified is Allah! No matter how great man’s ownership and kingdom might be, his life remains in Allah’s Hand. He owned all of Egypt together with its enormous treasures and resources; nevertheless Allah caused him to die at the age of eighteen. The tomb is full of priceless gold, jewelry and ornaments, but he died very young. His great kingdom and wealth availed him nothing against death. His kingdom was by no means real but rather metaphoric. In fact he owned nothing; but Allah entrusted him with such kingdom and ownership.


One day, a prince asked a righteous man, “How can I help you?” The righteous man asked, “Who? Me?!” “Yes, you”, the prince replied. The righteous man said, “I have two slaves that are your masters: care and hope. Care for the present world and hope for a long life are my slaves; but they are your masters. I have dominated over them, but they have dominated over you. I have got control over them, but they have got control over you.” Thus, man is a real king if he controls his desires and caprices.


A righteous man once said, I was passing by ‘Asafan when I saw a beautiful woman. She attracted my admiration and love, but I sought help from Allah and was pious and went along doing nothing with that woman. When I went to bed that night, I saw the holy Prophet Joseph (PBUH) in my sleep. I asked him, “Are you Joseph?” “Yes, I am”, he replied. I said, “Praises and thanks to Allah because He protected you from the wife of the ‘Aziz (of Egypt).” He replied, “And Praises and thanks to Allah because He protected you from the woman of ‘Asafan.” Such is real kingdom: to obey Allah, All-Mighty.


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