Download PDF: [S] The Conversation of the Nubian King

Ebrahim bin Esa bin Abu Jafer Mansur narrates from his uncle Sulayman bin Abu Jafer Mansur the following incident. He narrates:


Once, Ismail bin Ali bin Saleh bin Ali, Salman bin Ali and Esa bin Ali were present in the court of the Khalifah Mansur. I was also present there as well. The topic centered around the destruction of the Umayyad Dynasty. What happened between Abdullah and the Umayyad Dynasty was also discussed. The Khalifah then mentioned, “Allah Almighty initially did a favour to them and they began to look at our control as we look at their control. There is no doubt that after giving them wealth, most of them died as paupers.”


Ismail bin Ali who was present also mentioned, “O Khalifah! There is no doubt that Ubaidullah bin Marwan bin Mohammed is your prisoner as this moment in time. He also has a strange story to reveal about his experience with the Nubian Ruler. I would suggest that you call him and allow him to reveal this strange incident.”


Marwan then ordered Masayyib to bring Ubaidullah bin Marwan in his presence. A few minutes later, a young man was brought into the presence of the Khalifah and his entire body was tied in heavy chains. There was also a large and heavy lock around his neck.


As he entered the court, he made Salaam to everyone. However, Marwan replied, “O Ubaidullah! To reply to a Salaam means that you are giving someone peace and safety and right now, I have no intention to offer you peace and safety, this is why you are also chained.”


The servants also brought a head rest for the Khalifah so that he could sit upright and listen to the story of Ubaidullah. He then asked him to reveal the story of what happened with the Nubian Ruler. However, Ubaidullah replied, “O Khalifah! I swear by that Divine Being Who has given you this position that these chains around my neck have become even more heavier because of the water which has soaked in them through wudu. Therefore, if these things are around me, it would be difficult for me to speak freely.”


The Khalifah then ordered that these chains be removed.


Ubaidullah then continued, “I will now reveal the story of what happened with the Nubian leader. When Abdullah bin Ali decided to attack us, the first person on his target list was me. The reason is that after my father, Marwan bin Mohammed, I was going to be the next ruler. I then took ten thousand Dinaars from the state funds and also took ten servants and gave each one of them one thousand Dinaars to carry. I then took five donkeys which were loaded with other valuables as well and we decided to escape. We then travelled to the kingdom of Nuba. We travelled for three days and finally reached an old fort on the outskirts of Nuba and decided to camp within its walls. I then ordered my servants to clean the place and also place some new rugs on the floor.


I then called my most trusted servant and informed him to approach the Nubian King and convey my greetings to him. He was to ask the King that we needed protection he was also instructed to purchase some food for us as well. However, a long time elapsed and this servant did not return. I also began to have serious doubts about his safe return. However, he finally returned and he was also accompanied by another person as well. This person also displayed immense respect for us. He then sat in front of me and conveyed the greeting of the King. He then asked me, “My king wishes to inquire why you have sought refuge in this country. Do you have the intention of fighting against us, do you wish to accept our religion or do you wish to seek refuge in this country?”

I then informed this messenger that he should go to his King and mention that we only seek refuge in this place and nothing else. As for changing our religion, we have no intention of doing that as for fighting against him, we also have no intention to do that as well. I also mentioned that if we are given refuge in this country, we would consider it a great favour.


The messenger then left to convey my message to his King. He then returned a short while later and informed me that the King had informed him that he would come to visit us tomorrow and that we should not trouble ourselves with purchasing any food as this would be provided by the royal court.


When I heard the message, I then instructed my servants to place even more carpets on the floor so that we could prepare for the arrival of the Nubian King. The servants managed to clean and beautify the place as much as they could.


The next day, I waited for the Nubian king to arrive. Suddenly, my servants informed me that the King was about to appear. I noticed that a person was approaching us who was dressed in two ordinary pieces of cloth. He was surrounded by only ten guards. The king was bare-feet. When I saw the state of the King, I realized that this was an ordinary person. I also thought that maybe I could kill this person and take his place. However, as he came near, I saw a large army and a few minutes later, I saw a large cavalry which appeared and surround the entire fort where we were staying. This ordinary dressed king then entered the fort and asked for me.


The translator then pointed towards me. I then approached the King and displayed utmost respect in greeting him. However, the King kissed my hands and placed it on his chest. He then kicked the rug with his feet and sat on the floor instead.


I asked the translator why the King had kicked the rug away when I has specifically placed it on the floor for his convenience. When this person asked the question to the King, he replied, “Even though I am King, however, it is the right of every King that he should also think about the Greatness of Allah Almighty as well and should make an effort to display humility.”


The King then sat a while on the floor passing his fingers across the floor and then asked me, “Why was this country taken away from you. Why did you lose leadership even though, compared to others, your family is very close to the Prophet?”


I then replied, “Another person had arrived to take control over the government who was even closer to the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. They then attacked us and we began to lose our leadership. We are now without any supporters and this is the reason that we have entered your country to seek refuge.”


The King then asked, “Why do you consume alcohol even though this has been strictly forbidden in your religion?”


I replied that this was caused by our servants, by the non-Arabs and by those people who entered our country without our approval.


He then asked, “Why do you decorate your horses with gold and silk even though this is not permitted in your religion?”


Again, I gave the same answer of why this had happened.


He then said to me, “When you people enter any valley, why do you trouble the people who live there. You oppress the people without any cause and merely for a few pieces of gold, you continue to make fitnah on earth even though to create fitnah is something which is considered as Haraam in your religion.”


I then again gave him the same answer.


However, the King replied, “No all of this has been created by you people and made Halaal by you people that which has been made Haraam by Allah. That which He has prohibited upon you, you have continued to commit those acts. This is the reason that the clothing of disgrace has been adorned by you. I also have fear that if I allow you to stay in this country it would prove a source of great harm to us. Bear in mind that when the Divine Punishment of Allah Almighty comes, it would engulf everyone whether you are innocent or guilty. Also bear in mind that the period for a guest is three days. After three days, you are instructed to leave this place and if you continue to live in this place after three days, all of your possession would be confiscated.”


After saying this, the King immediately left without saying anything further. I then remained in this place for three days until I was captured by your forces. At this moment in time, death is something which is gladly welcomed by me because the pleasure of living has certainly disappeared from us.


When the Khalifah heard this story, he felt extreme sorrow for Ubaidullah bin Marwan. He also wanted to free him but Ismail bin Ali interrupted and said that this was someone who was already nominated as the next leader among the Umayyad Dynasty and it would be foolish to release him. He also suggested that this person remain in jail and that he had to face the penalty which he had brought upon himself.


The narrator then continues, “Ubaidullah bin Marwan was then sent to jail. I also have no idea whether he died during the rule of Mansur or whether he was released during the rule of Mehdi.”