Download PDF: [S] The Fragrance Seller who was Dishonest

Allama ibn Jouzi – may Allah be pleased with him – in his famous “Kitaabul Azkiyah” writes:


I heard that once there was a person who arrived in Baghdad Shareef from Khuraasan. He was intending to go for Hajj. He also had a very expensive pearl necklace which valued at about a thousand Dinaars. He tried to sell this necklace but failed.


He then heard about an honest person who used to sell fragrance and decided to approach him with the intention that this person safeguards his necklace while he went to Mecca Shareef to perform his Hajj.


While he was in Mecca Shareef, as a show of appreciation, he also purchased some gifts for this fragrance seller. He then presented these gifts to this person and also asked for his necklace. However, the fragrance seller completely refused to acknowledge this person and insisted that he had never met him before. In fact, the fragrance seller was so rude that he actually chased this person out of his shop and also shouted that he was being accused without any basis. As this argument continued and their voices became louder, people also began to gather. Someone then said to this Haji, “How can you accuse this fragrance seller without any proof. He is a famous person in this area noted for his honesty and there is no way that he can deceive you.”


In spite of this, he kept on asking for his necklace and the fragrance seller kept on insisting that he had no such necklace in his possession.


Someone then suggested to this Haji to go to the leader of the Muslims, Addud Daulah, and present his case in his court. There was also a great possibility that he would be able to help and assist in this regard. This Haji then wrote a long note and tying it to a piece of stick, he took this into the court of this ruler. When Addud Daulah saw him, he called him forward and asked him what his problem was. He then mentioned his entire story and also presented his written story to Addud Daulah.


When the leader of the Muslims heard this, he said to him, “There is no problem, tomorrow, you must go and sit next to the shop of this fragrance seller. Even if this person stops you from sitting near his shop, do not be bothered about him. If you find another shop near his shop, you can also sit at this shop as well. You must sit like this from the morning till the evening and do not speak to anyone. You must continue doing this for three days. On the fourth day, I will travel past that area and I will stop for a few minutes in front of you. I will then greet you but you must not greet me in return. In fact, you must act like you do not even know me. After that, you must approach the fragrance seller and ask for your necklace. Whatever he tells you after this, you must come back to my court again and explain whatever he had mentioned. Even if he returns the necklace to you, still, you must come back and inform me about this.”


The next three days, this Haji sat in front of the shop of this fragrance seller without speaking to anyone. On the fourth day, Addud Daulah with his royal entourage and army went past this shop. When he noticed this Haji from Khuraasan, he shouted his Salaam to him. The Haji merely sat and greeted the ruler softly and did not say another word.


The ruler also said, “Why is it that you do not visit me any longer and also present your needs to me.”


This was said in such a manner that everyone in the near vicinity heard these words. However, the Haji remained silent and did not say a word. At the same time, the fragrance seller was already beginning to panic when he saw what was happening in front of him. He then approached the Haji and said to him, “It is quite surprising that I cannot remember keeping your necklace, however, if you can describe it a little, maybe it will help me remember”.


The Haji then described the necklace to this person and like magic, he went into his shop and retrieved the same necklace insisting that he had completely forgotten about it.


When the Haji received this necklace, obviously he was extremely pleased and questioned whether he should return to the court of Addud Daulah. However, he felt that since this ruler had performed a great favour to him, it was only right that he obeyed his command. He also felt that maybe the ruler was interested in purchasing this necklace or had some other work for him.


He then approached the court of Addud Daulah. When the ruler saw him with the necklace, he immediately ordered the arrest of the fragrance seller.


When the fragrance seller was brought into court, the ruler instructed that the necklace be placed around his neck and he be hanged in front of his shop so that he becomes a lesson for others.


This was then done and a royal decree was issued that this would be end of those who displayed distrust when it came to the property of others. In the evening, this necklace was once again returned to the Haji and he returned home a happy man.


The actual name of the ruler mentioned in this incident is Khusroe bin Hasan. The title given to him was “Addud Daulah.” He was born in 324 A.H. and died in 372 A.H. He was among those who had captured the city of Baghdad. He ruled Mosul, Iran, etc. This is the first person in Islamic history who was given the title of “Shahen Shah”. He was considered a very powerful and mighty individual and took a great interest in constructing new buildings. He had also built a large hospital which was named after him. He had many bridges built and had also built a large wall around the blessed city of Madina Shareef. (Al ‘Alaam, Al Kamil ibn Atheer, Sayr ‘Alaamul Nublah, Taarikh Kalakan, Bidaayah wan Nihaayah.)