Grandfather folklore

To The Indian reverted Muslimah, I’m sorry this post has been due for a long time but I hope you like it!

My grandfather and I are lying on his bed, the ceiling fan whirring as it moves around in quick circles. It is almost midnight, but my grandfather is in a storytelling mood.

“I have an interesting one for you today”, he says.

I turn to face his wrinkled face, anticipation rising. “Go ahead, Dadabu, I love your stories.”

“Okay. A really, really long time ago, there was a very pious man. A man from Hazrat Musa’s nation. He wanted to make sure that his son would be well provided for after he died and so he thought of plan. He decided to release one of his calves into the jungle, and praying to Allah to help him with the plan, he hoped that the boy would find the calf when he grew into a mature man, and that the cow would help him financially to cater to his and his mother’s needs. So on his deathbed he prayed, “Oh Lord, I entrust my wife, my son, my calf and my belongings to You.”

The boy grew up. The youth was as pious as his father. He earned his living by cutting wood. Whatever he earned he divided into three equal portions: one he gave to his mother, one he used for his needs, and the last he gave as charity. His nights, too, were divided into three parts: during the early part of the night he helped his mother, the middle part he devoted to the worship of Allah, and during the last part he rested

The man had told his wife of what he had done, so that the wife could tell their son of the cow roaming the wild. When told, the son immediately made for the jungle to look for the cow. He prostrated to Allah, and soon he had found the cow his father had left for him in the jungle. He led the cow by a rope, and the animal would not let anyone except the boy near it.

An interesting episode was happening right then. A rich person had died leaving all his money to his son, and the Israelites, being selfish and greedy, killed the son so they could have the money. The relatives of the boy went to Hazrat Musa (AS) and asked him to find the murderer. The prophet instructed them to slaughter a cow and place the tongue of the cow on the corpse. But the relatives thought he was joking. He said, “Allah forbid that I do so!”

So the relatives asked him what kind of cow, and he gave them a description.

“The cow is neither young nor old, but in between.”

They asked him, “What colour should it be?”

“Yellow in colour.”

They were still not satisfied, so they prodded him again. He replied, “It is an unyoked cow, it does not plow the soil nor water the tilth, and is entirely without marks.”

They went out in search of such a cow. The only one that fitted the description was the cow owned by the orphaned son. They offered a few gold coins at first, but the mother refused, saying the cow was worth more than that. They went on increasing their offer, but the mother did not accept. The people then urged the son to talk to his mother and make her reasonable. But the son was too obedient to do so, “I shall not sell it to you even if you fill it’s skin with gold without my mother’s consent.”

“Let that be the price”, the mother smiled, “It’s skin filled with gold.”

They had no other option than to pay the mentioned price, but the Israelites had brought the hardship upon themselves.”

I know most of us are familiar with the cow and the Israelites episode, but I didn’t know the background of the cow and thought it better to share!

Grandfather folklore!

                               One of those grandfather tales around the dinner table again, he randomly kicks it off by introducing the name of a familiar buzurg, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. A name we’ve been taught about in our Urdu school books, he remains the mystic he was even after his eternal union with love.

                               “Once upon a time, Sheikh Jilani was extremely hungry and was looking for a place where he could get some decent food. He walked and walked, having nothing around his own humble person. He came upon a stream and saw an apple floating in the water, moving with the currents. He picked it up before it could get away, and devoured it with relish.

But once he had finished eating it, he realized that the apple must have belonged to an orchard. And since he had not asked the owner of the orchard before eating the apple, the apple was therefore not allowed for him to eat. Think of how careful the man was! So constantly worried about getting his halals and harams right.

                               Anyway, he walked along the stream in the direction of where the apple had come from; he walked days and days looking for the source of the fruit which caused him such agony. Finally, he stumbled upon the branches of a big apple tree, the branches of which were bowed down over the clear stream. Resolving that to be the beginning of the apple’s adventure downstream, he walked across it to find himself indeed in an apple orchard.
After he had hunted down the owner, he ashamedly set forth to do what he had come for.
‘I must ask for punishment from you. To account for a sin I have committed’, he said.

                             ‘Why?’ The owner was confused and surprised.

                             ‘I ate an apple from your orchard without asking you, and now I must be punished for this wretched act of mine bears heavily on my heart.’

                             The owner thought for a minute, then said:

                             ‘Okay, you must take care of my orchard for a year. That is the punishment due from you.’

                             So Sheikh Jilani looked after the orchard for a year, maintaining the gardens and trees, watering them, taking out weeds and wild flowers and making sure they remained in as perfect a condition as his capacity to do so.

                             After a year, he went to owner and told him his year of punishment was up. But the owner, although very happy with his work, had something else up his sleeve.

                            ‘You must marry my daughter as the last act for your forgiveness. She is deaf in the ears, blind from the eyes and handicapped legs.’

                              The Sheikh was surprised at this, but seeing this was his way for forgiveness, he consented to the proposal.

                              After the marriage, the Sheikh went to see the woman he had married. He expected a handicapped woman, but almost jumped when he saw a beautiful young woman, who had not a single problem the owner had mentioned. The Sheikh then went to his new father-in-law, and told him his situation with a worried face.

                              ‘Do not worry’, the owner said, ‘I shall tell you what I meant by what I said : she is deaf because she has heard no non-mahram’s voice, is blind because has seen no non-mahram’s face, and is handicapped from the legs as her legs have never walked towards a non-mahram. She is purely for you now, go for that woman is my daughter.’

                               The Sheikh’s journey took him from a state of heart where all he could feel was guilt, to a state of matrimony. And that too a pious one.”


Grandfather folklore


One of those family dinners it was, when there’s nice, fancy food and merry conversations with light laughter and jokes. My grandfather, as he swallowed the last spoonful of his Chinese rice, coughed animatedly to clear his throat, and then narrated a story, a folklore he had heard from someone else. He tells us many tales, of his own interesting, full led life and of the fiction world. That particular day, though, it was the latter.
“Once upon a time”, he began in a pleasant tone, “there lived a mighty king. This king, one night, had a strange dream. He decided to call upon the person who could interpret his dream, because kings’ dreams usually meant something. So the best man for the job was brought forward.
‘Can you interpret my dream for me?’ The king said, looking at his bowed head.
‘I can, sire. Please tell me what your dream was’, he humbly replied.
‘Well. I saw in my dream that all, all, of my teeth fell out one by one in quick succession. I woke up feeling that it meant something.’
‘It does, your Highness. Your teeth symbolize your relatives, and their falling like that means that all of them will die before you.’
The king, astonished but angered, called out to the guards and had him taken away.
‘Let his throat be cut off!’
The king was still confused. So he summoned the next best in his empire.
After he narrated his dream again, he was surprised at the answer he received.
‘Your teeth symbolize your relatives, and their falling like that means that all of them will die before you.’
He was disgusted by the interpretation, and sent him to be hanged.
The third person was then called into the king’s court. He cleverly answered the king’s question to the interpretation of his dream.
‘Sire, the teeth symbolize your relatives. Your dream means nothing more than the fact that you have been blessed with a very long life and that you shall outlive your family quite comfortably.’
The king, impressed by his response, let him go. He sat down with a heart set at ease.
So you see, the way with which a person speaks influences the content of his speech highly. The third person meant the same thing as the others, but he knew how to say it. And marvelously well he said it too.”

Tribute to Dadabus galore

To know someone’s sitting by forever,
And they lose their patience never,
To know they love you, but might not show it,
Understand, though we might not know it,
To know there’s a silent hero among us,
Though without all that popularity fuss,
A miracle from the heavens in the sky,
Even in misery, the streams of life never dry,
To know someone who’s had an individual past,
And a personality which in history shall last,
To know amidst us sits someone grand,
Who knows how to take a strong stand,
To know all this and to know that he,
Is our Dadabu and shall always be,
A miracle from the heavens in the sky,

A spirit which shall never die.


Because my Dadabu truly is one in a million 🙂 I gave this poem to him, and his mixed emotions were adorable since he isn’t very expressive emotionally, something I get from him.