Listening to Infants: The story of the boy, the king, and the sorcerer.


If you grew up in my generation (born in the early 80s baby!) or before, I’m sure you remember the movies that come to mind when reading the title of this post. Look Who’s Talking was a comedy that I remember seeing when I was little but never really paid attention. The movie has no value entertainment, religious, or education wise when compared to another example that I have today of an infant speaking.

This is quite possibly one of my favorite Islamic stories that I have ever heard.

It is the story of the Companions of the Ditch adapted from a lecture given by one of my favorite Imams.

The story begins with an ancient king whose sorcerer (yeah, he had his own personal saa7ir/magician) was getting old. The king told the sorcerer to appoint an apprentice to replace him when he passes away. The sorcerer decided on a young man and the young man began going to the sorcerer daily but came upon a priest living and worshiping in the religion of Allah swt, and belief  in the oneness of Allah. The boy sat and talked with the priest and was exposed to the deen of Allah and then went to the sorcerer. The priest offered to teach his religion to the young boy; he was to stop in at the priest’s home in the morning on the way to the sorcerer and again in the afternoons on his way home.

The day came that the boy was torn and wasn’t sure whether the sorcerer or the priest was teaching him the truth. While walking through the market, he saw that the people were all trying to kill a beast and no one was able to. The boy picked up a stone and said, “Oh Allah, if the religion of the priest is more beloved to you than that of the sorcerer, allow me to kill this beast,” and he threw the stone. The animal was instantly killed.

The boy went to the priest and related his story. The priest said, “By Allah, today you have surpassed me, for Allah swt has granted you a miracle. Beware, that in reaching this level of imaan you will face trials and tribulations and when you do, do not mention that I am the one who taught you.” (We all need to understand this point! There is no one in this world that says I have imaan, or I am a mu’min that Allah swt does not test– to prove the level of their imaan. Those with the strongest imaan have the hardest tests. — Think about it like a college major, the early introduction classes have tests that most people can pass, but to complete the major, as you continue to move forward, the tests get harder, are exhausting, and may break you. Tests of your imaan are the same way… never ask why– just say alhamdulilah and keep on going.) The priest was not scared that he was teaching the boy, but he was still attempting to protect himself.

The trials quickly came. The young man was performing miracles, healing the blind, deaf, and those with leprosy. One day the king’s friend went to the boy for a cure for his blindness. The man asked the boy to cure him and the boy said, Allah swt will heal only whom He wills. In this conversation, not only was the boy healing the man but he also was giving him dawah. The man walked into the king’s court the next day, sight returned and the king asked who had healed him. The man’s response was that Allah swt healed him and the king beheaded him after conversation/argument that the man took a lord other than his king.

He brought the boy forward and told him to give up his religion or he would be killed, the boy remained steadfast and had part of his scalp split. The king worried that if his friend was healed and now believed in Allah swt as the one true lord, the rest of the nation would do the same if the boy got to them. The king then sent off a group of his soldiers to take the boy to the top of a mountain and throw him off. While being dragged up, the boy made dua to Allah swt asking that Allah do with the soldiers what He will. The mountain began to shake and every single soldier fell off and died.

The boy returned to the king’s court (keep in mind that the boy was not making dua to Allah to save his life, but rather to save his dawah- which is why he went straight back to the king) and told the king that he would never be able to kill him unless he did exactly as the boy told him. The boy told the king to do this: “Gather the entire nation and put me against a tree, once the nation is gathered and watching, and as you ready your bow and arrow you must say, “In the name of Allah the Lord of this boy.” Only then will you be able to kill me.”

The king gathered the nation, tied the boy and said exactly that. At that moment, the boy was killed. He gave his life for his dawah and it worked. The entire nation (reportedly 40-60,000 people) reverted to Islam. This was the opposite of what the king wanted so he began to take even more drastic action. He had his soldiers dig a deep trench and light a fire in it and had each and every member of the nation choose between giving up his or her religion or dying in the fire.

Every member of the nation chose the fire– except one– A woman with her infant child was walking toward the fire when she hesitated. At that moment, Allah swt granted the infant the ability to speak and he said to his mother,

“Ya uma usburi fa inaki a3lal 7aq.” “Oh my mother, be patient and go on because you are on the path of the truth!”

and the mother continued walking into the fire filled trench. Sob7an Allah that day the entire Muslim nation was destroyed.

These people are mentioned in Surat al Buruuj and there is a huge lesson to be learned by it, and we truly need to take it to heart. Sometimes, when we are tested in this life, sometimes the trials, tribulations, and fitna that we face are so hard and we expect relief and our reward ;in the donya, but sometimes– sometimes it just doesn’t and won’t come in the donya. We need to not go through life seeking our reward in the donya and await our reward in the hereafter.

Allah swt says in Suart al Buruuj:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

By the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, (1)
And by the Promised Day. (2)
And by the witness and that whereunto he beareth testimony, (3)
(Self-)destroyed were the owners of the ditch (4)
Of the fuel-fed fire, (5)
When they sat by it, (6)
And were themselves the witnesses of what they did to the believers. (7)
They had naught against them save that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Owner of Praise, (8)
Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is of all things the Witness. (9)
Lo! they who persecute believing men and believing women and repent not, theirs verily will be the doom of hell, and theirs the doom of burning. (10)
Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs will be Gardens underneath which rivers flow. That is the Great Success. (11)
Lo! the punishment of thy Lord is stern. (12)
Lo! He it is Who produceth, then reproduceth, (13)
And He is the Forgiving, the Loving, (14)
Lord of the Throne of Glory, (15)
Doer of what He will. (16)
Hath there come unto thee the story of the hosts (17)
Of Pharaoh and (the tribe of) Thamud? (18)
Nay, but those who disbelieve live in denial (19)
And Allah, all unseen, surroundeth them. (20)
Nay, but it is a glorious Qur’an. (21)
On a guarded tablet. (22)

RasoolAllah has said:

This world is a prison for the believer and paradise for the non-believer. [Muslim, Book 42 (Kitaab Az-Zuhd wa Al-Raqa’iq), Hadith 7058]

Remain steadfast in your imaan… even through hardships and insh’allah you will be counted among Allah swt’s beloved servants.

Alhamdulilah wa salat wa salaam a3la Sayyidina Mohammed wa a3la ahli wa sa7bihi saleeman katheera. Oh Allah, I ask that you guide me along your straight path and count me among your rightly guided and most beloved servants and I beg of you not to leave me without your guidance for even the blink of an eye. Ameen.


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