Commentary ~ Honesty

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Here is an anecdote told by the famous “Prince of Travelers” Sheikh Abu Abdullah Mohammed, better known as Ibn Battouta. This story comes to us from the 12th century.

In the Bekaa Valley in Syria, is the tomb of Abu Youssef Yacoub. It is said that in Damascus, he obtained a job working as a guard in an orchard belonging to the Sultan Nour Eddine. When the fruit harvest season came, the king accompanied by his first steward visited the garden that he was guarding. The guard Abu Youssef was ordered to go pick some pomegranates for the monarch. When he brought them, the steward took one of the fruits, broke it in half and ate a small quantity of the pale pink seeds. He made a frown of disgust, grumbled and spat while saying: “These fruits are sour, go and pick some more and try to choose better this time!” Abou Youssef promptly complied and then returned, laden with pomegranates larger than the first batch. The steward tasted them again but he made another frown that said that this second tasting was even worse than the first tasting. The steward got very angry and shouted at the guard: “It has been more than six months now that you have been assigned to guard this orchard and you do not know yet how to distinguish what is sour from what is sweet?” To which the honest guard replied: “Did you hire me to watch over the fruits or to eat them?”

Translated from Ibn Battouta “Prince of Travelers”
Author: Lotfi Akalay

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