Three Afflicted Men - The Angel's Test
Ancient Knights


Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where three Israelite men lived lonely and miserable lives. All of the men were poor and all three were shunned by their own people because of their illnesses. The first man had a skin disease that gave his skin a terrible appearance. The second man was bald because of a malady that affected his scalp. The third man had lost his sight to his illness.

Then one day, a stranger appeared and spoke to the first man, "If you could have anything at all what would it be?"

"I would like to be free of this terrible disease and I would like to have smooth, even toned, beautiful skin," the afflicted man said pensively. "Everyone shuns me and considers me dirty because of this disease and the way it has ravaged my skin."

The angel, for that was what the stranger was, brushed a gentle hand over the startled man's skin and in the blink of an eye, the man had smooth, even toned, beautiful skin. The disease from which he had suffered for so long was completely gone!

"If you could have any form of livelihood that you wished for, what would you choose?" continued the benevolent stranger.

"Camels!" said the now healthy man, eagerly anticipating the fulfillment of his second wish.

The angel walked away and quickly returned with a pregnant camel. As he handed the beautiful animal over to the man, the angel said, "It has been blessed by God and will provide for you well."

As the angel disappeared into the distance, the man looked around him wondering if it had all been just a poor man's desperate dream. But the smooth, healthy skin on his body and the camel standing calmly by his side were comfortingly real and so the man rejoiced over the blessings he had been given.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Great was the second man's surprise when the angel addressed him. No one had spoken to him in such a long time, yet here was a stranger speaking to him as though there were nothing at all wrong with him, "What do you want the most in this world?"

"Hair," said the bald man to his unexpected but very welcome visitor, "and an end to the disease that caused all my hair to fall out. Everyone treats me like I am dirty and they shun me."

The angel brushed a feather-light hand over the bald man's bare pate and the man incredulously placed a hand atop his head. There was thick, healthy hair growing out of his scalp!

"If you could have any form of livelihood that you wished for," said the stranger as the formerly bald man gleefully ran his hands through his shining locks, "what would you choose?"

"Cows!" said the second man, both hands still on his head as he experimentally tugged at his hair to see if it would fall out.

The stranger walked away then returned with a heavily pregnant cow in tow. "It has been blessed by God and will provide you with all you need."

Away the angel walked as the second man held a lock of his hair in each hand and stared wonderingly at the cow browsing placidly on the grass near his feet.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The third man was startled when a stranger's voice said to him, "What do you wish for the most?"

"My sight," the blind man said sadly to owner of the kind voice. "I would dearly love to be able to see again."

A feather-soft hand was brushed across the blind man's eyes and as he blinked in surprise he realized with awe that he could see again!

"If you could have any form of livelihood that you wished for," said the stranger as the formerly blind man turned this way and that, hungrily trying to absorb the beauty around him, "what would you choose?"

"Sheep," the third man said as he looked gratefully into the kind, luminous eyes of the stranger.

The angel turned and walked away much to the formerly blind man's dismay but he returned immediately with a sheep that was clearly pregnant.

"It has been blessed by God and will provide for you well," the angel said to the third man as he gazed, transfixed, at the plump sheep.

Then, the angel left.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Some years later, all three men had become wealthy and they no longer lived the lonely, miserable lives they had led before the angel's visits.

The first man who had suffered from a disease of the skin still had healthy skin and he owned a valley filled with camels.

The second man who had been bald still had a head of thick hair and he owned a valley filled with cows.

The third man who had been blind still had his sight and he owned a valley filled with sheep.

Then, the angel returned.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The first man was approached by a man who suffered from a disease of the skin that made him look just as the first man used to look. The man said, "I am a traveler bereft of any means of supporting myself. I have no one to turn to except for God and then you. I ask you in the name of the One who gave you such healthy, beautiful skin to give me a camel with which I can make a living as I travel onwards."

The first man looked at the diseased stranger with distaste, "I have many obligations and cannot spare anything to give to you."

Disappointed by the man's answer and demeanor, the angel gave him another chance, "Did you not have the same disease from which I suffer? And were you not given those camels as a gift?"

"No," said the unsympathetic first man. "And I inherited these herds from my ancestors."

"If what you say is false," said the angel to the foolish man, "Then may you return to the life of misery and poverty which you lived before God provided for you."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Completely disappointed by the first man's cold reception, the angel nevertheless went to see the second man. This time, the angel took on the guise of a man who was bald and suffering from the same disease from which the bald man had suffered.

"I am a traveler bereft of any means of supporting myself," the angel said to the formerly bald man, who inched away from him with disgust, "I have no one to turn to except for God and then you. I ask you in the name of the One who gave you such thick, healthy hair to give me a cow with which I can make a living as I travel onwards."

"I have nothing to spare," the formerly bald man said shortly, taking another step back from the bald beggar before him.

Displeased by the man's reply but willing to give him another chance to redeem himself, the angel said, "Did you not have a disease that made you as bald as I am now? And were you not given those cows as a gift?"

"No," the formerly bald man said impatiently, "And I inherited these cows from my forefathers."

Thoroughly displeased by the short, callus replies of the second man, the angel said, "If what you say is false, then may you return to the life of misery and poverty which you lived before God provided for you."

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Taking on the guise of a poor, blind man, the angel made its way to where the third man was and started the same conversation that had ended so disgracefully twice before.

"I am a traveler bereft of any means of supporting myself," the angel said softly, "I have no one to turn to except for God and then you. I ask you in the name of the One who gave you your sight to give me a sheep with which I can make a living as I travel onwards."

The formerly blind man listened gravely then said, "I was blind, then God gave me my sight back. I was poor, then God made me a rich man. Take whatever you want. For by God, I will not begrudge you a thing you take from me in the name of God."

Filled with divine joy, the angel replied in an approving voice as it disappeared, "Hold onto your property, for this was a test for each of you. God is pleased with you, and angry with your brethren."

*Written by © 2011. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Israelites (in Arabic - Banu Issraeel): The descendants of Israel (Jacob PBUH) and includes all of the various tribes.

Sources:
  1. Al-Bukhari, M. (2004 AD, 1424 H). صحيح البخاري [Sahih Al-Bukhari]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Page 613.

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