Al-Numan and Sinmar - Treachery and Proverbs
Arabian Knights - Volume 2

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

Called Persia where the Sassanid king, Izdejred bin Sabor, paced and worried about the wellbeing of his only son, Bahram. To date, none of his children had lived long but this time would be different, he promised himself. He would do anything and everything he could to safeguard the fragile life of his newborn son.

After a lot of thought and soul searching, King Izdejred decided that the best course of action would be to send his son away. He would send Bahram someplace where he would be safe and well taken care of, yet still receive all the training and education that a future king would need.

Izdejred interviewed many of his governors before he finally chose Al-Numan bin Al-Munthir, who ruled Al-Heira with Izdejred's blessing. Prince Bahram was turned over to Al-Numan on the condition that he build a fortified castle and install the small boy and his countless attendants in it. Al-Numan faithfully promised to build the castle and guard the small boy with his life, then he hurried back to his lands, carrying away the infant heir to the Persian throne with him.

Al-Numan reached Al-Heira and found himself concerned about the safety of his tiny new charge. Once the promised castle was built, reasoned Al-Numan, he could better control who had access to this most precious and dangerous of charges. So he immediately began his search for a qualified architect.

In due time, Al-Numan selected a famed architect and builder by the name of Sinmar to design construct the proposed castle. When Sinmar showed him his plans, Al-Numan approved them and eagerly financed the great undertaking. Time seemed to pass slowly while the castle was built and Al-Numan paced and worried endlessly as he waited.

Finally, the day arrived when the heavily fortified castle was completed and Sinmar proudly showed his employer through it. Al-Numan looked in wonder and pleasure at this majestic new castle and admired every angle of it. He was so pleased by it that he profusely complimented Sinmar on his masterful work and brilliant designs.

Sinmar looked around the completed castle and said musingly, "If I thought you could have paid me enough for it, I would have built this castle in such a way that it would have turned with the sun, in whichever direction the sun moved."

Al-Numan was immediately seized by a great, red wave of rage, "You could have built something better than this and you didn't?!"

Still gripped by his anger and not a little bit of pique, Al-Numan turned to his attendants and ordered them to seize Sinmar. He then had the great architect dragged to the highest point of the newly completed castle and thrown off. Sinmar fell screaming to his death and landed in a broken heap at the foot of one of his greatest creations.

Ever after, it became a saying and proverb among the Arabs for those who were betrayed and given something terrible in return for their hard work, "My wages are like Sinmar's".

As agreed, Bahram was raised in the castle Sinmar had built for Al-Numan. After his father's death, Bahram ascended the Persian throne, with Al-Numan's help, and became the new king of Persia. Ironically, Al-Numan was murdered in his twilight years by the order of Kisra, a later King of Persia, with whom he had a falling out.

*Written by © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?

  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Al-Numan bin Al-Munthir: النعمان بن المنذر.
    • Bahram (aka Bahram V): بهرام.
    • Izdejred bin Sabor (Yazdegerd I, or Izdekerti): أزدجرد (أو يزدجرد) بن سابور.
    • Kisra (aka Khosrau II aka Khosrow II aka Chosroes II aka Xosrov II): كسرى.
    • Sinmar: سنمار.

  1. Al-Karami, Khalid Abdullah. (2005 AD, 1426 H). الجامع في الآداب و الحكم [Collection of (literary) Arts and Proverbs]. Beirut: Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah. Page 221.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. "Yazdegerd I". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 20 September 2012.
  3. Wikipedia contributors. "Al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed 20 September 2012.

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