In the good days gone by, great Muslim Khalifs ruled the lands from the east to the west. They enjoyed much more power and possessed many more treasures and riches than the kings and rulers in these days. However, the pious Khalifs lived simple lives and spent very little on their own comfort. They were far more refined and noble than the rulers of today.
Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz was one of those great Khalifs. He followed the teachings of Islam strictly and served the people whom he ruled with kindness and humility.
One hot summer’s night the Khalif Umar was lying awake in bed. He was perspiring and felt very uncomfortable. It was too hot to sleep. “Dear lady!” he called to his maid servant. As she hurried into his chamber he said to her in a gentle voice, “Please do fan me for the night is terribly hot. Allah loves those who bring comfort to others and His reward is great indeed.”
The maid servant loved and respected her Khalif dearly and was all too happy to serve him. The cool, sweet smelling breeze from her fan brought a smile to the lips of the pious Khalif and before long he dozed off to sleep.
After a while, however, she began to feel very weary. Her eyes slowly began to droop down until, finally, she too fell asleep. The fan slipped from her fingers and fell softly to the floor.
Khalif ‘Umar began to toss about in his bed. The fanning had stopped and he felt very uncomfortable again. The Khalif awoke from his slumber. He rubbed his sleepy eyes and looked around only to see that his maidservant had fallen asleep.
The kind hearted Khalif smiled and quietly picked up the fan. He did not want to disturb her sleep. He then began to fan her gently.
After a while, feeling the cool breeze of the fan on her cheek, the maidservant woke up with a startle only to find the Khalif fanning her. She was meant to be fanning him while he was the Khalif of a vast empire and she only a humble maidservant. She felt very embarrassed. “Oh, what have I done!” she thought to herself. “I hope the Khalif is not displeased with me.”
The pious Khalif, seeing the concern on her face, smiled and said, “Are you surprised to see the Khalif fanning you? Don’t you worry now. When I needed to sleep, you kept me cool, and when you needed sleep I kept you cool. Remember that you are just as much a human being as I am and deserve just as much respect and consideration.”