Al-Asma’i reported that the ruler ar-Rashid once ordered for many delicacies to be prepared for him. He wanted to have a party for himself, so he had a hall decorated for him and invited the famous poet Abul-‘Ataahiyyah.

When the party began, ar-Rashid looked at Abul-‘Ataahiyah and said, “Describe the pleasures of the world that we are enjoying.”

Abul-‘Ataahiyyah began:

Live in comfort as long as you please ** Under the shades of high and wonderful castles

“Wonderful, wonderful. Please continue,” said ar-Rashid.

Abul-‘Ataahiyyah continued,

All that you desire is brought to you ** Quickly, both in the morning and in the evening

“Wonderful, wonderful,” chimed in ar-Rashid. “Please continue.”

He resumed thus:

Then when the souls are parting ** Through the breast with a croaking sound

It is then that one comes to know ** I have lived nothing but a life of deception

Ar-Rashid began to weep profusely, and some of those present looked reproachfully at Abul-‘Ataahiyyah and said, “The Leader of the believers has invited you to make him happy, yet all that you have succeded in doing is making him sad!”

“Leave him alone,” said ar-Rashid. “He simply noticed that we were in a state of blindness, and disliked adding to it with even more blindness.”



  1. thank you Shaheen, the poem in arabic :
    عش ما بدا لك آمناً ***** في ظلّ شاهقة القصور
    يٌسعى إليك بما اشتهيـت ***** لدى الرواح وفي البكور
    فإذا النفوس تقعقعت ***** في ضيق حشرجة الصدور
    فهناك تعلم موقناً ***** ما كنت إلاّ في غرور

    its totally different when you read it in Arabic, Translation is right but not as tasty as Arabic 🙂

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