A certain general of kind Yazdajerd44
Became a Muslim’s captive in the wars;
A Guebre he was, inured to every track
Of fortune, cratfty, cunning, gull of guile.
He kept his captor ignorant of his rank
Nor told him who he was, or what his name,
But said, “I beg that you will spare my life
And grant to me the quarter Muslims gain,”
The Muslim sheathed his sword. “To shed thy blood”
He cried, “were impious and forbidden sin,:
When Kaveh’s banner had rent to shreds,45
The fire of Sasan’s sons turned all to dust,46
It was disclosed the captive Jaban was,
Supreme commander of the Persian host.
Then was his fraud reported, and his blood
Petitioned of the Arab general;
But Bu Ubaid, famed leader of the ranks
From far Hejaz, who needed not the aid
Of armies to assist his bold resolve
In battletide, thus answered their request.
“Friend, we are Muslims, strings upon one lute
Patient to wear the ring of monarchs’ might.
Determine my appeal by the Koran!”
The upright cadi bit his in ire
And summoned to his court the unjust king
Who, hearing the Koran invoked, turned pale
With awe, and came like any criminal
Before the judge, his eyes cast down in shame,
His cheeks as crimson as the tulip’s glow.
On one side stood the appellant, and on one
The high exalted emperor, who spoke.
“I am ashamed of this that I have wrought
And make confession of my grievous crime.
”In retribution”, quoth the judge, “is life,48
And by that law life finds stability.
The Muslim slave no less is than free men,
Nor is the emperor’s blood of richer hue
Than the poor builder’s” Listening to these words
Of Holy Writ, Murad shook off his sleeve
And bared his hand. The plaintiff thereupon
No longer could keep silence. “God commands 19
Justice and kindliness” recited he
For God’s sake and Muhammad’s,” he declared,
“I do forgive him.” Note the majesty
Of the apostle’s Law, and how an ant50
Triumphantly outfought a Solomon!
Before the tribunal of the Koran
Master and slave are one, the mat of reeds
Coequal with the throne of rich brocade.
And of one concord. Ali’s voice attunes
With Abu Dharr’s, although the throat be that
Of Qanbar or Bilal. Each one of us 47
Is trustee to the whole Community
And one with it, in malice or in truce.
As the Community is the sure base
On which the Individual rests secure,
So is its covenant his sacred bond.
Though jaban was a foeman to Islam,
A Muslim granted him immunity;
His blood, O followers of the best of men,
May not be spilled by any Muslim sword,”