Shah Shuja Kirmani had one son. On his breast he had written in green the word ‘Allah’. In due course the boy, overcome by the wayward impulses of youth, amused himself by strolling with lute in hand. He had a fine voice and as he sauntered he would play the lute and sing tearful songs.
One night, being drunk, he went out on to the streets playing his lute and singing. When he came to a certain quarter, a bride newly come there rose up from her husband’s side and came to look at him. The husband thereupon awoke and, missing his wife, also stared at the spectacle.
“Boy,” he called to him, “has not the time come for you to repent?”
These words struck the youth to the heart.
“It has come. It has come,” he cried.
Rending his robe and breaking his lute, he betook himself to his room and for forty days ate nothing. Then he emerged and took his way.
“What I was vouchsafed only after forty years, he has been granted after forty days,” remarked Shah Shuja.
Shah Shuja also had a daughter. The king of Kirman asked for her hand in marriage. He requested three days’ grace and during those three days he went from mosque to mosque, till at last he caught sight of a young man praying. The way he was offering his salat, struck a deep chord in Shah Shuja’s heart. He realized here was the man, the ‘zahid’ he was looking for. Shah Shuja waited patiently until he had finished his salat and then addressed him.
“Do you have any family?”
“No,” the young man replied.
“Do you want to marry the daughter of Shah Shuja Kirmani?”
“Why would such a rich person give his daughter to a poor man like me?” said the man. “All I possess in this world are three dirhams.”
“I am Shah Shuja and I will give you my daughter in marriage,” said Shah Shuja. “Of these three dirhams you possess, spend one on bread and one on attar of roses, then tie the marriage knot.”
They agreed accordingly.
That same night Shah Shuja dispatched his daughter to her new home. Entering the house, the girl saw some dry bread beside a jug of water.
“What is this bread?” she demanded.
“It is left over from my dinner yesterday. I kept it for tonight,” he told her.
Thereupon the girl turned to leave the house.
“I knew,” the dervish observed, “that the daughter of Shah Shuja would never be able to live with me and put up with my poverty.”
“It is not on account of your lack of means that I am leaving you,” the girl replied. “I am leaving you because of your lack of faith and trust in Allah. You set aside bread from yesterday, not relying on Allah’s provision for the tomorrow. At the same time I am surprised at my father. For twenty years he has kept me at home, always saying I will give you to a ‘zahid’, a God-fearing man in marriage but now he has given me to a person who does not even rely on Allah for his daily bread.”