Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Difference Between Grapes & Wine

In his book about Shawam (People of Sham: Syria & Lebanon), Professor Adil Abu Shanab tells the story of an Arab Sheikh who got into a discussion with one of the French Occupation Officers during the French occupation of Syria.
The French Officer invited some Syrian dignitaries to a dinner. One of the invitees was an old Sheikh with his white beard. When the French officer saw the old Sheikh eating with his fingers, he asked the old Sheikh:

"Why are you not eating like us?". At which the Sheik replied:

"Do you see me eating with my nose?"

The French officer replied: "I mean, why don't you use a fork and knife?"

The Sheikh replied" "I am sure of the cleanliness of my hand, but are you sure of the cleanliness of your fork and knife?"

This shut the French officer up, but he made up his mind to get vengeance on the old Sheikh. At the fiest, the wife of the French officer was sitting to his right, and daughter to his left. The French officer, to spite the man of God, asked for wine to be brought, and proceeded to pour for himself, his wife and daughter, and proceeded do drink in a way to annoy the Sheikh.

He asked him: "Listen O Sheikh, you like grapes, and eat them, don't you?" At which the Sheikh replied in the affirmative. The French officer continued talking, pointing towards the grapes, hoping to beat the old Sheikh:
"This drink is from these grapes, so why do you eat the grapes, but keep far from the wine?"

All the guests looked at the old Sheikh, (feeling that he would have no reply for this).

The Sheikh, calmly replied: "This is your Wife, and this, your Daughter, is from her. So how is it that your Wife is legitimate for you but your Daughter is not?"

It is said that the French officer immediately ordered for the wine to be removed from the table.

May Allah guide us all and give us the wisdom not only to discern right from wrong but also to follow the right path after having identified it and then keeping on traveling in that same direction till the last day


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