In the city of Baghdad, during the time of Caliph Haruna Rashid, there lived a man named Sindibad. He was a destitute soul, making his living as a porter, shouldering the weight of others’ goods from one place to another in exchange for meager wages.

One scorching day, as the sun’s rays intensified and his body drenched in sweat, Sindibad found himself standing before an opulent mansion. This grand residence belonged to a man of immense wealth and affluence. Surprisingly, despite the blazing sun, a refreshing cool breeze enveloped the mansion’s frontage. Intrigued, Sindibad noticed a small platform nestled amidst lush greenery in front of the house. A thought occurred to him, “Why not rest there briefly and find respite from my toil?” Setting down his burdens, he settled onto the platform, savoring the relief the breeze offered.

From within the house wafted the tantalizing aroma of food, accompanied by the melodic strains of musical instruments, the sweet notes of a flute, and the distant harmonious voices of singing maidens, though their words remained unintelligible. In the garden, an array of birds added their own symphony, serenading the blossoms with their songs. Looking downward, Sindibad observed intriguing insects busily darting to and fro amidst the grass emerging from under the flowers.

Overwhelmed by the intricate beauty of God’s creation, Sindibad marveled at the meticulous details of every facet of existence. His heart lightened by these wonders, yet his impoverished circumstances clouded his soul with sadness. Rising to his feet, he surveyed the laborers tending to the grand estate, some watering, others nurturing plants, and yet more gathering ripe fruits. His nose, meanwhile, teased him with the scent of succulent, sizzling meat. Observing the opulence around him, Sindibad raised his hands in gratitude, “O Lord of all, who bestows riches upon whomsoever He pleases, when He pleases, I beseech Your forgiveness for my transgressions. You alone are the forgiver. You are the Lord of all realms, the one who enriches and impoverishes at will. You exalt and humble as You see fit. You have elevated the master of this abode, and You have reduced me to the state in which I find myself.”

With these words, he recited:

“Countless souls in suffering,
While others find respite and ease.
Every day, a burden I bear,
Heavy loads, relentless wear and tear.
Yet some remain at rest, carefree,
O God, grant me clarity to see.”

As Sindibad concluded his song, he hoisted his load once more and departed. Shortly thereafter, a servant from the mansion emerged, bearing a countenance of striking beauty, clothed in sumptuous attire. The servant took hold of Sindibad’s hand and said, “Come, my master summons you.” Initially resistant, Sindibad insisted on delivering his cargo first. However, the servant insisted he must enter the mansion.

Seeing no way out, Sindibad left his belongings at the doorstep, where another servant kept watch. He then followed the insistent servant into the lavish dwelling. Inside, Sindibad marveled at the opulent furnishings. They entered a vast hall where people reclined on sumptuous sofas, dressed in extravagant garments that spoke of opulence. It was evident that poverty was foreign to any of them. Before each individual lay a platter of delectable meats, cups brimming with refreshing drinks, an assortment of fruits, and fragrant blooms. Graceful maidens swayed to the music, their melodies filling the air.

The guests were seated in rows, according to their wealth. The wealthiest occupied the front row, followed by others in descending order. At the forefront sat an elderly man with a flowing beard, his exhales revealing wisps of hair. He was clothed more splendidly than anyone present, radiating an unmistakable charisma and prominence. This man was the master of the mansion.

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