CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY
AMIN – A boy of nine years in Act I, Scene 1; twelve
years in Act I, Scene 2; a man of twenty-five in Act
HALIMA – His foster-mother
TALIB – His uncle
MUTAL – His grandfather
KARIMA – His aunt, Talib's wife
ALI – His cousin, a little older
TEJA – A wealthy and distinguished woman, older than
Amin, and whose business manager he becomes; afterwards
JOHLA – Teja's maid
HUMADAN – Teja's uncle, an old man.
Three Boys, playfellows of Amin
Woman in Mourning
Two men with gifts
Four Companions of Amin
The Chief of Yemen
The Sheriff of Mecca
Envoy of Hedjaz
Cottage in an Arabian village. Amin is in charge of
the farm; he is petting a lamb.
AMIN. My little one, you feel drowsy today, don't you?
I'll give you a bath in the pool and then take you in the
sun, so that you'll feel cheerful.
(Enter several BOYS.)
FIRST BOY. What are you doing, Amin? Always busy with
the home and farm, isn't he? We've come to play a game today;
now what shall we play?
SECOND BOY. Yes, let's play kus kus.
(BOYS play, AMIN leading. One boy pushes another,
who falls down and hits him back. AMIN reconciles
them. They continue the game. After it is finished, they
rest, sitting on blocks of wood.)
THIRD BOY. Do you know, Amin, what great fun we had on
our way here! There was a camel laden with dates. We made
a hole in the sack and took out a lot of dates. See, we
all have our pockets full. Would you like some? (AMIN smiles.)
FIRST BOY. I'm sure you would; take some!
AMIN. No, I won't take any.
SECOND BOY. Why? Don't you like them?
AMIN. Yes, I like dates, but I don't like this way of
taking them. It isn't fair.
SECOND BOY. Fair! Ha! ha! ha! (All the boys laugh.)
What is fair and unfair in these few dates? You're a funny
THIRD BOY. Do you know, Amin, we've planned to go to
town today to have a jolly good time.
AMIN. I'm sorry, I can't come with you today. Halima
has been out since morning and she left me in charge of
the farm. So you see I can't come.
FIRST BOY. Why must you be tied to home because Halima
said so? My mother this morning wouldn't let me go, but
do you think I would be detained by her? I simply told her
I must go. She grumbled a bit and then quieted down by herself.
Why can't you do the same? Halima is not your mother.
AMIN. Halima is my foster-mother and I must listen to
her as I would to my own mother. Besides, I am entrusted
with the home; therefore I won't leave my charge.
SECOND BOY. Well, then we are going, that's all;
(BOYS go off. – AMIN busies
himself with domestic duties. Enter HALIMA.)
HALIMA. My darling sweetheart, what have you been doing?
I am so sorry I was detained in town, Amin; there was such
a crowd today at the market; I tried to hurry, but I couldn't
get back sooner. Look, what I've brought. (Taking out
of her basket tomatoes, pineapple, and sugar-canes.)
You didn't go with your playmates today?
AMIN. They came to fetch me, but I couldn't go as you
had asked me to look after the farm.
HALIMA (kisses his forehead.) My darling, it is
so sweet of you to think of your Halima. (She sighs deeply,
raising her head, then looking down.) Bless his mother.
AMIN (speaks in a broken voice.) Halima, where
has my mother gone? Shall I see her again? ( HALIMA is
silent for a moment.) Do you they ever come here again,
who have passed away, or do they never return: What is death,
Halima? It always puzzles me. Why do people die? Because
they're ill, or because they're called away? Are they always
lost to the world? Can anyone see them? I should so much
like to see mother!
HALIMA (in tears.) Your father was called away
first, my darling, even before you were born. It was afterwards
that your mother followed him to heaven, peace be on her!
How delighted would your father be to see you now, if he
were alive; and how much your mother would have rejoiced
to watch you grow, sweetheart! It tears my heart to think
AMIN (sadly, looking down.) But what can one do
to find those one has lost, Halima? Is there any way of
HALIMA. They say those we love are never far away, even
if they have gone to the other side of life! Those who really
love must someday meet again, even if it is after death.
Life is a mystery, my darling child; one cannot say much
about these matters. You are too young yet to think of such
things. You will know when the time comes.
AMIN. When will that time come, Halima? I should so much
like to know all these things.
HALIMA. It won't be long, my child. When one thinks how
quickly the days pass, years slip by before we look at them.
One day you will be grown up and will think out things as
every thoughtful man does. It is only a matter of time.
– Now go and take a look round the farm; see if everything
is in order.
(AMIN goes, HALIMA sits down.)
HALIMA. What a privilege it is for me to bring up this
orphan! What trust his mother – peace be on her – gave me!
but it is a responsibility, a great responsibility to bring
up this child who is unlike anyone.
TALIB. Here I am, Halima. Did you send for me?
HALIMA. Yes, Talib. Come in, sit comfortably.
TALIB. It is long indeed since I saw you last. How are
you getting on? Nicely, Halima?
HALIMA. No woman on earth could be as privileged as I
am, having charge of this darling child. I have never seen
or known a boy like Amin, your nephew, bless him! He is
so affectionate and tender, so thoughtful and considerate
that never a cross word have I heard from him. At moments
I have been impatient with him, but he never talked back
at me. He is most affectionate to the children of his age,
gentle with all who come here; he has regard for his elders.
Young as he is, he thinks like a much older person. Indeed,
he is an old soul. His feelings are deep, and yet he is
so innocent that very often I notice in him something of
his babyhood. I cannot always understand him. Most of the
time he is nearer to me than my own heart, yet at times
he seems to be so far away in the clouds that I cannot reach
him. He is always a mystery to me. Yet he has an acute sense
of humor; he is quick to see the comic side of things. He
is often energetic and lively. To have him in my home is
the greatest joy to me. He helps me to forget life's woes;
making my life's burden easy for me to bear.
TALIB. Where is Amin? Please call him.
(HALIMA calls AMIN and leads him to his uncle.)
HALIMA. Do you know who this is, my darling? This is
Talib, your uncle. Your mother's last wish was that you
should be given into his care. (To TALIB.) This is
the treasure that was entrusted to me. Now I give him into
your arms, as it was his mother's wish that he should be
brought up under your parental care. (Crying.) I
don't know what will become of me when he is gone!
(TALIB holds AMIN'S hands and looks at him.)
TALIB. Well, son, are you willing to come with me? Your
aunt is eagerly waiting for you at home, and your grandfather
has longed to see you ever since you were born. And then,
there is your cousin who will be so happy to have you as
( HALIMA embraces the child and cries. TALIB
takes his hands.)
HALIMA. I give this trust to you. (Turning to
AMIN.) God be your protection, my darling child.
TALIB'S house, KARIMA, his wife, sewing,
MUTAL, his father, smoking a water-pipe.
Three years have passed.
MUTAL. Amin is so quiet that it does not seem that another
boy has come to live in the house. His influence seems to
make even Ali quieter.
KARIMA. Though he is so quiet, it seems he has brought
sunshine into our home. In spite of his quietness there
is something lively in him which makes Ali more bright than
he has ever been. No wonder his mother had many wonderful
dreams before he was born, giving good tidings. Now that
I see him, I begin to see the meaning of her visions, significant
in his unfoldment.
MUTAL. His father, peace be on him, was simple and yet
so intelligent that he was a glow of which Amin is the blaze.
– Do the boys get on well together?
KARIMA. Father, since Amin has come, Ali has become quite
different. Ali follows every turn that Amin takes. Ali seems
to be so much more thoughtful and happy since the coming
of Amin. They seem to blend with one another as sugar and
MUTAL. Amin, with all his gentleness, is steady and firm,
and so Ali, however energetic, responds to his influence.
KARIMA. Father, it is interesting to watch them grow
fond of one another, more so every day.
(ALI enters with a lot of leaves.)
ALI ( to KARIMA.) I have found these leaves after
all; I had to go far into the forest to fetch them, but
I wouldn't have come home without them!
KARIMA. Child, you must not go far into the woods, Very
often one meets wild animals there.
ALI. I am not afraid of wild animals. I would fight if
I met any.
(MUTAL laughs. ALI busies himself with the
leaves. Enter AMIN.)
KARIMA. Where have you been, Amin?
AMIN. I was learning. I have learnt many words today.
I am very anxious to learn to speak better. (to ALI.)
What are you doing, Ali?
ALI. I am preparing wreaths for the gods of Kaba, for
there are very few left before we have the annual celebration
of our gods.
AMIN. I don't like to call these idols of stone gods,
Ali. I don't know why I have never liked all they make of
stone gods. I can't enjoy the feasts. It all seems to me
ALI. You mustn't say so, Amin. If father hears it, he
won't like it. Grandfather told me many times that we must
look with reverence on the gods of Kaba.
AMIN. I don't know, Ali, why I feel like this, but I
can never feel sympathetic towards these hideous gods, and
I feel a kind of revolt against all the fuss that is made
of them. I sometimes feel like breaking them into pieces.
I can't understand why people go crazy about them by hundreds
ALI. I can't understand them either, Amin, but it is
our religion; we must not say anything against it.
AMIN. I tell you, Ali, I can't follow such a religion;
it only amuses me, it is all so funny.
MUTAL. What's the joke, boys?
ALI. Amin is wondering about the religious festivals;
they amuse him.
AMIN. Yes, I don't feel interested in all they make of
the stone gods; it all seems to me childish. People might
as well choose to do something else. I should think there
is much to be done.
MUTAL. It is a custom, child, our people have observed
AMIN. Has this custom always been among people, grandfather?
MUTAL. No doubt, in the beginning the stone of Kaba was
set there by our ancestor Abraham when he was returning
from Egypt after his initiation in the ancient mysteries.
He set this stone here as a token of his initiation, making
it a center of pilgrimage for the children of Beni Israel.
The line of our family, son, is traced back to Ishmael.
Neither Abraham nor his son Ishmael worshipped the idols
of many gods. It was afterwards, I suppose, in order to
draw more people to the Kaba, that these idols were placed
there. However, this has long become the religion of our
people; they expect to see at the Kaba the gods of their
families. If it were not for these festivals, there would
be no interest left in our religion.
AMIN. What is meant by religion, grandfather? Isn't it
faith rather than form?
MUTAL. It is a most difficult question to answer, my
son, Besides, you are yet too young to think about these
subjects. There is so little one can say in these matters,
and the less said, the better it is.
TALIB (to ALI.) Please, Ali, go and tell the man to make
the camel ready for me to start on my journey.
TALIB (to AMIN, resting his hands on his shoulder.)
I am going on a long journey to Syria, on business, Amin.
AMIN. I will come with you.
TALIB. I would not think for a moment of taking you with
me, my son, for it is a long journey, miles of land in the
desert to be crossed, all sorts of hardships one goes through,
and one meets with many dangers on the way.
AMIN. (embracing his uncle.) Uncle dear, please
take me with you on your journey. I do wish to travel. I
do not mind what difficulties I may have to experience on
TALIB (looks at AMIN'S eager face for a moment.)
I will take you, my child; go and get ready.
( KARIMA takes AMIN to prepare him and brings
him back. AMIN and TALIB bid goodbye to all
present and depart.)
A bazaar at Jerusalem. A SHAWL-SELLER bargaining
with his CUSTOMER. A thief putting his hand into
the pocket of the man who is busy purchasing. CUSTOMER
examines the quality of the stuff in his hands.
SHAWL-SELLER. It's four dirams a yard. (CUSTOMER throws
the stuff at him and goes away. The SELLER follows,
pulling his robe.) Two dirams, two dirams a yard.
CUSTOMER. No, no. No, no.
SHAWL-SELLER. All right, one diram; take it.
CUSTOMER (takes the stuff and puts his hand in his
pocket.) Someone has taken my money. Police, police!
( An old WOMAN FRUIT-SELLER walking with a
basket full of fruit under her arm.)
BOY (to the WOMAN.) How much for a kouri?
WOMAN. One Vazan
BOY. Too dear, too dear! Are these sweet cherries?
WOMAN. Sweet as sugar.
(BOY puts his hand into the basket, takes a cherry
and puts it in his mouth. WOMAN looks at him with
disgust. BOY puts his hand again into the basket.
The WOMAN pushes his hand off. The BOY upsets
the basket and all the fruit falls on the ground. Other
street-boys come and seize it.)
( A dancing girl comes, scantily dressed, with accompanists.
The crowd follows her and gathers around. A musician pushes
the crowd back with his instrument, making space for the
dance. A spectator, unwilling to be pushed back, shows fight.
The musician makes as if to strike him; the man lifts a
stone to throw at him. Many bystanders clapping their hands
to the rhythm of the dance, the accompanist singing, people
merry-making. At the end of the dance many throw kisses
to the girl.)
(A MEDIUM standing in concentration with closed
eyes by the side of a mosque.)
WOMAN (to MEDIUM.) I beg you, I pray you, will
you communicate with my daughter and tell her that from
the moment she died, food and drink have become as poison
to me. I weep all day and I am sleepless at night. I would
like to know how she is over there; is she happy.
MEDIUM (moves his head round and round, raising the
pupils of his eyes upwards.) I see, I see your daughter.
O, she is happy, more happy than she has ever been.
WOMAN. Do you see? I am so glad. Please ask her, is there
anything she is in need of?
MEDIUM. She has everything she wants there. But she is
attached to all the beautiful clothes and jewelry she had
here, and she wants all that over there.
WOMAN. O, I would be willing to give anything, anything,
if I only knew how to send it there!
MEDIUM. I will take things for you if you want me to,
when I go there at night; you only have to bring them to
me. (The WOMAN goes.)
(Enter YOUNG MAN.)
YOUNG MAN (to MEDIUM.) I had a dream my father,
who died recently, is not happy in heaven.
MEDIUM. Wait, I will write a letter to the keeper of
YOUNG MAN. Please.
MEDIUM (writes a letter; then reads.) ' Brother
Israel, the father of this young man, Faruk ibn Kalil, died
on the 5th of Ramadan, and is now in your world.
Give him two trees of plums and one tree of pears, a tank
of honey and a fountain of milk, with ample supply of bread
and meat.' (To YOUNG MAN.) Now what will you pay?
YOUNG MAN. Five dinars.
MEDIUM. No, that is not enough for all I have asked in
YOUNG MAN. I have only ten dinars.
MEDIUM. Well, then I'll take off two trees from this
( The YOUNG MAN gives the dinars. The MEDIUM
seals the letter with his thumb, licking it and pressing
it on the paper, and winks while sealing it. – The WOMAN
returns with a box of jewelry and a sack of beautiful
clothes. Hands them over to the MEDIUM.)
WOMAN. I have brought not only my daughter's jewels and
clothes but all I had, that you may take them from me to
my daughter. I want her to be happy. I am so thankful to
you for all you are going to do for me.)
(A PALMIST sitting with his astrological chart
spread over his lap.)
PALMIST to a YOUNG MAN.) Come here. (The
YOUNG MAN comes near.) Sit down. Show me your
hand. (Pointing with his finger to his palm.) Very
distinct and long line of fortune; but you will not get
it yet. And here (Points to thumb.) A beautiful wife;
but there will always be a quarrel in the home. (Looks
at center.) Some relative will leave great wealth for
you. But you will have a hard time in getting it.
YOUNG MAN. But tell me, shall I have good luck in the
business I am going to start today?
PALMIST. Pay five dinars, please. (The YOUNG MAN
does so.) There are some planetary influences standing
in opposition to your work, but I will make things right
( A YOUNG WOMAN, moving about through the crowd,
covering her face from a gay WAYFARER, looking at
him out of the corner of her eye.)
WAYFARER (pulling the sari from her face.) One,
just make it one.
(She looks annoyed. He kisses her and walks away.)
BEGGAR (scantily dressed, with patched sleeves and
a tin pot in his hands.) Please one penny; be ye well!
A MAN. Go further!
( A WOMAN selling three slave-girls. A
MAN, richly dressed, with his companion, examines the
MAN. How much?
WOMAN (shows ten on her fingers. He shows five.)
Ten, ten. (He gives ten dinars, takes the slave-girl
along with him.)
(Enter two drunken PRIESTS.)
FIRST PRIEST. How many prayers did you say this morning?
SECOND PRIEST. I said only one prayer because he didn't
bring me more than one bottle of liquor. I say only one
prayer for each bottle.
FIRST PRIEST. That is why you are always drunk.
SECOND PRIEST. You're crazy.
FIRST PRIEST. You're mad.
(They fight. POLICE OFFICER arrests them both.)
FIRST PRIEST (gives the POLICE OFFICER a purse.)
Let me go, let me go!
POLICE OFFICER (changes his attitude, bows to the
PRIEST who gave him the money. ) High priest!
(Goes away with the other one.)
(AMIN with TALIB passing through the bazaar,
halting at every step, observes keenly the degenerate condition
of the place.)
AMIN. Uncle, does no one tell these people to act differently?
Have they always been like this? This life does not interest
me; there is something in it, which does not seem to me
to be right. Have they never been told to do better?
TALIB. Child, in this world one cannot expect things
to be better than they are. People have been taught the
way of righteousness by the great souls who have come, time
after time, to guide the children of the earth. But when
some years pass and the real way is forgotten, then a period
of disintegration comes and people become degenerate. It
is sad to think that human beings should fall beneath the
level of the beasts, and yet there is nothing to be surprised
at, for man can rise higher than an angel and full lower
than the devil. As it is said, 'When a glimpse of Our Image
is caught in man, when Heaven and earth are sought in man,
then what is there in the world that is not in man? If one
only explores him, there is a lot in man.'
AMIN. But what is this that one dislikes in them, is
it evil? Then how does it differ from good?
TALIB. Good and evil are relative terms, my son. Evil
is nothing but the lack of good. Nevertheless, good is real
and evil is its shadow. When one believes this and tries
to bring out in another the good there is in him, one finds
that no soul, however, wicked, is void of goodness. To understand
all is to forgive all.
(AMIN is deeply impressed by all he sees at the bazaar
and by all his uncle says.)
Drawing room of TEJA'S house. TEJA seated;
JOHLA, her maid, in attendance. Thirteen years have
passed; AMIN is now twenty-five.
JOHLA. Bibi, I beg your pardon, tell me why for some
time I have noticed that you don't seem to be altogether
here. You seem to be somewhere else. You don't mind my asking
this; but as I feel sad with you, I should like to know
what is the matter. Excuse me for asking you.
TEJA. Yes, you are right, Johla. My mind has been in
such a condition, I am sorry to say, that I could not very
well manage to conceal my feelings. I am not surprised that
you have observed the change. There is nothing in my life
to make me sad. As you know, I have been blessed by Providence,
I am thankful to say; yet I have had a feeling of loneliness,
particularly of late. I have tried to get over this feeling,
but I cannot always manage it. Knowing how false human nature
is, I preferred to live alone, and the independence I experienced
in life has taken the place of a companion. Only since I
have seen this young nephew of Talib's who has just returned
from Syria, I am in a sort of maze. I don't know where I
am. He strikes me as a most promising young man and he inspires
one with trust, for his appearance says that he is honest.
He seems to be so tenderhearted and has such a refined way
that one cannot but love him.
JOHLA. Now I remember, Bibi; it is since the time he
came you've been like this. If any man made me so miserable,
I would give him a good shaking! I would not allow anyone
in the world to make my life wretched!
TEJA. Don't talk nonsense! You must learn to keep your
mouth shut. Listen. I have engaged him to attend to my business
affairs. But oh! It is not business that I care for. It
(TEJA moves restlessly.)
JOHLA. Bibi, do you know, the neighbor's cook was drunk
last night, and he fought with his wife until she put him
out of the house. Ha! ha! ha! He was lying there in the
street, swearing at her all night long. He! he! he!
TEJA. I don't feel like hearing your funny stories. Silly!
JOHLA. Bibi, if you have a fortune, every man will bow
his head before you. Do not be sad over nothing!
TEJA. No fortune can be compared to a truly worthy man!
JOHLA. May I bring you the cat for you to play with?
Last night it played and played with me until it tore my
apron. Where is my darling pet? (Looking around the room.)
Puss, puss, puss!
TEJA. Please, Johla, leave me alone! Go and play with
your kitten! (Holds her head in her hands.)
JOHLA (retires muttering.) I wouldn't let any
man cause me a headache! Puss, puss, where has he gone?
TEJA. (goes to the window; looks out.) I wonder
what day it is today. (Walks restlessly about the room.)
Is this the last of the month? Why, it's the new moon! Will
Heaven grant me my star, I wonder! (Comes back from the
window.) I don't know if he has the slightest thought
of the feeling I have for him. He seems so shy and reserved
that all the time he sat before me his eyes were cast down
and there was an innocent expression on his face showing
that he was not at all conscious of a woman's presence.
(Knock heard at the door. JOHLA comes in running.)
JOHLA. Bibi. Bibi! The young man about whom you were
just talking to me has come. Shall I tell him, Bibi is busy
just now, to come some other time?
TEJA. No! Bring him in after a moment. I shall soon be
(Exit JOHLA, TEJA throws a veil over her face.
Enter AMIN; he bows.)
TEJA. I was just wondering if you had arrived. Somehow
or other I felt that you must be coming today. I hope all
went well with you on your journey?
AMIN. Yes, Bibi. It seemed as though every person and
every condition was favorable to me: all went well with
our business. I have carried out the affair according to
your instructions and at the same time to the mutual advantage
of all. Therefore the other party is pleased also.
TEJA. I am sure everything you undertake must succeed.
AMIN. Bibi, I should think everyone would succeed in
business if they knew the key to its secret. That key is
fairness in dealing.
TEJA. I have no doubt about it. And you are the most
honest person I have ever had to carry out my business.
AMIN. Bibi, I will try to come up to your expectations.
Please do not think too well of me yet, for you don't know
me and my work. I only hope I shall not disappoint you.
TEJA. No, I cannot think for a moment that you could
be other than I know you to be. No soul in the world have
I ever seen who has won my confidence to the extent that
you have. I cannot doubt, even if I wanted to. Besides,
you will not disappoint me, even if you did not carry out
the business profitably, for I do not attach more importance
to the qualifications than to the person. In you I see the
person who is more precious than the wealth of this earth.
AMIN. Bibi, I have no words to express my gratitude to
you for so kind an appreciation of me. I am not yet at all
worthy of it.
TEJA. Please take a seat, Amin, and be comfortable; you
must be tired after your long journey. – I must not keep
my face veiled before you, for you seem no longer a stranger.
(AMIN takes a seat.)
TEJA. I am thankful, Amin, that you were brought to me.
(Puts her hand on the arm of his chair.)
AMIN. Pardon, Bibi, would you allow me to make clear
to you the details of the affair, which I have managed for
TEJA. No, Amin, you do not need to. I am quite satisfied,
as you know. I should like to hear something of your personal
AMIN. My personal life: There is not much to say about
it. I was the only son of my father who passed away before
I was born, and my mother followed him after giving me birth.
I was left with Halima, my foster-mother, who then put me
in charge of my uncle. I never allowed myself to feel an
orphan, for I always had a natural tendency to lean on the
Maker of this world, in whom I saw my mother and father
both. – The first journey I made was to Syria. I accompanied
my uncle there on business. That was a great privilege for
me because it allowed me to become acquainted with the various
aspects of life in the world. Though I am most thankful
to have seen it all, yet it has left on my mind and impression
of sadness, which I cannot easily forget.
TEJA. What did you see that made you sad, Amin?
AMIN. It was the falseness of human nature, playing its
different parts under many and varied conditions. By this
I do not mean to say I am exempt from it, but it only showed
me my own infirmities.
TEJA (touches AMIN'S arm.) No, I do not
see in you any infirmities. You seem to be far, far away
from them. If all men were like you, the world would be
quite different. – But when you said: 'It left on me an
impression of sadness,' what I thought was, a tender spot
in your heart is being kept alive by the continual memory
of someone you perhaps loved there.
AMIN. No, I never as yet allowed my mind to dwell on
TEJA. Do you mean to say you have determined to keep
your heart free from the love of a woman?
AMIN. No, Bibi, I only meant I have not so far allowed
myself to think on the subject.
TEJA. Why did you not think on the subject: Do you consider
it a sin?
AMIN. In the first place, I began life as an orphan,
and then I felt the weight of every act of kindness done
to me. It kept me continually wondering how I could fulfill
my obligations to those relatives and friends, to those
near and dear to me, who have been so kind. This thought
has continually occupied my mind and has never allowed me
to think on any other subject. Besides, the poverty of the
people in this country takes away every possibility of doing
anything for oneself. Frankly speaking, my state is as the
saying goes,' Qazi, why are you so thin?' The Qazi said,
'Because of the anxiety about my citizens.' Yet I am not
without hope, it is only a matter of time.
TEJA. Amin, you are a dear; the more you speak to me,
the more I am won by you. For every word you say goes through
my heart. I think it is because you are so sincere. My engaging
you to attend to my business was the first step; now I feel
as if you were engaged to my soul.
(TEJA gives him her hand; he kisses it and holds it
to his heart, his eyes cast down in modesty. Knock heard.
Enter JOHLA She looks surprised. TEJA and
JOHLA. I beg your pardon for having come
in without knocking. Why am I so forgetful!
-Bibi, there is a young soldier who wishes to see Amin.
AMIN. May I take leave of you and see what he wants?
TEJA. Call him here; I will go to my room for a moment.
(TEJA and JOHLA go out. – Enter
SOLDIER. I have come to tell you from the Ministry of
War that there is a sudden call to arms. The young men of
the country are expected to defend their land against the
invasion of a mighty enemy, who with his troops is already
approaching the gates of our town. It is the wish of many
in charge of affairs that you should take command of the
army for the defense of our country.
AMIN. Please thank them all. I feel most privileged to
take charge of our troops and nothing would please me more
than to render this service to my country, even if it were
at the cost of my life.
(The SOLDIER salutes and departs. –
Enter TEJA, who appears nervous.)
TEJA. What did the soldier come to tell you?
AMIN. Bibi, our country is being invaded by a mighty
enemy who is quite near our door. So all the country is
called to arms. The authorities wish me to lead the first
troops going for the defense of our country. I consider
it the greatest privilege to fight for my land.
TEJA. My darling sweetheart! You are too precious to
be sent into battle. Your life is too valuable to be sacrificed
in this way! Oh, I don't know what will become of me when
you are gone!
AMIN. I beg your pardon, Bibi, I must hurry now. I am
sure your thoughts will be with me; so all will be well.
TEJA (crying.) Know that I shall not feel I am living
while you are away. It is you who will bring me to life
when you return safe from there.
AMIN. Be sure that no harm will come to me, and soon
we shall meet.
(AMIN kisses her hands; she lays her head upon his
shoulder. They embrace.)
TEJA (still weeping.) God be with you!
TEJA'S home. TEJA ill, lying in an armchair.
JOHLA waving the fan.)
TEJA. Give me some cold water, my throat is dried up.
It seems as if flames are rising out of my body, oh! ah!
(JOHLA runs and fetches rose-water; she sprinkles
it over TEJA.)
JOHLA. Bibi, Bibi, (She gets no answer.) Are you
TEJA. No, Johla, I was not here, I was at the front,
where the battle is taking place, going over the agonies,
sharing the experience of my beloved.
JOHLA. Here is the water, Bibi, you wanted; I have fetched
TEJA. Thank you, Johla. (TEJA drinks.) Now I feel
cooled, I feel ease through my breath. Something seems to
tell me that all is well with him. A feeling comes to me
as if I was reading his letter that he is coming back.
JOHLA. Will you eat something, Bibi? It is several days
since you really had anything to sustain your body. If not
for yourself, then for his sake, to give him pleasure. You
must take care of yourself, you must feel well.
TEJA. No, don't mention food to me. I have no mind for
it. I shrink even from looking at food.
JOHLA. Bibi, you must make yourself strong.
TEJA. Will you help me, Johla, to get up?
(JOHLA lifts her up. She walks, her head on JOHLA'S
shoulder. JOHLA holding her, TEJA looks
out of the window; JOHLA looks with her.)
JOHLA. I don't see him yet.
TEJA (resting her hand on JOHLA'S shoulder,
cries.) I see him! I see him! He's coming back!
JOHLA. Don't act as if you were delirious! You must not
stand here, you have no strength. Come and sit down in this
(JOHLA puts her into the chair and fans her.)
TEJA (still softly crying.) I see him! I see him
(Knock at the door. JOHLA runs to see who has
knocked. TEJA opens her eyes and sits up.)
TEJA. I wonder!
JOHLA. (entering hurriedly.) Bib, you will be
pleased to know that a soldier has come on horseback with
a message from Amin.
TEJA. Show him in.
(Enter SOLDIER who salutes and presents the
letter to TEJA.)
TEJA ( opens the letter and reads aloud.) 'By
the grace of God, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, the
battle is won and the enemy has admitted his defeat. The
final arrangements are already completed. I am now preparing
to come back. I kiss your dear hand, the hand, which I always
felt next to my heart.
(TEJA wiping her tears of joy, gives gold coins to
TEJA. Has all gone well?
SOLDIER. Yes, lady. Amin showed great bravery; he fought
most courageously and wisely made peace. He has won both
the love of his friends and the admiration of his foes.
He is the young man of the day; we all are proud of him
for proving so worthy of our trust. (Salutes.) I
take my leave, lady.
(TEJA wiping her tears of joy. – As the SOLDIER
approaches the door, JOHLA meets him. She acts
as if frightened, he as if amazed to see her, both as if
they just missed running into each other.)
SOLDIER. Hullo, queen of the kitchen!
JOHLA. Hullo, king of spades.
(They nod at one another and throw a kiss. The
SOLDIER goes out.)
JOHLA. Now I am sure you are happy, Bibi, are you not?
Now I shall bring you some food, shall I? I am sure you
must be hungry.
TEJA. The news is nourishing to my soul; I don't need
any food. But prepare some if you like. Amin may come at
JOHLA. If I had such good news. Bibi, I would have eaten
twice as much dinner as usual! I wouldn't have waited for
anyone! You think I'm crazy, don't you: But I tell you,
I'd rather die than starve.
TEJA (smiles.) You go and eat your dinner; don't
wait. You need not starve waiting for me, Johla.
JOHLA. Thank you, Bibi.
(Knock at the door heard.)
JOHLA (returns quickly, exclaiming:) Amin is here!
TEJA. Call him in.
(TEJA gets up from her seat; AMIN enters.
TEJA runs to meet him and falls fainting into his
arms. – AMIN kissing her forehead, makes her sit
in the chair and sits by her side.)
TEJA. Now tell me, Amin, all that happened. You must
have had a terrible time!
AMIN. To tell you all since I left here and have now
come back! Where shall I begin the story and where shall
I end it? All's well that ends well! It was a dream, a dream
of one night, a nightmare rather. It's finished with the
breaking of the day, and now there is sunshine everywhere.
TEJA. I heard that you fought very bravely; they all
admire your courage so much. You did not only make war bravely,
but you made peace so wisely.
AMIN. I tried to do my duty, Bibi; that is all one can
do. Success and failure are both in His hands, without whose
will nothing moves in the universe. Nevertheless, this experience
on the battlefield has been quite an event for me. I will
no longer look for war, and will try to bring peace, not
after, but before, if I can. Did war have a hardening effect
upon my heart? No, it made it much more tender than I have
ever known it to be. I was known to be affectionate to my
friends, but it was this war which has taught me to love
even my enemies. I loved you hitherto, but it is during
this war that a longing for you was produced in my heart.
It had its disadvantages, yet one cannot ignore the advantages
it has. I am glad my people won the victory over the enemy;
but this has enlarged my view so that I cannot consider
only my countrymen as my people. I am beginning to consider
all men in the world as my people.
TEJA. But you did not tell me the pains you have gone
through, which I have felt all along through this war.
AMIN. It is both pain and pleasure, which make life complete.
If there were no pain, one would not enjoy pleasure. I do
not wish to recall to my memory the disagreeable past. Only
pleasant memories I allow my mind to hold, which were with
TEJA. Now the pain has passed, and pleasure is in store
for us. Next week our wedding takes place. My people are
busy preparing for it God has heard our prayer, Amin, at
AMIN and TEJA in their new home. TEJA
arranging cushions on the sofa. AMIN busy with a
bow and arrow. People bringing wedding gifts. – A Lady
brings flowers and gives them to TEJA.
TEJA. Oh, how beautiful they are. Who has sent them?
LADY. Bibi, your aunt's cousin's daughter, Salima, who
is married to Omar Abdullah Hujuri. (She leaves.)
(TEJA brings the flowers to AMIN, kisses him
and shows him.)
TEJA. How beautiful they are my darling sweetheart.
AMIN. They were more beautiful on the stem, beloved;
are these not plucked in vain. (TEJA looks surprised.
He kisses her forehead and laughs.) Don't you think
so too? All beautiful things are in their greatest glory
when they are in their own place. Arrange them, my sweetest
wife. Now that they are brought to us, we may just as well
turn our room into a garden.
(Another WOMAN comes, greets TEJA, touching
her cheeks with her hand.)
WOMAN. I have made this picture of Amin, Bibi, you will
be glad to see it.
TEJA. O, wonderful; he looked like this when he returned
from the battlefield. Thank you. I am very glad to have
(WOMAN again salutes and leaves.)
TEJA (takes picture and shows it to AMIN.) Do
you know this man?
AMIN. I don't know him; who is he?
TEJA. Is it not your beloved image? How well the
artist has made it! Now what shall I do with it? Shall I
frame it and put it on the wall, or shall I place it on
the sandal bracket above the divan? I think that is the
proper place for it, don't you think so?
AMIN. Place its front against the wall, showing its back
outside, beloved, if you ask my earnest advice about it.
TEJA (looking at him in surprise.) How could I
destroy your picture?
AMIN. This is not my picture. The artist who has made
it has not seen me, beloved.
TEJA. He has not seen you? You mean to say, he didn't
AMIN. Yes, I mean it, beloved.
TEJA. Then, perhaps I haven't seen you either?
AMIN. I do not think so. To tell you the truth, I do
not want anyone to make my picture; I do not wish my picture
to be placed on a pedestal; I don not want my picture to
represent me after I have gone. This mortal form itself
is a shadow of a shadow.
(Knock on the door. Two men enter, the carcass of
a lamb hanging on a stick over their shoulders.)
MAN. This is a wedding gift they send you.
TEJA. From where?
MAN. From the community house.
TEJA. How nice! Please give them our thanks and loving
(The two men take their leave.
TEJA (to AMIN.) Here we have something
really good to make a three day's continual feast.
AMIN. Yes, the poor lamb should be asked first how it
is to be sacrificed for our feast!
(Enter Dancing-Girls, accompanied by Musicians; they
perform the Wedding Dance, wrapped in several veils, which
they lift one after the other as they dance.)
TEJA (seeing the performance, takes AMIN'S
arm, brings him to the room where the dancers are, while
he is hesitating.) Beloved, it is wonderful; these are
the best dancers we have in the country. Everyone speaks
of their talent. They have trained every muscle, making
it supple to twist and turn as they want to, and they move
so swiftly to the rhythm of the drum that their graceful
movements make a living picture of music.
AMIN. May I request these talented dancers not to remove
their veils any more!
TEJA. But it is their dance, beloved, it is their way;
how skillfully they unveil themselves!
AMIN. But what do they unveil? The earth, not heaven.
TEJA (gives the Musicians a purse.) Thank you,
take no more trouble.
(Musicians salute them and depart.)
AMIN. Do you mind if I ask you something, beloved? (Shyly,
looking down.) Ever since I have been in the open country
and have observed wide horizons in the war, the wilderness
has attracted me. I long to walk in the desert and to dwell
in the mountains. If you will permit me, Bibi, I will take
a trip through the desert that I may unload my mind from
the disturbing impressions of the war.
TEJA. Yes, my darling, you may go to the mountains whenever
you desire, if it is not for a long time! While you are
away I shall think of you with every breath.
(AMIN kisses TEJA'S hand. They embrace.)
Hera, a rocky mountain in the desert. – AMIN
wandering alone and looking at the wide expanse.
AMIN. Home is a world; the life outside home is the underworld,
but this wilderness is my Paradise.
I feel myself only when I am by myself. It is then that
I look at the whole world as an onlooker. There must be
some reason why I am attracted to this spot.
There are many reasons, but how many can be explained?
The heavy responsibility of home life and the continual
struggle with the outside world; the smallness of human
character; the ever-changing nature of life; the falsehood
that exists in the life of the generality; the absence of
justice and the lack of wisdom; all these and many other
things make life unbearable for me. Besides, the ever-jarring
influences coming from all around work upon my sensitive
heart and make me feel lost sometimes. It is only here,
away from the continual turmoil of life in the world that
I find some rest...
And yet I wonder if my heart is really at rest. No, my
heart cannot be really rested. If I am here away from the
world and my fellow men are in the midst of the turmoil,
it cannot give me the peace I want; it keeps my mind uneasy...
What could I do to make the condition of my people better?
Shall I work and be rich, and help them with my riches?
But how far will those riches go to provide for their endless
needs! Shall I be powerful and control them and rule them?
What will that do? It will only turn them from servants
into slaves. Shall I teach them goodness? But where does
goodness belong? It belongs to God.
I must seek God myself first before I speak of goodness
to my fellow men. And where shall I find Him? If He is to
be found anywhere, it is here in the solitude where my soul
feels free. I become attuned to nature. I could sit silent
here for days, looking at this wide space with endless horizon,
where not even a bird makes a sound by the fluttering of
its wings. I need not try to be silent here; silence reigns
here, the spheres are silence itself...
Oh, Thou, longed-for Beloved, if Thou are anywhere to
be found, it is here. I do not speak, I will not speak;
I only listen, I will listen. Speak to me!
(He sits silent. A VOICE comes to him.)
VOICE. Cry on the Name of thy Lord! Cry on the Name of
thy Lord! Cry on the Name of thy Lord.
(He invokes the sacred Name of God, and again sits
AMIN. Through the whispering of the breeze, through the
cooing of the wind, through the rippling of the water, through
the cracking of the thunder, through the fluttering of the
leaves, I hear Thy gentle whisper in answer to my heart's
Beloved God, where art Thou not present! Thou art everywhere.
O Thou, who wert the ideal of my belief hitherto, art now
a reality to me! In the flood that is caused by Thy manifestation,
my little self has become drowned. I am lost to my own view.
Thou are now before me, O Pearl of my heart!
(AMIN falls in a sort of swoon.)
VOICE. Thou art the man! Arise and wake thy fellow-men
from the sleep of ignorance!
AMIN. O, what a task, what responsibility Thou givest
me! My Lord, my King, I tremble. I cannot dare look at myself.
Let me cover myself from my own eyes! I cannot look at the
vastness of the mission Thou givest me, with this, my limited
(Again goes into a swoon.)
VOICE. Thou art the man! Arise and wake thy fellow men
from the sleep of ignorance!
AMIN. Yes, I obey, I rise, I march to the rhythm of the
music of Thy call!
TEJA'S house. AMIN sitting on a cushion in
an ecstatic condition. TEJA, one hand on this shoulder,
sympathizing with him.)
TEJA. What is it my darling sweetheart: Why are you acting
so strangely: You seem to be frightened of something, as
if you had a nightmare. It seems as if something frightful
had been impressed upon your mind. What is the matter, my
beloved? I am most anxious about you.
AMIN. Bibi, I have had an experience, which is indescribable.
I did not wish ever to tell anyone about it.
TEJA. Not even to me: I thought there would be nothing
you would keep hidden from me.
AMIN. Well, beloved, not even to you. For it is something,
which I cannot even, explain to myself. And yet, when I
think of it, it seems as if my soul has always known it,
although my mind is quite unable to grasp it. It is something
so big that I cannot look at it and at the same time look
at my little self. For there is no comparison between this
experience of mine and what I know myself to be. The difference
is like that between heaven and earth. If I try to say it,
my lips tremble and my throat chokes. I feel like covering
myself from my own view when that wonderful influence comes
TEJA. I feel very eager, Amin, to hear. Will you not
tell me a little more about it?
AMIN. It was to quiet my mind, upset by the turmoil caused
by the life in the world, that I sought refuge under the
clear sky during the rising moon in the wilderness, I called
upon that God whom people seek, some in the idols of rock,
some in the spirit of their ancestors, some in the beasts,
some in birds, some in trees of long tradition, some in
heroes, some in the bright sun. He answered me during my
quietude, through nature whose voice I heard, which was
louder than the thunderbolts. I was taught to cry on the
Name of God.
And His answer came to me as an echo of my cry. The spot
where I sat in the desert, far away from the world and its
noise, produced for me a sublime vision of the immanence
of God. The speechless rocks, it seemed, received a tongue
to answer my call. God, who is the belief of an average
being, then became for me a living identity, and my self
for that moment was lost to my own view. How can words explain
the splendor of that moment, the glory of God, which was
in its full bloom at that time? It seemed as though the
spheres played music and nature danced. The heaven of which
they talk, I saw come on earth!
TEJA. How wonderful! And then what happened?
AMIN. I cannot very well say it to you, my dearly loved
wife. It came to me as a command telling me to rise and
try to better the condition of my fellow men.
TEJA. In what way?
AMIN. In every way.
TEJA. But how?
AMIN. To warn people of the coming disasters; to waken
them to the light of truth; to help in bettering their conditions
in their life in the world; to serve them in their need;
to give them a hand as they climb to the height of the spiritual
ideal. And to remove thorns from their way.
I cannot, I cannot understand this. Why I should be called
for this great task! A trust, the weight of which trees
could not bear, mountains could not sustain. And yet, though
my soul has heard, I cannot make my mind believe it. Is
it my delusion, Teja? Do you think I have become possessed
of a spirit? What is it?
TEJA. My precious one, if you ask me, I will repeat the
same words: Thou art the man! I have seen it all along and
I have felt it, though I could not give full expression
to my thoughts.
AMIN. How can I believe this to be true, Teja, in spite
of all this experience I have had, when I think of my shortcomings
and my limitations?
TEJA. Thou art the man, Amin, who is born to serve his
fellow men, to better their conditions. You do not know
how good you have been to all: most attentive in your duties,
persevering in your labors, honest in your business dealings,
a brave soldier on the battlefield, and a wise peace-maker.
Have you not been an ideal husband to me, and a father so
kind and loving? Your respect for the aged, your affection
for those who depend upon you, and your consideration for
those to whom it is due. Besides, your generous spirit covered
under your modesty – all these things give me sufficient
reason to believe without a doubt that you are the man.
And if there was not one person in the whole world to support
my belief, I would yet believe so. For my belief in you
is my conviction.
(AMIN, moved to tears, kisses her hand and presses
it to his heart.)
AMIN. You are my inspiration, Teja, you are my strength.
(A moment's silence.)
AMIN. Now, I must leave, well-beloved, and see what can
be done. It is difficult being alone, to begin the work.
Still the One who has inspired me to work will be my guide.
(They rise; AMIN about to depart; JOHLA
JOHLA. Bibi, your uncle Humadan has come to see you.
TEJA. Show him in.
(Enter HUMADAN. TEJA goes forward to meet him.
AMIN greets and shakes hands with him.)
HUMADAN. I am needed: I am surprised! I thought nobody
in the world needed someone who is now looking at life as
the past, and seeing before him his end.
TEJA. Uncle, you must not say that The more one lives,
the more precious one becomes; for life deepens a soul.
We can always profit by your counsel, your word of advice,
dear Uncle. – Amin is lately having some strange experiences.
He feels as if he heard a voice calling him to serve his
fellow men. This has come to him since he has taken to retiring
to the solitude; sometimes he spends hours and sometimes
days in the wilderness.
HUMADAN. Good tidings! This has always been the experience
of those who have been called to serve humanity in a special
way. He is a reformer, even greater than a reformer, for
he is a prophet. (Turning to AMIN.) There is a great
task before you, my son! I am afraid you will have a hard
time. Man is the worst enemy of his best friend; he has
always proved to be so. It is the same old wine put into
a new bottle. But the world, before drinking the wine, examines
the label on the bottle, and if it is not the same label
that it is used to, it will call it a different wine.
I should not be surprised, Amin, if your most loving
friends did not turn into your bitterest enemies, as soon
as you have commenced your work. The people here in this
land are very backward; they are in a hopeless state. There
is idol-worship everywhere. Religious places have turned
into money-counters. Gaiety and merriment are the occupation
of the young; and the old indulge in superstitions. Who
could be the man, Amin, if you could not? You are the man,
I am sure. I wish I were young, to have shared some of your
troubles. But I am too old now to venture. You are fortunate,
Amin, to have your devoted wife. God be with you both, my
(TEJA embraces her uncle. HUMADAN puts his
hand on their shoulders. AMIN embraces TEJA
AMIN standing on the highway, speaking to the passers-by.
Travelers coming and going.
FIRST TRAVELER. I have heard you talk here to the travelers;
tell me to what Church you belong.
AMIN. My church is the globe, the earth is its ground,
the sky its dome.
SECOND TRAVELER. But which is your God?
AMIN. The same God who is the God of all.
THIRD TRAVELER. But you don't worship the God of our
tribe, do you?
AMIN. I worship the God of all tribes.
THIRD TRAVELER. But every tribe has its own God.
AMIN. Yes, but the God of all tribes is my God.
FOURTH TRAVELER. But what religion do you teach?
AMIN. The same one religion which has always been taught
FIRST TRAVELER. You don't mean to say you preach the
religion of our sect, for you are not our priest.
AMIN. It is not the religion of one sect; it is the religion
of all sects. It is the religion, which was revealed before;
the same is being revealed now.
FIFTH TRAVELER. But it is not the religion of our ancestors,
which you teach.
AMIN. It is the same one and only religion of truth.
It is the same religion of 'peace on earth and goodwill
to men' now given to you as a reminder.
FIFTH TRAVELER. What are your teachings:
AMIN. Quit all laziness; earn money by labor; live an
honest life, a life harmonious and peaceful. Respect your
elders; give loving care to the younger. Be charitable to
the poor; give a part of what you earn in charity. Worship
one God who is the Lord of all people. Know that you will
have to give an account of your deeds. Know that purity
is the first lesson of piety. Do not shirk your duties.
Travel even to the other end of the world if it is for learning.
Forget not your obligations; practice honesty in business.
Know that all things in earth and heaven are made for you
to make the best use of them. For man's sake is the world
created, and man is the master therein.
SIXTH TRAVELER. What nonsense! What does he know of heaven!
Has he been there: if he has been there, why then is he
still lingering here on earth?
SEVENTH TRAVELER. He is born on earth, as everyone else.
What right has he to teach others when he is only a man?
He's not a god!
FIRST COMPANION. What he says is touching. I don't see
what wrong he has said. He does not need to be other than
a man to guide man on the right path. It's absurd when one
expects a guide to drop directly from heaven. It is the
son of man who understands the difficulties of man and who
can sympathize with him. Therefore, it is man who is needed
to guide man, not an angel!
EIGHTH TRAVELER. I have known him for a long time. Is
he not the same one who used to work at the farm?
NINTH TRAVELER. I think I have seen him working as a
business agent, if I am not mistaken.
TENTH TRAVELER. Is he not the man I knew on the battlefield
during the last war? And now he is coming to tell us of
ELEVENTH TRAVELER. But who made him a priest to give
us long sermons? Has he got nothing to do at home? He has
a home with wife and children, he is not a hermit!
TWELFTH TRAVELER. No, I can't believe all this talking.
If he were real, he would show some miracle. Can he give
sight to the blind, or can he raise the dead from their
SECOND COMPANION. He need not perform wonders in order
to serve God and his fellow men. If he can inspire the ignorant
to speak words of wisdom, it is better than if he gave speech
to the dumb. If he opens the heart of a person to hear the
inner voice, it is greater than giving ears to the deaf.
If he opens the eyes of the seeking soul to reality, it
is better than giving sight to the blind. If he wakens a
mortal soul to immortality, it is greater than raising the
(AMIN sitting on a rock and resting his head on his
hands, hears all this silently. Many more persons enter.)
SEVERAL VOICES. Here he is! Here he is!
FIRST INHABITANT. You have started to work against the
religion of our forefathers; you wish to believe in another
God rather than the Gods of our tribes. You are influencing
our young men to give up the worship of our idols. – Leave
the soil of our country at once! If not, the State will
(They fight with the FOUR COMPANIONS, who try
to protect AMIN. Some try to take AMIN away
from the danger.)
AMIN. Was it for this day that Thou didst command me
to warn these people?
(AMIN is rescued from the crowd by his COMPANIONS.)
SECOND INHABITANT (holding his arms.) If you care
at all for your life, never step on this soil again!
(Many persons rejoice. Some sorrow; a few women weep.)
At Yemen. – COMPANIONS of AMIN brought
before the Court, as having trespassed upon the land.
– A CONSTABLE leads AMIN'S four COMPANIONS
before the CHIEF and his COLLEAGUES.
CONSTABLE. Sir, these men have trespassed in our country
without permission, and they come with the excuse that they
are exiles from their own land.
CHIEF. Yes, we have received a letter from the authorities
of their country saying that they must not be allowed to
enter here. (Turning to one of the four COMPANIONS.)
What have you to say about this?
FIRST COMPANION. We beg to be excused for having entered
your land, but it was inevitable. We were persecuted as
heretics by our people, and were expelled from our country.
CHIEF. What is the reason of this persecution: What have
you done against your people's religion?
FIRST COMPANION. We have done nothing against the existing
religion of our people. Our blessed leader has been speaking
for some time to those who cared to listen, of the ways
to better their condition in life, individually and collectively.
And those among them who wish to keep the simple people
of our land under their sway oppose the Message of God.
CHIEF. Where is your leader? Send for him. I should like
to see him.
FIRST COMPANION. Yes, Sir, I will go and fetch him. I
am sure he will be able to explain better to you all you
wish to know.
(The COMPANION leaves the Court. A policeman
CHIEF. What is the name of your leader? What is he? Does
he work wonders? Has he anything extraordinary in him, which
made you follow him?
SECOND COMPANION. We shall follow him, Sir, to the end
of the world, whether he takes us to heaven or hell. We
trust him too much ever to doubt him. He is to us a messenger
of God, though he for himself is most unpretentious. He
does not perform miracles; he does not claim to have any
extraordinary powers. He says, ' I am a human being as anyone
else, subject to pleasure and pain, birth and death.' The
only privilege he has is in the service for which he has
(Enter AMIN with the COMPANION, followed
by the policeman. He greets the CHIEF.)
CHIEF. What have you to say? What do you teach?
AMIN. I warn my people of the coming of that day when
man will no longer hold his position, his rank, however
high or great. Those near and dear to him will remove him
from their midst the moment that the breath leaves the body.
If life on earth is a few days only, there is a time to
come to answer for every grain one has eaten from this earth,
and to pay for every drop of water one has drunk. This world,
I say, is not a stage set for man to amuse himself; it is
a school for him to learn his lesson.
I tell them that if you will trust anyone, trust in God;
if you will depend on anyone, depend on God; if you will
confide in anyone, confide in God; if you will revere anyone,
worship God. Death is not the end of this life; death is
the bridge that unites friend with friend. Therefore, when
doing the duties honestly in this world, man must think
of that life also, which is to come.
CHIEF. All you say is quite clear to me. I do not think
any of us here would make objections to your teaching. On
the other hand, we should be only too glad to have among
us a man like you, who brings to us the knowledge, which
is the need of every soul. Truly, they say that a prophet
is not recognized in his own country. I do not see why they
had to go so far as to exile you from your country. If one
door is closed behind you, another is opened before you.
You are welcome here. I am quite sure my Colleagues, who
are the principal authorities of our State, think the same
as I do.
COLLEAGUES. Yes, certainly we do.
CHIEF. We shall give you all facilities to stay here
among us, to give the advantage of your teaching to our
people, who, I am sure, will be immensely benefited by it.
Besides, we shall seek your inspiring guidance in the reconstruction
of our Commonwealth, considering your coming now, at the
moment of our social and political crisis, as the hand of
AMIN. I could wish nothing better from you than to be
of some service to you, Sir, and to your people, to whom
I feel indebted for having allowed me to live among you.
I sought refuge with you and you have confided to me the
affairs of your homeland. I will try my best to prove worthy
of your trust.
(Exit AMIN with COMPANIONS.)
AMIN sitting in the seat of honor. The CHIEF
and his COLLEAGUES seated to his right and left.
FOUR COMPANIONS sitting behind him. Coffee served.
CHIEF (to all.) Here we have among us Amin, who
has won our hearts, who has illuminated our souls. Our trust
in him is eternal; no time however long can develop that
confidence in our hearts, which he has kindled in us in
a moment. We see before us in our social and political activities
a promise, as there is no problem that remains unsolved
once Amin throws his light upon it. Things, which seemed
difficult he makes easy for us; things subtle become simple
in his presence. He tells us nothing new; all he says to
us appears as if we have always known it, and yet we were
not conscious of it. Amin is our light, not only in life's
dark corners, but he is the torch that illuminates our path.
COLLEAGUE. All you have said, Chief is true. We must
value and appreciate Amin's presence among us by trying
to understand him better, and by trying to follow all he
teaches us more closely.
CONSTABLE (to CHIEF.) There is an envoy from our
neighboring country who wishes to see you, Sir.
CHIEF. Yes, send him in.
(Enter ENVOY; greets the CHIEF.)
COLLEAGUE. Please take a seat.
CHIEF. What has brought you here?
ENVOY. I am sent by the authorities of my State, Sir,
with a summons. We ask you, Sir, to give us our criminals
who have fled from our country.
CHIEF. What crime have they committed?
ENVOY. They are accused of every crime, Sir. All crimes
put together make one crime, and that crime is the one of
which they are accused.
CHIEF. But what crime?
ENVOY. A crime beyond words.
CHIEF. But I want to know what crime.
ENVOY. The crime is beyond comprehension, Sir.
COLLEAGUE. Do you know before whom you are standing?
This is Amin, now the head of our Commonwealth, to whom
you have brought a summons.
(ENVOY is frightened, with starting eyes and trembling
like a leaf, turning his head right and left.)
CHIEF. Go and tell the authorities of your State that
your accusations are unfounded. Amin is now the leader of
our people in their worldly and spiritual strife.
ENVOY. Then I will go, Sir, and tell my people all you
have said. Thank you very much. Goodbye.
(ENVOY goes out hastily. He falls down on the way;
grasps the leg of the POLICEMAN.)
ENVOY (to POLICEMAN.) Come along.
POLICEMAN (with his hand on his neck.) Go.
(AMIN looks sad.)
FOURTH COMPANION. Our Master, I feel your sadness over
the stupidity of our people. I cannot help feeling, since
our hearts are focused on yours.
AMIN. Yes, you are right, but it is a passing cloud;
it will pass away in time. All balances up in the end, cruelty
on their part and kindness on yours.
What I feel deeply, and very often, is that the call
for service came to me on the Hera mountain, and it was
meant that my people should be enlightened and helped. And
is spite of all the good work which is being done here,
I continually feel that something remains undone. And so
long as that work is not attended to, I shall not consider
my task accomplished, I shall always feel a sore spot in
CHIEF. We will spare no effort, our Teacher! Our means,
our energy, even our lives we will place at your command,
if we can assist you in accomplishing your task.
FOURTH COMPANION. We are ready to answer your call, Master,
even if it be with our life's sacrifice. Command any of
us to go and spread your ideas among those who do not understand
AMIN. No; I will not risk your lives; you are too precious
to me. I only ask of you to let me go to deliver His Message
to my people.
CHIEF. No, Amin, that cannot be; if you go, we shall
be your bodyguard; if harm comes to you, we shall be your
shield. For death in a holy cause will be our liberation.
(AMIN is deeply touched by their readiness to serve.)
AMIN. Let us all go, for it is meant that we should share
one another's joys and sorrows.
CHIEF (to AMIN.) We are most happy that you have
granted our request. (To COLLEAGUES.) Prepare and
be ready to start on the journey to guard our Leader and
to defend our Cause.
(All stand and shout, waving their hands: Amin victorious!
Exit all, happy and enthusiastic.)
Mecca. – Commotion at the Town Hall. People rushing
hither and thither restlessly. Enter SHERIF of Mecca.
The GOVERNORS receive him
SHERIF. I have just heard the news that we are threatened
with invasion by our neighboring State. From one source
I have word that they are already on the way. And we are
not in the least ready to defend our land. Alas, we have
not among our young men another Amin.' One man with the
Spirit is greater than an army.' How we miss Amin at this
time of our need!
FIRST GOVERNOR. Yes, if only he had not become so crazy
over his religious fad!
SHERIF. Now what can we do? Have we any means of defense?
SECOND GOVERNOR. We are not prepared. We did not know
of it until this morning. Nothing can be done.
SHERIF. But what can we do to maintain the pride of our
SECOND GOVERNOR. Pride! If we have nothing to be proud
of, what is it to us?
SHERIF (sadly.) These last few years we have gone
from bad to worse!
THIRD GOVERNOR. Worse! We cannot fall any lower!
SOLDIER. Sir, a large force of armed men have almost
reached the gate of Mecca.
SHERIF. Now what do you think we should do?
FOURTH GOVERNER. Surrender without hesitation!
(Enter women in a state of alarm. SOLDIER enters.)
SOLDIER. They are entering our gate; The Town Hall is
(AMIN enters in general's uniform, his bodyguard following
him. SHERIF with the GOVERNORS greets him.)
SHERIF. We surrender, sir, being unprepared for your
(Enter the CHIEF.)
CHIEF. At the head of our army is Amin, the one who was
an exile from your land, whom you threw out of your country
with insults and made homeless. His companions were caused
all manner of injury by you, and those who sided with him
were wounded and some killed.
SHERIF. We are sorry for all that was done by our people
to Amin. We are willing to pay you the sum of money you
CHIEF. Before you pay us any money, I ask you to deliver
to us all Amin's adversaries who have shown him hostility
in the past.
(Criminals are brought. Some are agitated, some trembling,
some with stern faces, some repentant.)
CHIEF (to AMIN.) Here are the men who have
tormented your life and that of those near and dear to you.
Dictate the sentence that must be passed on them.
(The criminals listen attentively, looking at
AMIN to hear what he will say.)
AMIN. I have forgotten all they have done to me. I forgive
and ask the Lord to forgive them.
(All are surprised. The GOVERNORS are touched,
the SHERIF is moved to tears. They bring to AMIN
sacks of gold to pay the war indemnity.)
AMIN (turning to the CHIEF). Have we come here
to take money from them? Do you wish any material gain from
CHIEF. No, our Prophet! We have accompanied you to be
with you. If only we have you, our Master! No money or territory
is our object in coming here; it is to serve you.
SHERIF (to AMIN.) You are the pride of our people
and your absence from here was the cause of our decline.
Nothing would please us more than if you took this whole
territory of Hedjaz and we shall feel most honored to proclaim
(The GOVERNORS bring crown and scepter, and
the SHERIF holds them before AMIN.)
SHERIF. Here are crown and scepter for you Amin.
AMIN. Much as I appreciate your asking me to become King,
I will not do so. It is not for the kingdom I have come
here; it is to serve you, my people, whose welfare is my
heart's deep desire. I have come to deliver to you God's
GOVERNOR. I beg your pardon, Sir, where can we find someone
as inspired as you to govern our people, to control our
affairs? You appeared as an enemy and prove to be our friend.
SHERIF. What Message do you wish to give us? We are ready
to accept it from someone so selfless as you, Amin!
AMIN. Believe in one God. Remove the gods of the Kaba,
which are but idols of rock. Consider love greater than
law. Know that all men are equal before God; perform your
prayers therefore, all standing before His divine Majesty:
rich or poor, saint or sinner, all on one level. Tell your
sorrows to your Lord, if you are sad; bring your repentance
to your God, if you are repentant. Disgrace not your soul
by prostrating yourselves before idols, for even man is
limited. To God alone all praise is due.
SHERIF. We accept your Message, Prophet, from the bottom
of our hearts; we shall hand it down to posterity. We witness
that there is one God and that you, Prophet, are His Messenger.
It is not your sword, which has won the victory over our
Hearts, it is your noble spirit. Therefore, though you
have given us our freedom by refusing to rule us, we shall
maintain your reign forever over our souls.
AMIN. I am a man, one like any of you, subject to pain
and death. Remember not to make of me an ideal, which you
will not be able to uphold long. Raise me not beyond my
limit, that you may not have to throw me down one day through
disappointment. Consider me your brother, an honor which
I value most. I leave my word with you, for you to guard
the Message against all opposition. I leave this sacred
manuscript with you, for you to hand over to the coming
generation, uncorrupted. My success is not in earthly gain;
renunciation is my real victory. (To the CHIEF.)
I bless them all, but I will come with you who have been
my friends in need.
(CHIEF and Bodyguards, aloud: Hail to Amin, our Faithful