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PEARLS OF THE FAITH: 7. AL-MAUMIN, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Ibn sawa, lord of bahrien, in the field
Last Line: In truthfulness of act be our faith seen.
Subject(s): God; Islam

Al-Maumin! "Faithful," fast, and just is he,
And loveth such as live in verity.

Ibn Sâwa, Lord of Bahrien, in the field
Captured a Sheikh, an Arab of the hills,
Sayid-bin-Tayf; and the king's oath was passed
That each tenth man of all the captives die
Together with their chieftains, for the war
Waxed fierce, and hearts of men were turned to flame
So led they Sayid forth before the camp
At Azan; and a eunuch of the guard,
Savage and black, stood with his haick uprolled
Back to the armpit, and the scimetar's edge
Naked to strike.
But suddenly the king
Inquired, "Art thou not he gave me to drink,
Hunting gazelles, before the war began?"
"Yea, I am he!' said Sayid.
Quoth the king,
"Ask not thy life; but ask some other boon,
That I may pay my debt."
Sayid replied,
"Death is not terrible to me who die
Red with this unbelieving blood of thine;
But there hath come a firstborn in my tent;
Fain would I see my son's face for a day,
Before mine eyes are sealed. Lend me my life,
To hold as something borrowed from thy hand,
Which I will bring again."
"Ay!" laughed the king,
"If one should answer for it with his own.
Show me thy hostage!"
"Let me stand his bond,"
Spake one on whom the lot of mercy fell—
Ishâk of Tayf, a gallant youth and fair—
"I am his sister's son; bind ye my arms,
And set free Sayid, that he ride at speed,
And see his firstborn's face, and come again."

So Sayid went free again, seeking his home.
But in the camp they mocked that faithful friend,
Saying, Lo! as a fool thou diest now,
Staking thy life upon an Arab's word.
Why should he haste, to abide the bitter blade?
Will the scared jackal try the trap again;
The hawk once limed return unto the snare?
Cry to the desert-wind to turn and come,
But call not Sayid."
Ishâk only smiled,
And said, "He is a Muslim, he will come!"

The days passed, Sayid came not, and they led
The hostage forth; for Ishâk now must die;
But still he smiled, saying, "Till sunset's hour
Slay me not, for at sunset he will come."

So fell it, for the sun had touched the palms,
And that black swordsman stood again in act
To strike, when Sayid's white mare, galloping in,
Drew steaming breath before the royal tent;
And Sayid, leaping from the saddle, kissed
His kinsman's eyes, and gently spake to all,
"Labbayki! I am here."
Then said the king,
"Never before was known a deed like this
That one should stake his life upon a word;
The other ride to death as to a bride.
Live, and be friends of Ibn Sâwa, but speak!
Whence learned ye these high lessons?"
Ishâk spake,
"We are believers in the book which saith,
'Fulfill your covenants, if ye covenant;
For God is witness! Break no word with men
Which God hath heard; and surely He hears all.'"

That verse the king bade write in golden script
Over the palace gate; and he and his
Followed the Faith.

Ya! Allah-al-Maumin!
In truthfulness of act be our faith seen.

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