STORY IX. The sincere repentance of Nasuh.
Ayaz, in weighing the pros and cons in regard to pardoning the courtiers,
remarks that professions of faith and penitence when contradicted by acts are
worthless, according to the text, "If ye ask them who hath created the
heavens and the earth, they will say 'God;' yet they devise lies."
1 And in illustration of this he tells a story of a faithless husband
who retired to a secret chamber ostensibly to say his prayers, but really to
carry on an intrigue with a slave-girl, and the falsity of whose pretences was
demonstrated by ocular proof of his condition. In like manner, on the day of
resurrection man's hands and eyes and feet will bear witness against him of the
evil actions done by him, thus confuting his pretences to piety. The test of a
sincere repentance is abhorrence of past sins and utter abandonment of all
pleasure in them, the old love for sin being superseded by the new love for
holiness. Such a repentance was that of Nasuh. Nasuh in his youth disguised
himself in female attire and obtained employment as attendant at the women's
baths, where he used to carry on shameful intrigues with some of the women who
frequented the bath. At last, however, his eyes were opened to the wickedness
of his conduct, and be went to a holy man and besought him to pray for him. The
holy man, imitating the long-suffering of the "Veiler of sins" did
not so much as name his sin, but prayed, saying, "God give thee repentance
of the sin thou knowest!" The prayer of that holy man was accepted,
because the prayers of such an one are the same as God's own will, according to
the tradition, "My servant draws nigh to me by pious works till I love
him; and when I love him I am his ear, his eye, his tongue, his foot, his hand;
and by me he hears, sees, talks, walks, and feels. "Nasuh then returned to
the bath a truly repentant man; but soon afterwards one of the women
frequenting the bath lost a valuable jewel, and the king gave order that all
persons connected with the bath should be stripped and searched. When the
officers came to the bath to execute this order Nasuh was overwhelmed with
fear, for he knew that if his sex were discovered he would certainly be put to
death. In his fear he called upon God for deliverance, and swooned with fear
and became beside himself, so that his natural self was annihilated, and he
became a new creature, even as a corpse rising from the grave. When he came to
himself he found that the lost jewel had been found, and those who had
suspected him came and begged his pardon. Shortly afterwards the king's
daughter sent for him to come and wash her head; but, in spite of her
imperative commands, he refused to place himself again in the way of
temptation, lest he might fall again, and God might "make easy to him the
path to destruction." 2
Man's members will bear witness against him on the day of judgement, and
confute his claims to piety.
On the resurrection day all secrets will be disclosed;
Yea, every guilty one will be convicted by himself.
Hand and foot will bear testimony openly
Before the Almighty concerning their owner's sins.
Hand will say, "I stole such and such things;"
Lip will say, "I asked for such and such things."
Foot will say, "I went after my own desires;"
Arm will say, "I embraced the harlot."
Eye will say, "I looked after forbidden things;"
Ear will say, "I listened to evil talk."
Thus the man will be shown to be a liar from head to foot,
Since his own members will prove him to be a liar.