Tit for Tat

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By: Khalid Hafeez

The Roman Emperor is not much interested in listening to what a war captive might say. Yet the slight factor of gaining some information and the greater factor of ridiculing him changed his mind. “Bring him in,” says the Emperor. But this prisoner is not like the rest. He is quite outspoken. He is not timid at all. The general, who presented him for appreciation for their effort, now feared a reprimanding from the Emperor.

The Emperor asked some questions. They were understandably sarcastic. They had more scoffing than quarry. The Emperor never expected such straight answers, though. And the prisoner didn’t have the slightest fear. By now the Emperor started feeling awkward and insulted. This was not quite what he and his men had expected. One of the outraged generals stood and walked to the prisoner. He slapped on the prisoner’s face. The prisoner sighed with pain, “Muaviah (Raziallahu Anhu)! I see you in Allah’s court of justice. You are our Ameer, and we are being wasted here like this.”

The swift intelligence conveyed these words along with other information about the prisoner. Muaviah (Raziallahu Anhu) was well aware and strategically well prepared. He arranged to pay the heavy ransom to get the prisoner free. This was not it. He assigned the task to a Commander to bring the person in Damascus, who dared slapping a Muslim in the Roman Emperor’s Palace. 

A smart scheme was made. The commander disguised as a trader made several visits to Rome and met many courtiers. Very soon he wasn’t just any outsider, but a respectable trader with a generous wallet for many courtiers. He also met the criminal and offered a dinner. The Roman General didn’t have the slightest inkling of what might happen when he would finish his drink. By the time he gained consciousness, he found himself tied with ropes. He could make out where he was. The cold and humid surroundings and the jerking wooden floor beneath could give the idea of a boat. He had to wait for a few more days in the boat. Soon he was in a house - not so impressive for a palace. It was just bigger. For the first time his blind fold was taken off and he could see a person sitting in front clad in the simplest of clothes. Ameer Muaviah (Raziallahu Anhu) and his comrades looked solemn. Nothing looked familiar except a face. And yes, how could he forget this one whom he had slapped in Rome. Ameer Muaviah (Raziallahu Anhu), ordered the person to slap the Roman commander in custody. 

And the person did slap on the face of the Roman Commander. He did off course keep the balance and didn’t exceed the limit. Just one disgracing slap was enough. That showed the world that the Muslims could guard their honor and they knew how to do it well. Snatching their enemy from under their very nose was within their reach. 

Later, the same person was given presents and returned with honor to Rome. On his way back he did, however, carried a letter from Ameer Muaviah (Raziallahu Anhu) to the Roman Emperor.

The letter read:

To the Emperor of Rome,

We are prepared to grab your powerful general from your fortified strong forts and to avenge for the wrong he did to our men.

The Roman and their kings were shuddered with chill sent by the words for the centuries to come.