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Once there was an emperor who needed to choose his successor. So, he decided to call all the young people in the kingdom and announced, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. So, I am going to give each one of you a seed today- a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then choose the next emperor based on the plants that you bring!"
So, everyone took a seed and started planting, including a boy called Ling. After about four weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Six months went by and Ling heard that everyone else had grown various types of trees, plants and flowers. But still, he had nothing.
Then, the day came when all the youth of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Although afraid, Ling went to the castle anyway. There, he was amazed at the variety of beautiful plants grown by the other youths. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kids laughed at him.
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!" All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. "The emperor knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!"
When Ling got to the front, the emperor asked his name. "My name is Ling," he replied. All the kids began laughing, but the emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!" Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor?
Then the emperor said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But what you didn't know was that I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you have brought me trees, plants and flowers. All except Ling! When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the only one I know fit to be the new emperor!"
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Verily, this world is sweet and appealing, and Allah placed you as vicegerents therein; He will see what you will do. So, be careful of [what you do in] this world." (Muslim)
"Honesty leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Islamic Bulletin
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