Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Muharram 7, 1446 H
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Stories from the Book of Misers (3)


12) Stories of Mohammed ibn Abi Al-Mu’mal:

Was a miser who had interesting theories regarding food and water. He said that the worst enemies of bread were condiments as it made people eat more. He believed that if people drank more water while eating, it would be better for their health as it meant less food entering their stomachs, hence less chance of being stuffed.

Water is also a good indicator of how full the person is. However, doctors won’t give such an advice as it would put them out of business! He was quote saying: “If food was as cheap as water, people would’ve eaten less.”

When he had guests in his house, he’d notice the most gluttonous or the timidest and ask them about a matter that would take long to explain- preferably a subject that needs head and hand gestures to keep him busy from eating. Also, when sharing a common plate, he’d pretend to be eating with the rest, while in reality he’d only be tearing food into small pieces so to put people off eating.

Once they stop, he’d devour the rest of the food saying: “Eating and drinking should be done at intervals!” If his friends passed by early during the day, he’d invite them for a cup of wine on empty stomachs, numbering it’s many benefits: “it kill worms, relaxes, increases appetite, detoxes the body and prevent fullness”. As expected, many would be full after that, which makes him the happiest; he’d enjoyed the company without wasting a meal.

To avoid feeding his noon visitors, he’d ask them what they’d had for lunch. Most of them would feel shy and obliged to lie about having just ate before visiting him. He’d then insist on them having something extra and when they refuse, he’d call his servant to bring them something to snack on.

13) Story of Abu Yaqoob Al-Daqnan:

He used to boast that his family never missed eating meat since he owned money. Every Friday, he’d buy beef for a Dirham and for a sixth of that he’d get: onions, aubergine, squash, and carrots (when in season). He’d then cook everything as a stew and divide the pot as follows: on Saturday they’d eat the sauce with bread. On Sunday the onions. On Monday the carrots. On Tuesday the squash. On Wednesday the aubergine and finally the meat on Thursday.

14) A miser called Sulieman Al-Kathry - he was called Kathry for the abundance of money he owned but never spent- was blamed for being a grump who rarely laughed. He answered: “When a man laughs then he’d be in a good mood which means spending senselessly.”

15) There was a man who was so stingy that people appointed him the Imam of all misers. When a Dirham reached his hand, he’d say to it: “How many lands you’d travelled and pouches you’d left! How many idles you’d raised and nobles you’d tired! I promise that you’d never get stripped or exposed to light!” and he’d throw it in his pouch and adds: “Stay in a place where you never get belittled, harassed or humiliated!”. And the coin would never leave his pouch. When he died, his son came and took over his house and possessions. He demanded to see his father’s food- where corruption always starts. They pointed to a piece of cheese that had deep lines from being wiped down with bread instead of being cut. The son was horrified by his father’s indulgence and declared that he should’ve wiped the cheese from a greater distance.

(To be continued....)

Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.

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