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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Hani Shah Mureed

Once upon a time, there lived a charming young noblewoman from the Rind tribe, famed for her intelligence and strength of character. Her name was Hani. and she was engaged to Shah Mureed, the son of the Kahiri tribal chief, famed for being a fine swordsman, and as the Lord of the Iron Bow, for his bow was made entirely out of iron!

Shah Mureed went hunting with his friend and most trusted general, Mir Chaakar. They then decided to pay a visit to the town where both of their fiancées resided. Customs did not allow engaged couples to meet one another before marriage. However, both of them were curious about the woman they would wed. So, the two friends decided to visit each other’s fiancees and report back to one another.

Both women served water to their respective guests, who, of course, were thirsty after a long day. Mureed gulped down the water, leaving him a little sick. Hani, however, added a clean dwarf leaf to the bowl of water she served to Mir Chakkar. A little confused, Mir sipped his water slowly. Later on, Mir and Mureed met one another again and narrated their stories to one another. Mir realised Hani’s intelligence at that point. Anyhow, time passed, and this incident was forgotten. It later happened that a small huddle of noblemen and the generals were enjoying a mehfil of poetry. Mir Chakar asked each man in attendance to make a vow for which they could have no qualms about giving up their lives. Mureed vowed that he was so much in love with Hani that he would grant anything anyone asked of him the day he wedded her. Mir solemnly swore never to tell a lie from that point forward. Mir tests each of the noblemen - had they made vows and meant them, or was it done out of mere drunkenness. Eventually, they each passed their test. A nobleman even slayed his son for touching his beard!

On the day of the much-awaited wedding, Mir decided to put Mureed to the test. He asked him for Hani. Shaken and heartbroken, he drowned in the quagmire of broken dreams with his beloved as he chose to let Hani go rather than break a wow. Following this, Hani married Mir, whilst Mureed decided to spend his days reminiscing the days he had shared with her, and writing poetry in her name. The news of Mureed’s love for the chief’s wife spread like wildfire through the region. Mureed’s father, Shah Mubarak, advised him against these brazen expressions of love for his ex-fiancee, now married - however, he decided to answer the warning with a poem too which spoke of alleged aloofness, love, and loneliness, implying that his father, too would have been in a similar state had he fallen in love with a woman like Hani.

Mureed decided to leave this world behind and spend his days and nights in prayer. Opting for the path of servitude, he travelled to the faraway land of Arabia, spending nearly three decades in the holy cities of Makkah and Madina. When he finally decided to return home, his people failed to recognise him. He began to loiter around Mir’s palace, hoping to catch a glance of Hani’s face. Whilst she recognised him, she did not acknowledge it, for she knew it would be improper. A few days later, an archery competition was held for the nobles of the tribe as that was one of the hobbies of the chief, Mir Chakar. Mureed wished to take part. However, the nobles treated him with contempt. They wondered why an ascetic was so keen on archery. Anyhow, Mureed was handed a bow. As he drew an arrow, the bow snapped. Mureed broke two more similar wooden bows, which raised a few eyebrows. They pulled out Mureed’s iron bow to confirm or deny their suspicions.

As his beloved bow jug, found his way into his palms again, Mureed caressed it gently, once again reunited with his passion. Since Mureed had left, nobody had touched the bow because no man could bend it. Mureed, the master of the bow, drew three arrows and shot them right on target. Sure of his identity, to be certain, the noblemen send word to Hani. They asked her for any marks her childhood friend and former fiancee may have on him, potentially identifying him. She mentioned two scars, one on his thigh and another on his brow. His identity was confirmed, and his return was announced. Mir had never been able to consummate his marriage with Hani. Upon hearing of his friend’s return, he told her that should she wish to Mureed, she was free. Overjoyed at the prospect of being reunited with the only man she had ever loved, Hani set off at once.

She found him, told him of the situation, and expressed her wish to be with him again. To her surprise, he rebuffed her. He told her that he had long ago transcended from indulging in mortal love to love for God. Losing her had led him to God’s path. He simply could not choose her again. Mounting on a white she-camel from his father’s herd, Mureed left the village and was never seen or heard from again.

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