I was so absorbed in the Thought of ….
The Moghul Emperor, Akbar, was one day out hunting in the forest. When it was time for evening prayer he dismounted, spread his mat on the earth, and knelt to pray in the manner of devout Muslims everywhere.
Now it was precisely at this time that a peasant woman, perturbed because her husband had left home that morning and hadn’t returned, went rushing by, anxiously searching for him. In her preoccupation she did not notice the kneeling figure of the Emperor and tripped over him, then got up and without a word or apology rushed farther into the forest.
Akbar was annoyed at this interruption, but being a good Muslim, he observed the rule of speaking to no one during the prayer.
At just about the time that his prayer was over, the woman returned, joyful in the company of her husband, whom she had found. She was surprised and frightened to see the Emperor and his entourage there. Akbar gave vent to his anger against her and shouted, “Explain your disrespectful behaviour or you will be punished.”
The woman suddenly turned fearless, looked into the Emperor’s eyes and said, “Your majesty, I was so absorbed in the thought of my husband that I did not even see you here, not even when, as you say, I stumbled over you. Now while you were at prayer, you were absorbed in One who is infinitely more precious than my husband. And how is it you noticed me?”
The Emperor was shamed into silence and later confided to his friends that a peasant woman, who was neither a scholar nor a Mullah, had taught him the meaning of prayer.
‘Successful indeed are the Believers, those who offer their salaat (Prayers) with all solemnity, humility, and full submission.’ (Qur’an – Surah Mu’minoon verses 1-2)