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Ibn Es Semmak And Er Reshid
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Ibn Es Semmak and Er Reshid[161]

It is related that Ibn es Semmak[162] went in one day to Er Reshid and the Khalif, being athirst, called for drink. So his cup was brought him, and when he took it, Ibn es Semmak said to him, “Softly, O Commander of the Faithful! If thou wert denied this draught, with what wouldst thou buy it?” “With the half of my kingdom,” answered the Khalif; and Ibn es Semmak said, “Drink and God prosper it to thee!” Then, when he had drunken, he said to him, “If thou wert denied the going forth of the draught from thy body, with what wouldst thou buy its issue?” “With the whole of my kingdom,” answered Er Reshid: and Ibn es Semmak said, “O Commander of the Faithful, verily, a kingdom that weigheth not in the balance against a draught [of water] or a voiding of urine is not worth the striving for.” And Haroun wept.

[Footnote 161] Breslau Text, vol. vii. pp. 260-1, Night dlxviii.

[Footnote 162] Aboulabbas Mohammed Ibn Sabih, surnamed Ibn es Semmak (son of the fishmonger), a well-known Cufan jurisconsult and ascetic of the time. He passed the latter part of his life at Baghdad and enjoyed high favour with Er Reshid, as the only theological authority whom the latter could induce to promise him admission to Paradise.