An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you."
The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. "I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!"
One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three 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. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by-still nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.
Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful-in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey nice try."
When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. "My, 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 were laughing and making fun of him. 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 I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. 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 courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!"
The Prophet taught, "Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to Al-Fajur (i.e. wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fajur (wickedness) leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar." [Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8:116]
As per the saying of Prophet Mohamed (pbuh): "The three signs of a hypocrite are: lying, betraying trust and going back on his word (not fulfilling a promise)." Lying only allowed: Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) said: "Lying is not permitted except in three cases: a man speaking to his wife to make her happy; lying in times of war; and lying in order to reconcile between people." (Tirmidhi)
Once a man came to Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, I have many bad habits. Which one of them should I give up first?" Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) said, "Give up telling lies first and always speak the truth." The man promised to do so and never again commit another transgression and went home. At night the man was about to go out to steal. Before setting out, he thought for a moment about the advice of Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) and his promise. "If tomorrow Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) asks me where have I been, what shall I say? Shall I say that I went out stealing? No, I cannot say that. But nor can I lie. If I tell the truth, everyone will start hating me and call me a thief. I would be punished for stealing." So the man decided not to steal that night, and gave up this bad habit of stealing. Next day, he felt like drinking wine, when he was about to do so, he said to himself, "What shall I say to Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) if he asks me what did I do during the day? I cannot tell a lie, and if I speak the truth people will hate me, because a Muslim is not allowed to drink wine." And so he gave up the idea of drinking wine. In this way, whenever the man thought of doing something bad, he remembered the advice of Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) to tell the truth at all times. One by one, he gave up all his bad habits and became a good Muslim and a very good person. If you always speak the truth, you can be a good person, a good Muslim whom Allah (SWT) likes and favours. If Allah (SWT) - our Creator - is pleased with us, HE will reward us with Heaven. This is a place of permanent joy and happiness.
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