Reach for the Light

Story

Forgiveness bathes the soul

Once upon a time, in a quaint little town, out in the countryside, there lived two little boys who were bosom friends. One of the boys, Hammad, was the son of the richest man in the town. The other, Ebad, the complete opposite.

Both boys attended the same school and never discriminated against each other. However, their personalities were very different. Hammad was kind as well as generous, whenever he saw anyone in trouble he would go and help them out.

He helped old ladies cross the road, picked up trash in the parks, gave away his lunch money to anyone who was hungry, and performed many other such small acts of kindness.

With Ebad he was always most generous, whenever he got a new toy he would always share it with him, and even gave away his toys to him many times. However, he was a bit of a show-off, he never forgot to tell people about all his new stuff and especially Ebad.

On the other hand, Ebad, who had to face poverty, never had new clothes or toys. He hoarded everything he had, he was selfish and sometimes mean to those whom he didn’t like.

It so happened that one time, Ebad found a jewelry case lying on the edge of the school ground. He was very happy and showed it to Hammad. He explained his plans to sell it and get a lot of money for it. “I will be able to buy a new bike, or a backpack, or even both with that much money!” he exclaimed excitedly.

Hammad frowned and said, “You shouldn’t do that! It’s not right. You should try to find the owner and return it instead.”

Ebad was furious and said, “That’s all well and fine for you! You’re rich! You’re always showing off your new toy or trinket! You’ll never know what it’s like to be me! I knew you were never my real friend! I wish you end up poor as dirt, like me and find out what its like!” he yelled and stormed off.

Hammad was stricken and tried to apologize or reason with him many times, however, from then on Ebad refused to speak with him. Soon years passed, and the once bosom friends had grown apart.

It just so happened that a year after their fight, Hammad’s father’s business went bankrupt. They lost all their money and their house and had to move into a small crofters Cottage. Despite this, Hammad’s kind nature never changed. He kept on helping those he could.

Seeing this, rather than repent his mistake, Ebad grew more bitter. Soon, Ebad’s mother became ill, and being unable to pay for expensive medicine, she died. Ebad was devastated and his behavior changed from sullen, to cruel and contemptuous. 

A few months later, Ebad’s father had a stroke of luck, and he found a gold mine on his family land out in the mountains. Ebad’s family became rich, almost immediately. Ebad used his newfound wealth to get lots of friends and make fun of Hammad and his circumstances.

Over the years, he led his friends in bullying and humiliating Hammad whenever he could. “Look, here comes the fakir! Quick, if you have any spare change, give it to him, it can count as charity.” He would sneer and throw coins at Hammad’s head mockingly.

Hammad was hurt, but he always made excuses for Ebad. “He’s going through a lot, I need to be understanding.”

One day, Hammad was walking through the poor areas of town, to work at his part-time job in the junkyard, when he came across shouts coming from a nearby alley. He stopped and upon hearing a familiar voice, he ran into the alley. He saw Ebad, dressed expensively, being held up by his collar. A few members of the local gang surrounded him and were in the process of stealing from him. Hammad immediately stepped up and said, “Oi, I hear Officer Shahid passing through the alley across the way.”

“What?!” the gang members, became afraid and dropped Ebad. Ebad quickly backed up and moved to the mouth of the alley. One of them, however held up a hand and said,“Don’t worry, guys the little brat is lying, Officer Shahid is off work today, I checked. Oi, kid, scram, we only have business with the rich brat.”

“No, no, I can’t let you hurt him.” said Hammad with a squeaky voice, shaking, but staying in front of Ebad.

“All right, they’re asking for a beating boys, get’em!” The gang leapt for them and Ebad turned tail and ran away. Meanwhile, Hammad got beaten up by the gang.

Half an hour later, Ebad returned with the police. They found Hammad bloody, and collapsed across the ground beaten to a pulp.

He was immediately moved and taken to be treated. Ebad’s father was extremely disappointed in him and scolded him harshly for being in such a neighbourhood and for abandoning Hammad. The doctors reported that Hammad’s condition was critical. Ebad felt extremely guilty and sorrowful for his cowardly behaviour. He prayed earnestly for Hammad’s recovery.

Two days later, Hammad woke up and Ebad’s father apologized to him. Ebad was too ashamed to show his face. Ebad’s father offered to give Hammad a scholarship to any university Hammad liked in reward for saving his soon and Hammad accepted. Within three months, the boys had their final exams and Hammad moved away to study in University.

Four years passed, and Ebad cleaned up his act. He tried his best to be as kind and helpful as Hammad. He studied hard and attended a good university, after which he joined his father’s office. One day, he was coming out of the office, when he saw a handsomely dressed young gentleman step out of a carriage.

The man said to the coachman, “Thanks, my good man, I will be back in an hour’s time, please spend the time as you please.” Ebad was astonished to hear the voice, for the young man was Hammad!

“Hammad?” he asked before he could stop himself.

Hammad looked over and a smile broke out over his face. “Ebad, my old friend! How have you been?” he asked, hurrying over and holding out his hand to shake.

Ebad shook his hand and replied, “Good, how about you?”

“I’ve been well! I was just going to have a meeting your father about a joint venture.” He replied affably.

“Joint venture?!” Ebad exclaimed. “Yes”, Hammad replied, “I own my own tea company now!” he grinned excitedly. “I still have some time before the meeting, so why don’t we have lunch and catch-up?” he suggested.

“Sure.” Ebad nodded.

They went into a nearby restaurant and ordered lunch.

“So what-“ Hammad stated, when he was interrupted.

“Sorry!” blurted out Ebad, standing up and bowing at the waist to show his sincerity. “What for?!” exclaimed Hammad, puzzled.

“I was a horrible friend and I hurt you lots of times in school. I also abandoned you to the thugs and ran away. I know what I did was unforgivable, but I hope you can find it in yourself to forgive me someday.” He whispered.

“Oh! Ebad, I forgave you for that a long time ago. Plus, that time, I never blamed you for leaving me there, plus you came back with the police didn’t you? It was the sensible thing to do, anyone would have done the same.” Said Hammad gently, with a small smile.

“No! You’re wrong, not everyone. You wouldn’t have done that…” Ebad trailed off.

“I’m a little less sensible than the average person, you know that!” Hammad winked and clapped his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Now let’s forget about it and eat! I’m starving!”

“I really am sorry, you know. Thanks for forgiving me, even though I don’t deserve it.” Ebad muttered.

Hammad looked up and the carefree expression on his face faded away for the first time, “Ebad, when I was young, your taunts used to hurt a lot, but I was able to forgive you because I knew you were also in pain. When you left me that time, I was not surprised…” he sighed.

“I was surprised that you came back though. And that told me that my honest friend was still there, under the pride and the bluster. I tried to never hold on to hatred and anger, because all it leads to is misery. I’m glad you’ve apologized but I had forgiven you regardless, because forgiveness bathes the soul of the forgiver and the forgiven both. I’m not an angel myself, I used to show off my wealth to you, even knowing you were envious. I’ve since learned better, but it’s not like I’m perfect.” He continued.

“Regardless, thank you for forgiving me.” Said Ebad with finality. “Friends?”

“Friends for life! You’ll never be rid of me.” replied Hammad with a grin.

Thus forth, the two became fast friends and remained friends throughout their lives.

The End

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