Close this search box.

olive jar during the reign of Harun al-Rashid

olive jar during the reign of Harun al-Rashid

Table of Contents

The events of this story took place almost a thousand years ago. It is the story of the olive jar, or as some know it, the story of the gold jar. It is considered one of the Islamic children’s stories. Its events took place during the reign of the just and righteous Caliph Harun al-Rashid. This king, who was striving for the sake of God one year and another year performing Hajj to the House of God forbid, on foot from the land of Persia and renewed Baghdad to the land of the Two Holy Mosques.

olive jar

There was a merchant named Ali in Baghdad, where the king lived. Ali needed to travel on a long journey, so he sold almost everything he owned and rented his house.

The problem was how to leave his money in a safe place before traveling, so he thought of putting his money, which was a thousand gold pieces, in a jar (bowl), covered them with olives, closed the jar well, and took it to a friend to leave it in trust with him. He was also a friend of a merchant, when he reached a friend.

He told him that he was traveling and wanted him to keep that jar of olives, so his friend agreed to this and took it from him and told him that he would keep it for him in a storeroom and gave him a copy of the storeroom key and said that any time you would return, you would find it in its place, and he prayed for his safety.

Ali’s journey lasted much longer than he expected. In fact, he had been seven years away from home. All this time, his friend, who left the jar of olives with him, did not think about the jar. One night, this merchant was having dinner with his family, and the conversation happened over olives. The merchant’s wife said that she had not eaten olives for a long time. Then the merchant spoke, saying: “We talked a lot about olives now, and I remembered something now. Seven years ago, my friend left a jar with me, and I put it in my house to protect it.” storeroom to be kept for him until he returns.

I don’t know, when the caravan that traveled with them returned, they told me that he left them while they were traveling and went to Egypt, and with this time and all these years, I fear that he has died now, because he has not returned all this time, and we may go ahead and eat the olives, unless they are no longer good. To eat.”

So he ordered his wife to bring him a candle so that he could bring some, and his wife told him to leave the jar alone and never to open it, as it is a trust and you must preserve it, not for him to take it for himself, and that the olives have certainly rotted because he left them for all those years, and also what if your friend returns. Ali is on a trip, so what will she tell him? The wife advised her husband not to open the jar and that he must keep the trust.

But he did not adhere to his wife’s advice, and after dinner the merchant entered a storeroom and brought the jar. He opened it and found the olives in it. He took out what was in the jar to confirm whether all the olives were rotten or not. While emptying the jar, some gold coins came out of it. He looked inside the jar and found a lot of gold coins. He discovers that the olives were placed on top of the gold so that no one could see the gold inside, so he immediately put the gold back inside the jar

placed the olives on top of it, closed the jar, and everything returned to how it was before. He returned to his wife and told her that she was right, the olives were completely rotten. He reassured her that he had resealed the jar as it was, and that Ali had not noticed about opening it if he returned to take it. After dinner, the merchant entered the storeroom and brought the jar. He opened it and found the olives rotting in it.

He took out what was in the jar to confirm whether all the olives were rotten or not. While emptying the jar, some of it came out. Gold coins, so he looked inside the jar and found a lot of gold coins and discovered that the olives were placed on top of the gold so that no one could see the gold inside.

So he immediately put the gold back inside the jar and put the olives on top of it and closed the jar and everything returned to what it was before, and he returned to He told his wife that she was right, the olives were completely rotten, and he reassured her that he had resealed the jar as it was and that Ali had not noticed about opening it if he came back to take it.

This malicious merchant spent many days thinking about how he would take this gold for himself in a malicious way in order to avoid problems if Ali’s friend and students returned to that jar. One day, this fraudulent merchant made the decision to steal the gold coins, and he went to the market and bought fresh olives, then he left. He secretly went to the jar and emptied it of the old rotten olives. He also took the gold and filled the jar with new olives, then closed it as it was before and returned it to its place.

After a month or two, Ali returned to his homeland of Baghdad, and then he went to the merchant’s friend to visit him after an absence of more than 7 years, and of course to take his jar and recover the money inside it.

Ali met the merchant’s friend with a warm welcome from Ali’s friend, and then Ali asked the merchant’s friend to return the jar to him and ask his permission to do so.

The merchant told him that it was in its place, as it had been since Ali put it in his hand in the storeroom. The merchant asked Ali to go to the storeroom himself, using the key that the merchant himself had given him 7 years ago, and to bring it back and restore his trust.

Ali thanked him very much for his honesty and for bearing this responsibility throughout these years. Ali went to the merchant’s storeroom and took the jar and returned the key to the storeroom to a friend. When he returned to his place of residence to take the gold out of the jar, upon his arrival Ali tried to take out the gold coins, but to no avail. He did not find anything. Not a piece of gold coins. Ali said in amazement, “Is this possible!?” .

Ali quickly returned to the merchant and said to him, “My dear friend, I know that the jar of olives is the same one that I put in your storeroom before I traveled. I had put a thousand gold coins with the olives in the jar, but I cannot find them, so I ask you, ‘Did you use them in your work and trade?’” If so, they are at your service until it is convenient for you to return them. Just tell me this and then pay the money at your convenience.

But the merchant expected that Ali would come with such a complaint and was ready to answer. The merchant said with a raised voice and pretended to be angry: “My friend, when you brought me your jar, did you touch it?”

Didn’t I give you the key to my storeroom? Didn’t you carry her there yourself? When you returned, you found it in the same place and covered in the same way you left it? Now that you have returned from your travels, you are asking me for a thousand pieces of gold!
Do you want to convince me that this amount of money was in that jar? When you break into my store, accuse me of theft, and want to tarnish my reputation and my good name?

The merchant’s voice was loud enough for those around him to be heard by the merchants in their stores and the public as well, so people gathered around the store where Ali was located, and the neighboring merchants also came out of their stores to find out what the dispute was about. Ali explained everything that this merchant had committed against him in front of the people, and the merchant continued to vehemently deny anything that Ali accused him of.

Ali went to the judge to complain to him about this merchant’s injustice to him and to ask him to help him return his stolen money. The judge brought the merchant to confront both parties. The The judge looked at Ali and said: “You say he took the jar from you. Do you have witnesses to that?” Ali replied that he did not take this measure, as he trusted the merchant and considered him a friend, and he did not betray him, and he thought he was an honest man.

So the judge directed his question to the merchant: What did you see regarding the accusations made against him by Ali’s friend?
The merchant began his self-defense by saying something like what he said to Ali, and that although he kept Ali’s jar in one of his storerooms, he never interfered in this matter. The merchant swore that he did not know about the gold in the jar. All he knew about the jar was that it contained only olives.

Then the judge said: “The evidence is on the one who claims, and the oath is on the one who denies.”
So the judge ordered the merchant to swear, and the merchant swore to Ali that he did not know that there were a thousand gold pieces in the jar, so the judge had nothing he could do to help Ali, and the judge ordered the case to end because there was not enough evidence to convict the merchant.

Ali became very upset and returned to his residence while thinking of another solution. The next day, Ali went to the palace of the ruler, Harun al-Rashid, known for his justice and intelligence. He filed his complaint with the merchant, and an appointment was set for him for the next day, and a request to attend was sent to the merchant as well.

On the evening of the same day that Ali submitted his complaint to the ruler, Harun al-Rashid was walking around the town, as usual, in disguise with his prime minister. While they were walking around, they came across some children playing, and the king heard one of the children saying: “Let’s play the court game.”

When the case of Ali and the merchant was widely discussed in Baghdad, the children quickly agreed on which part each one was to act and which characters each child was to play.

Harun al-Rashid stopped to see how the children would solve the case he would consider tomorrow.

The children began to play, and the child, represented by the character of Ali, offered to tell his complaint to the child, represented by the character of the judge, and then the judge said to the child who presents the character of the merchant: “Why did you not return the money?” The merchant child was given the same reasons as the real merchant, but the judge child said, “Before starting the oath, I would like to see the jar of olives,” Ali pretended that he had gone and brought the jar and placed it in front of the judge.

The judge child asked the merchant child to make sure that this was the jar that he had entrusted him with. Ali, so the child merchant acknowledged that it was the jar, so the child judge ordered Ali to open the jar, and the child judge stood up as if he was tasting the olives, then said, “They are good, fresh olives, and I do not think they have been in that jar for 7 years, so we must invite some olive merchants and listen to them.” Their opinion regarding fresh olives for seven years!”

Two other boys came forward, disguised as olive merchants, and the child judge asked them, “How long do olives remain edible?” One of the child merchants answered, saying: “Sir, no matter how well you care for the olives, they cannot maintain their flavor or color in their third year.” The judge replied, “If that is the case.” He examined this jar and told me how much time had passed since he put the olives in. With it.

Two child merchants pretended to examine and taste olives. They told the judge that they were fresh olives and fit to eat, and the judge replied to the child, saying, “Can these olives be seven years old?”

The merchants replied, “These olives are from this year’s crop, and you can ask any reputable olive merchant in Baghdad and he will say the same thing.” The judge pointed the child with an accusing finger at the merchant that he is the thief and that he deserves to be punished. The children pretended to imprison the merchant, and the children concluded their play with applause and their joy at resolving the case. Which became famous in Baghdad.

Words cannot express the king’s admiration for the boy who played the role of judge, as he helped the king solve one of the major cases that preoccupied the public’s opinion, despite his young age.

Caliph Harun al-Rashid asked Wazira to bring this child the next day to the palace so that he would be one of the judges who would come to decide the case of Ali and the merchant. He also had to remind the real Ali to bring the jar of olives as he had it with him. The Caliph also told Wazira not to forget to bring two Experts specialize in examining olives.

The next day, Ali and the merchant defended one after another in the palace in front of Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, with the boy next to him. After many accusations against Warda’s merchant, Ali’s words, as had happened before, so the merchant suggested to the court that he take an oath as he had done before before the judge, and the child said, “ It’s too early. It is appropriate that we see the jar of olives first.”

So Ali presented the jar of olives and placed it in front of the Caliph and the little boy. So the little boy asked the merchant if this was the jar that the case was about? Is it the same jar that had been with the merchant for seven years? The merchant said, “Yes, it is the same jar.”

Then the Caliph opened the jar and took out some olives and looked at them. Then he tasted some of the olives and gave the little boy another. After that, the Caliph summoned specialized experts to examine the olives to determine how old these olives were.

This miserable merchant accused in the case thought that the opinions of experts would convict him. The merchant confessed to his crime and told them about the location of the thousand gold coins. The gold was quickly found and returned to Ali.

The Caliph told this fraudulent merchant that his confession of his sin would reduce his punishment, but he would inevitably be punished. The Caliph turned to the judge who had ruled on the case before and advised him to take a lesson from the child so that he would perform his duty more accurately in the future. Caliph Harun al-Rashid embraced the boy, and the Caliph rewarded him with a hundred pieces of gold as a symbol of his admiration and intelligence.

Share buttons:

Related articles:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

محمد هوست | Mohamed Host

Mohamed Host

Digital marketing and e-commerce consultant

Muhamad Ali, an Egyptian national residing in Mahalla al-Kubra, born in Gharbia Governorate in 1990, holds a bachelor’s degree in the College of Commerce, Department of Business Administration, in addition to obtaining more than one hundred and fifty other certificates, including certificates of appreciation, courses, and international accreditations in several branches in the field. E-marketing, his experience in the field of e-marketing and business management for companies since 2014, even though he had been working as a freelancer several years before this period.

محمد هوست

Animal stories for children

Bedtime stories

Fictional stories

Future File series

Islamic children’s stories