Solomon, the wise prophet, held daily audiences during which he listened
to his subjects’ complaints and tried to address their problems. One
morning, as he was listening to one person after another, a distraught man
hurled himself into the great court. Solomon noticed how distressed the man
was and beckoned him forward. Grateful for being invited to the front of the
queue, the man fell to his knees before the great benefactor.
“What seems to be causing you such anguish, my dear fellow?” asked
“The Angel of Death, my lord! I saw him a minute ago as I was crossing
the street. He glared at me with such disdain that my heart nearly stopped!”
“We all know that Azrael takes his orders only from God and never
wavers in his duties,” asserted the great prophet. “Now tell me, what would
you have me do?”
“I beg of you, my life’s in your hands. Please tell the wind to carry me to
India, where I’ll be safe from the Angel’s harm.”
Promptly Solomon ordered the East Wind to carry the nearly paralyzed
man to India and lay him down wherever he chose. He then duly returned to
his other subjects’ unattended affairs.
The following day when he returned to court, Solomon caught a glimpse
of the Angel of Death among the crowd. He motioned the Angel to approach
and asked him: “Why do you frighten people with that wrathful look, to the
point that they abandon their livelihood and forsake their homes and family?
What had that poor man done yesterday to deserve your crushing glare?”
Azrael was surprised. “My lord, I didn’t look at him wrathfully at all! In
fact, I was astonished to see him!” he said. “God had commanded me to take
his pitiful life today in India, and I couldn’t imagine, even if he had a million
wings, how was he to get there on time. I was startled and gazed at him with
surprise, not anger!”
When you look at everything in life with the eyes of want and greed,
whom do you hope to escape? Yourself ? God? Is that possible?
The Angel of Death - Rumi