The Guided One

Hisham ibn e Abdul Malik went to Mecca to perform Hajj. He was the ruling Umayyad caliph of the time. After Hajj, he ordered his officers to bring all those people who had been the companions of the Holy Prophet (s) or lived during that period. He was informed that no such person could be found, because they had all died. He then asked for those who had been the companions of the Holy Prophet’s (s) companions, called ‘tabe’een’, so that he could have a soul-stirring discourse with them. Taoos e Yamani, a tabe’ee, was summoned, henceforth.
Taoos entered the room where the caliph was sitting, and greeting him with ‘Assalam o Alaikum’, took his shoes off and sat down. Everything he did, from the moment he entered, was against the monarchical culture of the Umayyads. Finally, he looked at the caliph and said, ‘Hisham, how are you?’ That acted as the last slash of the chips on Hisham’s shoulder.
He flew into a rage and said, ‘Do you not know how to behave in the presence of a caliph?’
‘What do you mean?’ enquired Taoos.
‘Why did you take your shoes off in front of me, greet me without saying Ameer ul Momineen, sit down without my permission, and audaciously ask after my welfare as my equal?’
Taoos replied. ‘Everyday, I take my shoes off five times in front of the Almighty, yet He is never enraged with me. I did not address you as Ameer ul Momineen, because quite a few believers are disgruntled with your caliphate and rule, so you are certainly not the Ameer of all believers. I called you by your name, because the Almighty, while recalling the events of His Prophets, calls them by their names, thus: Ya Daood, Ya Yahya, Ya Eesa.
On the contrary, He mentions Abu Lahb by his title in the Holy Quran. Why I sat down without seeking permission is because I heard Imam Ali (‘a) affirm, ‘If you wish to see an inhabitant of hell, then look at that person who, while he himself is seated, everyone around him is standing.’
Hisham was visibly shaken by Taoos’ reply. He urged him to advise him further.
‘Ameer ul Momineen, Imam Ali ibn e Abi Talib (‘a) said that there are monstrous snakes and scorpions in hell, whose only duty is to bite and sting those rulers who do not treat others with justice and fair play.’
Saying this, Taoos stood up, put his shoes on and left the room.
Hisham looked vacantly into space. Probably his soul had been stirred, even if, temporarily.