Hatim al-Tai

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Hatim Al-Taeei (Arabic: حاتم الطائي‎; also Hatemtai i.e. Hatim of the Tayy tribe), formally Hatem ibn Abdellah ibn Sa'ad at-Ta'iy (Arabic: حاتم بن عبد الله بن سعد الطائي ‎) was a famous Arab poet, and the father of the Sahaba Adi ibn Hatim and (Arabic) and belonged to the Ta'i Arabian tribe. Stories about his extreme generosity have made him an icon to Arabs up till the present day, as in the proverbial phrase "more generous than Hatem" (Arabic: أكرم من حاتم).


Al-Taee lived in Ha'il (Arabian Peninsula). He was mentioned in some Hadiths by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. He died in 578.[1] He was buried in Towaren, Ha'il . The tomb is described in the Arabian Nights.[2]

He lived in the sixth century CE. He also figures in The Arabian Nights . The celebrated Persian poet Saadi, in his work Gulistan (1259 CE) writes: "Hatim Taï no longer exists but his exalted name will remain famous for virtue to eternity. Distribute the tithe of your wealth in alms; for when the husbandman lops off the exuberant branches from the vine, it produces an increase of grapes.".[3] He is also mentioned in Saadi's Bostan (1257 CE).[4] According to legends in various books and stories, he was a famous personality in Tai (Ha'il province in the central part and of the Arabian Peninsula). He is also a well-known figure in the rest of the Middle East as well as India & Pakistan.

Many books have been written about him in different countries and languages. Several movies and TV Series have been produced about his adventures.

Rozat-ul-Sufa mentions that "In the eighth year after the birth of his eminence the Prophet, died Noushirwan the Just, and Hatem Tai the generous, both famous for their virtues.",[5] around 579 CE. According to 17th-century Orientalist D'Herbelot, his tomb was located at a small village called Anwarz, in Arabia.[6]



  • On Avarice by Hatem Taiy[7]

Qissa-e-Hatem Taiy[edit]

Qissa-e-Hatem Tai (The adventures of Hatim Tai) is very popular in South Asia. Multiple movies (see below) about Hatem Tai are based on this story.

Qissa-e Hatim Tai- pages from the Urdu book Araish-e Mehfil which describes the adventures of Hatim Tai

It consists of a short introduction describing his ancestors and his own virtues. In seven chapters, seven of his adventures are given.

The stories are based on seven questions, asked by a beautiful and rich woman Husn Banu, who will marry only the person who will obtain answers to these questions:[8]

  1. ' What I saw once, I long for a second time.'
  2. ' Do good, and cast it upon the waters.'
  3. ' Do no evil; if you do, such shall you meet with.'
  4. ' He who speaks the truth is always tranquil.'
  5. ' Let him bring an account of the mountain of Nida.'
  6. ' Let him produce a pearl of the size of a duck's egg'
  7. ' Let him bring an account of the bath of Bad-gard.'

A king falls in love with her and wanders around, not knowing where to go or what to do. By chance he meets Hatem Tai, to whom he tells his story. Hatem undertakes to find the answers to the questions.


TV series[edit]

Legend and genealogy[edit]

According to legend, Hatim's earliest known ancestor was Hūd, who was a chieftain of a small village in Yemen. Hūd began to build a massive army and overthrew the King of Yemen in a military coup. Hūd ruled Yemen as king and promoted prosperity for a hundred years. Upon Hūd's death, his son Kahtān ascended the throne and ruled just like his father.

Kahtān's son, Nakhshab, despite being brought up with great love and care, grew rebellious and wicked. Nakhshab succeeded as king after his father's death. Nakhshab's son, Rasn, ironically grew rebellious against his father, and refused to have any relations with him. Nakhshab died of grief and Rasn became the new king. Rasn in turn, was overthrown by his son, Kahlan, and was incarcerated for the rest of his life. Kahlan died of old age and was succeeded by his son, Taï.

Tai became the most popular king, known for his justice. Tai built a huge military force and conquered the entire Arabian peninsula. The new emperor married his cousin, and soon had a son named Hatim.

From an early age, Hatim showed signs of a pure soul. He lived a simple life, in the company of six thousand children, born at the same time as Hatim was. He never harmed any living being, did not use abusive language and was kind to everyone. As a result, he was loved by his kingdom. No animal dared to harm him.

One day, when Hatim was riding, he found a young man weeping under a tree. Upon inquiry, the man replied that he was Munir Shami, the prince of Khwarizim. He had lost his heart to the fair and pious Husn Banu, the daughter of the trader, Burzakh of Khorasan, who by the grace of God, acquired the tremendous wealth of the ancient king, Shamshân, and built the city of Shahabad. Husn Banu, fearing the corrupting company of men, refused to marry and set up seven mysterious riddles, given to her by her nursemaid. Whoever solved them, would marry the girl. Hatim, desiring adventure, took Munir to Shahabad. He told Husn Banu, that on behalf of Munir, he would undertake the seven tribulations. If Hatim succeeded, then Husn Banu must marry Munir. Husn Banu accepts the agreement.

First Mystery: "What I saw once, I long for a second time."[edit]

Hatim, not knowing where to start, goes into the jungle, and finds himself in a desert. He sees a wolf about to eat a pregnant doe and stops him. The wolf recognizes the prince because of the compassion he showed to all living creatures. Hatim offers him flesh from his thigh, which satisfies the wolf's hunger. Hatim asks the wolf about the riddle Husn Banu gave him. The wolf replies that he had heard of a rumor of a mysterious man saying that quote, somewhere in the desert of Hawaïda, though does not know the exact location. The wolf gives him the directions to Hawaïda.

Hatim thanks the wolf and leaves, but soon falls down because of the injury in his thigh. He is soon discovered by two jackals living at a nearby tree, one male and one female. The male jackal recognizes Hatim and tells his mate to look after the prince, while he sets off to find the cure. The male jackal kills a pariru (peacock like fowl with the head of a human), and brings its head back. The female jackal extracts the pariru's brain and touches it to Hatim's injury, curing him instantly. Hatim thanks the jackals and makes sure they live in peace. The male jackal gives Hatim further directions and bids goodbye.

Hatim soon enters a forest, where he encounters bears. The bears capture him, though he is well received by their king, who has heard of Hatim. The bear king insists that Hatim should marry his daughter, who is of human form, but Hatim is appalled by the implied bestiality. Hatim is imprisoned for a month, where an old man appears in his dream and tells him that he has no other option but to marry the bear's daughter. Hatim reluctantly agrees and spends six months with his bride. Hatim tells her that he needs to return to his voyage and promises to come back for her. The bear's daughter believes him and, with her father's consent, sets him free. Before departing, the wife presents Hatim with a magic pearl, making him immune to fire and poison.

Hatim resumes his journey. He is swallowed by a massive dragon, but Hatim remains alive, thanks to the magic of the pearl. Tired, the dragon regurgitates Hatim, and goes away. Hatim is kidnapped by a group of mermaids, but is set free after ten days, due to his resolution on the quest.

Hatim climbs a mountain, where he meets a stranger. After telling him of the quest, the stranger warns him of the perils of Hawaïda, as those who had gone there either ended up dead or were driven insane. He further gives Hatïm some instructions on surviving the desert and offers him hospitality for the night.

The next day, Hatim reaches a beautiful oasis, with a cool pond of water. A woman in nude emerges from the water, and Hatim, remembering the man's instructions, closes his eyes, lest he be overcome with lust. The woman grabs him by the hand and pulls him into the pool.

In an instant, Hatim finds himself in a beautiful garden, surrounded by thousands of damsels, who lead him to an exquisite palace. Hatim sits on the throne and beholds a girl, even more beautiful than the rest, bejewelled and face covered in veil. Hatim stays there for three days, enjoying himself, though he is curious that no matter how much food he eats, he still remains hungry. Hatim realises that even after a hundred years, he would always enjoy the scene, if he remained there. Remembering the hermit's instructions, Hatim grabs the beautiful maiden's hand. Immediately a female figure issues forth from the ground an strikes Hatim with a blow. The next moment, Hatim finds himself in the real desert of Hawaïda. An eerie voice speaks "What I saw once, I long for a second time.", three times, then falls silent. Hatim walks in the direction of the voice, until he finds a mysterious old man lying on the ground.

Hatim asks the man what exactly did he see that he longed for a second time. The man tells Hatim that whatever the latter had experienced when he was drawn into the pool, the same had befallen the old man, years ago. The old man was attracted to the one beautiful damsel and removed her veil, revealing the prettiest face he had ever scene. The man, overcome with passion seized her hand, but a female figure rose from the earth and struck him with a powerful blow, teleporting him to the desert. Ever since then the old man had been crying for the lady.

The old man had seen the girl's face once and longed to see her again. Hatim takes the old man to the lake and instructs him not to uncover the woman's face again, or else he would once again be a prisoner at Hawaïda.

Hatim retraces his path and returns to Shahabad, where he explains the mystery to Husn Banu. Her nursemaid confirms that Hatim's account is indeed true. Husn Banu gives Hatim the next mystery.

Second Mystery: "Do good, and cast it upon the waters."[edit]

Before leaving, Husn Banu's nursemaid, gives Hatim one clue, that the man who uttered these words lived in the city of Maâdin, somewhere in the northern direction.

Hatim journeys northward where he meets a young man. The youth, Naïm, tells the prince that he used to be a merchant, living in a nearby city, Sūrī. He fell in love with the beautiful daughter of the merchant Harith and asked for her hand in marriage.

Harith's daughter replied that she would marry the young man, but he should first sign a contract stating that he would obey her every command or face the consequences. The woman tells the merchant to investigate three curious situations. If the man failed, then all his wealth and possessions will be hers.

The three tasks are: In the vicinity of the city is a cave the inside of which no one has ever explored, nor is it known how far it extends; examine the cave, and narrate the adventure.

In the night of Jumat a voice is heard in the wilderness of some one who exclaims, "I have done nothing which can benefit me this night." Bring an account of this person, and find out why he reiterates such an exclamation.

There is a fairy by name Mahpari, who has in her possession the precious stone called the Shahmuhra; find out this fairy’s abode, and procure the jewel.

The merchant gave away his wealth to the lady but still loves her. Hatim decides to embark on the three tasks on behalf of the poor man.

Hatim explores the cave and reaches the end. He is tempted to go back, but Hatim suspects there is more to the mystery. He crosses the end and finds himself in a desert. Hatim journeys further, until he comes across a mysterious fortress, which he enters. The inhabitants of the town turn out to be massive demons, who are about to kill Hatim. One of them stops the other demons, saying that the demon king and his daughter are suffering from a painful affliction and it is prophesized that a man would cure them. There are over a thousand human hostages, though none have succeeded. Hatim meets the local chief demon, who reveals that his wife is suffering from an eye pain.

Hatim promises to cure her, if the demons do not kill him. The chief swears to his conditions and takes him to his wife. Hatim brings forth his magic pearl, and dips it in pure water. Then Hatim sprinkles the water on the demoness's swollen eyes three times, and completely cures her.

The chief extends his hospitality to Hatim, and presents him to the demon king, Farokash. Farokash tells Hatim that he has been suffering from chronic stomach ache and has found no remedy. Hatim asks the king if there was any servant present every time the king had his meals. Farokash replies that all his servants are present.

When Farokash gets ready for dinner, Hatim tells him to stop eating for one hour. Hatim takes a piece of meat from the meal and shows it to everyone present. Hatim covers the piece of meat for an hour, and uncovers it. It is revealed that the meat is converted into worms, which caused Farokash's malady. Hatim reasons that this is due to a malignant eye falling on the food, and advises Farokash to have his food in private. Farokash follows the prescription and in a matter of days, he returns to full health.

Pleased, the king releases the human prisoners and requests Hatim to cure his daughter as well. Hatim mixes sugar and water, and dips the magic pearl given to him by his wife, into the draught. He makes the demoness to drink it and prescribes light food, curing her gradually. Pleased, Farokash presents Hatim with fabulous wealth and sends him off.

Hatim then sets off for the second task. He waits for the night of jumat and hears the voice saying that it hasn't done anything of benefit this night. Hatim travels in the direction of the voice but finds no source. He comes across a village where the inhabitants are mourning. They tell him that a monster comes every few days and consumes a human. It is now the turn of the village headman's son.

Hatim recognizes the gigantic monster, Halūka, which appears like a massive ghost, breathing fire and is invulnerable to weapons. Hatim orders the villagers to build a massive mirror and asks them to cover it. The night when the giant arrives, Hatim uncovers the mirror. The giant, having never seen its reflection before, dies when it witnesses the reflection, ending the menace.

Hatim resumes his journey across the desert. He sees a massive mound of sand and climbs it. Atop the summit, he finds mysterious marble statues of soldiers, a tomb. On the night of Jumat, the statues magically come to life and start feasting. One of the dead, however, is not given any of the dainty dishes or the fine robes and is revealed to be the source of the cry, "I have done nothing which can benefit me this night." Hatim enquires the spirit about this mystery.

The spirit tells him that he was once a wealthy merchant named Yusuf, who was greedy, selfish and miserly. The other men were Yusuf's servants, who were selfless, charitable and compassionate towards people. Yusuf used to berate, punish and beat up his servants for their attitude. While journeying to Khwarizim, they were waylaid by dacoits who stole the wealth, and slew the entire caravan. As a result, the servants were rewarded in the afterlife with fine food and luxuries, while Yusuf was given the worst food and filthy rags.

Hatim decides to help the spirit. Yusuf tells him to go to his residence in the capital of China, where his grandchildren lived in poverty. There, Hatim would find a treasure Yusuf left behind. Yusuf tells Hatim to give a quarter of the treasure to his grandchildren and the remaining should be spent on charity.

Hatim reaches the outskirts of China, when he notices a man drawing water from a well. A massive snake seizes the man and drags him into the well. Hatim jumps into the well and finds himself in a beautiful garden. A giant is asleep in the palace. Hatim notices the serpent and grabs it. The giant warns not to go into the snake's mouth, but Hatim does otherwise.

Hatim uses his knife and cuts the snake from its stomach and frees many prisoners, including the waterman. The giant and the garden vanishes and Hatim is in the desert. Hatim gives the prisoners directions to their homes and goes to China.

Hatim is barred entry in China as the governor's daughter asks each traveller three questions, and if they fail, they are killed. Hatim goes in and the governor's daughter falls in love with him. She tells him that she is possessed by an evil spirit, who makes her violent. At night, she asks Hatim the three riddles. Hatim answers the first riddle correctly. When asked which is the sweetest fruit loved by all beings, Hatim tells it is one's own child. When asked what is it that people don't want but get anyway, Hatim replies it as death. The evil spirit issues forth as a serpent, but Hatim tames it using the magic pearl and buries it underground. The next day, Hatim and the princess are married. The princess later, gives birth to Hatim's son, Salim.

Hatim reaches his destination and carries out Yusuf's instructions. Hatim returns finds out that Yusuf has been redeemed. On the way home, Hatim is robbed by seven brothers and is cast in a pit. Hatim discovers fabulous wealth in the pit and is rescued by two passers by. Hatim gives the wealth to the robbers on the condition that they would never commit robbery again, to which the brothers agree.

Onward, Hatim finds a starving dog and feeds it. Hatim finds out that an iron nail had been driven into the dog's head and pulls it out. The dog morphs into a young merchant. The man tells Hatim that his wife cheated on him and used a magic nail to transform him into a dog and drove him away. Hatim accompanies the husband to his home. The merchant transforms his wife into a dog and drives her away, while he beheads her lover.

Harith's daughter welcomes Hatim and sends him on her third and final task. Not knowing the fairy world, Hatim decides to once again approach Farokash the demon for direction. Farokash reluctantly agrees to help Hatim, though he tells him that the fairy land was even more dangerous.

Farokash sends guides for Hatim who take him to Mount Kas. The fairies take Hatim and burn him thrice on the stake, but Hatim survives each time, thanks to the magic pearl. The fairies then hurl Hatim into the sea, but Hatim is swallowed by a sea serpent and is regurgigated on land. Mahapari allows Hatim to enter into his domain. One of the beautiful fairies, Husnapari falls in love with Hatim, and kidnaps him into her private garden.

Mahapari demands for his release, and asks Hatim, if he can cure his son's eyesight. Hatim relieves Mahapari's son of the pain, but is unable to restore his vision. Hatim tells Mahapari that the drops of the Naudar tree from the Zulmat grove, guarded by demons, will restore the sight. Husnapari goes to the Zulmat grove and procures the potion at great personal risk and returns. Hatim successfully cures Mahapari's son. Hatim demands Mahapari's jewel, the Shahmuhra, which Mahapari reluctantly gives it. The jewel gives the ability to uncover hidden treasure. Hatim tells Mahapari to take it back, ten days after Naïm's marriage. Hatim returns, fulfilling the three tasks of Harith's daughter, and gives her hand in marriage to Naïm.

Once Mahapari takes back his Shahmuhra, Hatim resumes his journey to Maâdin. Hatim reaches the city and sees the house where it is carved, "Do good and cast it into the waters". He meets the owner of the house, who is a man over a hundred. The man tells Hatim, he used to be a bandit, but everyday he cast two loaves of bread into the river, to thank god. One day at his time of death, the man was being dragged to hell, when two angels recued him and told him God had extended his lifespan by a hundred years. The man woke up and everyday, received a hundred dinars from the river, which he used for charity.

That is the reason behind his motto. Hatim thanks and returns. On the way, he rescues the prince of Djinns from a rival Djinn, and is tramsported to Shahabad.

Hatim provides the answer to Husn Banu's second mystery and heads for the third mystery.

Third Mystery: "Do no evil; if you do, such shall you meet with."[edit]

The story is now pretty much predictable, with Hatim meeting people or animals in distress and performing tasks on their behalf. Not even once does Hatim harm or kill a being out of self-defence.

Hatim first meets a merchant, Tamim, who pines for the fairy Alka. She had promised to return to him within a week, but has not returned for seven years. Hatim promises to help Tamim and heads for Alkanpuri, Alka's abode. On his way, he meets a young soldier who had fallen in love with the daughter of the sorcerer, Musâhir.

Musâhir gave the young man three tasks to perform:

  1. Obtain a pair of Pariru (human headed peacocks).
  2. Procure a pearl from the red dragon, living in the Red Desert.
  3. Survive in a cauldron of boiling oil.

Hatim agrees to secretly perform the three tasks, and heads for Mazanderan. Hatim receives a magic staff from a genie, which would protect him from fire, poison and magic, and would transform into a boat. Hatim drives a strange monster (Six lion heads and one elephant head with three eyes) away. The hero reaches Mazanderan and returns with two parirus. He tells the soldier of his adventure and tells him to take credit for the task.

Hatim sets out on his next challenge. On the way, he encounters a monstrous spirit, which changes its shape (from dragon, serpent, lion, young girl, buffalo and old man), and kills people for no apparent reason.

Hatim questions the spirit, who reveals himself to be the personification of Death, merely carrying out fate, written by God. Death tells Hatim that he would live for two hundred years, and die of old age, and would experience little pain during his death.

Satisfied, Hatim, returns to the task at hand. He reaches the Dark Lands, where every object is black. Subsequently he crosses the White and Green lands where he encounters venomous snakes. Hatim reaches the Red Desert, where the heat is so strong, he falls unconscious. Hatim protects himself, using the bear's pearl. He finds the red serpentine dragon and hits it with his staff. The dragon falls unconscious and Hatim collects the magical pearl of wondrous qualities. Hatim returns to the soldier and gives him the pearl.

For the final task, Hatim gives the soldier the bear's pearl, telling him to keep it in his mouth while in the boiling cauldron. Mussâhir is furious and attacks the youth, but fails. Hatim persuades the magician to give his daughter in marriage to the soldier, to which Mussâhir agrees.

Hatim reaches Alkanpuri and meets with Alka, who had forgotten Tamim. The faithless fairy sends her affections to Hatim, and the latter is outraged. Hatim brings Tamim to Alkanpuri. The voice of God instructs Hatim to brew a love potion, which would enchant Alka into loving Tamim forever. Hatim tricks Alka into drinking the potion and succeeds.

Alka then transports Hatim to Himyar. Hatim finally reaches the city of Himyar. On the outskirts, deep in the jungle, he meets a strange old man muttering, "Do no evil; if you do, such shall you meet with." The blind old man is sitting in an open cage but does not leave.

Hatim enquires the man who introduces himself as Hamir. Years ago, Hamir was a wealthy merchant, whose father possessed enough wealth to build the city of Himyar. Hamir's father died overseas, while Hamir was squandering all his wealth. When Hamir became poor, he met a sage who could find hidden wealth with occult powers. Hamir asks the sage to help him, and the latter agrees, on the condition that he should be paid with a quarter of the amount found.

Hamir becomes wealthy, but goes back on his promise, beating the sage black and blue. The sage returns, as if nothing happened and they become friends. One day the sage brings Hamir to this spot, by the ancient cage. Hamir pesters the sage to teach him the art of finding hidden wealth. The sage replies that it is the result of an ointment, which should be applied to the eyes. The sage applies the ointment on Hamir's eyes, and Hamir goes blind. The sage tells him that he did this out of revenge, and that Hamir must sit in the cage and keep exclaiming 'Do no evil; if you do, such shall you meet with.' Despite the cage being open, Hamir cannot go out, as his body experiences intense pain, and is relieved when inside the cage.

Hamir tells Hatim that three and a half years have passed in the punishment, the only cure was the luminous flower of sight. Hamir describes the plant, but tells Hatim that it is guarded by ferocious serpents, scorpions and other venomous creatures.

Hatim possesses magical items which make him invulnerable to the creatures and brings the flower. He squeezes the juice and restores Hamir's sight and ends his punishment. Hamir thanks Hatim and heads to the city to restart his life.

Hatim is transported to Shahabad for the fourth mystery.

Fourth Mystery: "He who speaks the truth is always tranquil."[edit]

Just like the previous journeys, Hatim is delayed when he helps people around him.

The only clue about the fourth mystery is that the man who said this, lives in the mysterious city of Karam. Hatim embarks on the journey, and a few months later, finds himself at a lake. Beside the lake stood a huge tree from whose branches hung decapitated heads of fairies. The fairies come to life each night and revert to the original status during the day. An old man, Khwaj Khizr, explains to Hatim that this is the work of the dark magician, Sam Ahmar. The magician did this so that no one would marry his daughter, Zarinpash, as long as he lives. The old man teaches Hatim an ultimate divine spell which will render Ahmar's spells useless. Hatim is teleported to the Red mountain, to the fortress of Sam Ahmar. Ahmar tries to set up obstacles, but fails as Hatim overcomes them all. Some of Ahmar's soldiers defect to Hatim, and Ahmar is forced to summon his preceptor, Kamlak. Hatim defeats their armies and Ahmar falls to his death from a cliff. Hatim returns to the lake, to find the enchantment broken. He confesses his love for the fairy queen, Zarinpash. The queen agrees to marry Hatim and promises to rule alongside him when he returns from his quest. Hatim reaches the city of Karam at night. The inhabitants tell Hatim about a man, who is believed to be unusually old, living in the older part of the city.

Hatim reaches the man's residence, and on his door, he finds the message carved 'He who speaks the truth is always tranquil.' The owner is a man who appears to be in his early forties. The man welcomes Hatim and promises to tell him the answer, the next day.

The next morning, the man begins to explain his tale to Hatim. He reveals that the city of Karam is 700 years old, while the man, notwithstanding his appearance, is actually 800 years old. The man tells Hatim that, centuries ago, he used to be a gambler. One day, the man lost all his money in gambling, and decided to steal from the king's treasury. That night, the man succeeds in robbing some of the king's treasury and escapes. On the way, he is waylaid by dacoits, and is about to killed. The man is saved when the dacoits hear a powerful roar, shaking the earth, and run away in fear. The man is approached by another man who criticizes him for his action.

The stranger tells the man that he can keep the stolen wealth for himself, but makes him swear the oath to always speak the truth. The stranger tells the man that if he kept the oath, then he would live up to 900 years of age, while retaining his prime appearance. The stranger mysteriously disappears.

The next day, when the guards question the man, he fearlessly confesses his crime and tells the truth. The king pardons the man and gives him a reward. Thus the man led an honest and prosperous life, with no troubles.

Hatim is pleased and returns to Shahabad for the fifth mystery.

Fifth Mystery: "Let him bring an account of the mountain of Nida."[edit]

Hatim heads for India a.k.a. Hindustan the land of the Hindu people. He journeys to various cities with strange customs, including a city of cannibals, where sick men are killed and are eaten by their families. Eventually, he reaches India, where the Hindus provide him hospitality. On the way, he kills a dragon, saving the people.

Finally he reaches the city of Nida, right beside the mountain. Once in a while, a person would go insane and rush to the mountain, then disappear. Hatim rushes behind one of the people. On the summit of the mountain lies a chasm where the people jump. Hatim jumps and finds himself in a verdant meadow. He witnesses the victim fall on a black rectangular patch of soil and the latter dies instantly. The earth swallows the corpse and turns verdant.

Hatim journeys across the plain, until he comes across an ocean. God sends Hatim an abandoned ship, with food. Hatim sets sail and finds himself in an island with a blood red mountain, green animals and azure birds. Hatim explores the island, and finds out that God sent him another ship. Hatim reaches a similar island, and beyond that, another island of pure silver. Hatim touches the island's water and in an instance, his arm is turned into silver, though he is cured later.

Hatim begins to climb the silver mountain. He notices that the stones of the mountain were gold and other jewels. Hatim gathers all the riches and climbs higher. On the way, he encounters two invulnerable black manticores, who are the servants of God. They tell Hatim that it is beneath his stature to covet riches and tell him to cast it away. They give him a ruby, an emerald and a diamond as gifts and guide him. Hatim reaches the shores of the golden ocean.

Over there, Hatim meets his wife, Queen Zarinpash, who tells him that the entire region belonged to the country of fairies. Hatim stays with his wife for a few days, and departs. Hatim comes upon yet another island, with a hot, burning desert. The two manticores reappear and give him a talisman to protect him from the oppressive desert. Hatim crosses the desert to find a fiery ocean. Hatim embarks on an abandoned ship and sets sail. Soon, he reaches Yemen. Hatim hurls the talisman into the sea and explores his home country.

He finds out that his wife, Zarinpash, was regularly sending messages to his father, Taï, about Hatim's well being and progress. Hatim returns to Shahabad and recounts his adventure to Husn Banu. Her nursemaid confirms it to be true, and Hatim goes for his sixth mystery.

Sixth Mystery: "Let him produce a pearl of the size of a duck's egg."[edit]

Hatim sets out for the quest. On the way, he meets a couple of Natika birds. The male bird tells Hatim that originally, these eggs came from their own species, but soon lost that ability. The bird tells Hatim the entire history of the pearls and tells him that only two pearls exist above ground, as the rest have sank in the ocean. One remains with Husn Banu, when she inherited the buried treasure of the ancient king, Shamshân. The other pearl was with Mahyar Sulaimani, king of Barzakh. Sulaimani is willing to marry his daughter to the person who will tell the obscure history of the pearl, and will give away the pearl as dowry.

The bird gives Hatim some feathers and tells him that when he arrives at the desert of demons, he must burn the green feathers, prepare a paste and smear it across his body, to be transformed into a demon. To regain his original form, Hatim should burn the white feathers and smear the paste.

Hatim journeys all day long. On the way, a serpent offers to take him to a resting place. Once Hatim reaches the place, the snake transforms into a youth. The youth reveals himself to be Shams Shah, the fairy king who was long lost for eons. The king was transformed into a snake when he attempted to overthrow the mighty ancient emperor, Suleiman, but was relieved when he helped Hatim. The king entertains Hatim and sends him to Barzakh along with some of his servants.

Along the way, Hatim is captured by the Murkana clan of demons, who laugh at him when he mentions Shams Shah. Word reaches back to Shams Shah, who assembles his troops and brutally defeats the demons. Hatim resumes his journey.

On the way, he meets the fairy prince of Tuman, who wishes to marry Mahyar's daughter. Hatim promises to help him. On the way, Hatim is captured by demons, but his new friend tricks them and saves Hatim.

The fairy guides leave them by the desert of demons. Hatim disguises himself as a demon. He and the fairy prince cross the desert and reach the ocean, beyond which lies Barzakh. The prince briefly leaves Hatim to collect winged horses and returns to Tuman to rally his troops. The prince returns with his army and winged horses and takes Hatim to Barzakh.

On reaching Barzakh, Hatim talks to Suleimani and come to an understanding. Hatim narrates the entire history of the pearl. Suleimani is pleased and gives Hatim the pearl, and his daughter to the fairy prince.

The prince transports Hatim to Shahabad, where Hatim must wait for his seventh and final mystery.

Seventh Mystery: "Let him bring an account of the bath of Badgard."[edit]

Hatim embarks on his final voyage. He spends time visiting villages and rescuing lovestruck boys from fairies. He meets an old man who warns him of the dangers of Badgard, as no one has ever returned alive.

The old man tells Hatim that the bath is situated near the kingdom of Katan, ruled by King Harith. Hatim continues his journey from city to city, once saving a kingdom from an evil genie, by trapping him in a jar.

Eventually, Hatim reaches Katan, and tells King Harith about visiting the bath of Badgard. Harith and Hatim have an argument, with the king being concerned about Hatim's welfare, but Hatim obtains permission. The next day, Hatim is taken to a mountain where the entrance to the bath is situated. The entrance is heavily guarded by Harith's soldiers, to prevent strangers from entering the bath.

Hatim walks through the door, and finds himself in a desert. The door vanishes and Hatim walks forward. He is welcomed by an attendant, who takes him to a massive building. Hatim takes his place in the bath and the attendant pours water over his head.

Suddenly the attendant and all entrances vanish and the water begins to flood the bath. The building turns into glass and Hatim is taken towards the dome, due to rising water levels. Hatim is blasted through the dome and is back into the desert.

Hatim journeys through the desert for days, until he comes across an uninhabited palace, surrounded by a garden. Hatim explores the palace and comes across numerous marble human statues. The prince enters the palace.

On the door of the palace, is an inscription which Hatim reads it. Long ago, there lived a mysterious sorcerer-king, Kaiumarath. Once, when he was hunting in these regions, he discovered an unusually large diamond, the likes of which were never seen before. Afraid that someone would steal the rare treasure, Kaiumarath constructed the bath of Badgard, to safeguard the diamond. The gem itself is preserved in the body of a parrot within the palace. The only way to escape was to pick up the bow and arrows kept on the chair within the palace and shoot three arrows at the parrot, killing it.

Hatim walks into the palace, takes the weapons, and shoots at the parrot. The parrot dodges the arrow, and Hatim's feet turn into marble. Hatim shoots the next arrow, but fails, and becomes a half statue. Overcome with grief, Hatim prays to God and shoots his final arrow. This time the arrow pierces the bird's head, killing it, and Kaiumarath's enchantment was broken.

A huge din takes place, and the palace vanishes. Hatim possesses the bow and arrows, and the legendary diamond of Kaiumarath. The marble statues come back to life and accompany Hatim to Katan. Hatim meets the attendants who take the retinue to Katan. King Harith is pleased and sends Hatim to Shahabad.

The prince relates his adventure to Husn Banu and produces the diamond as proof. Husn Banu agrees to marry Munir Shami, and a few days later, are happily married. Hatim sends the diamond back to Katan, as a gift for King Harith.

Return to Yemen and death[edit]

Having accomplished the seven momentous tasks, Hatim returns to Yemen, where he is welcomed by the citizens as a legendary hero. It took Hatim twelve years, seven months and nine days to fulfil the seven tasks of Husn Banu.

Hatim's father, Tai, was proud of his son's achievements, and acknowledged the fairy queen, Zarinpash, as his daughter in law. Few months later, Tai abdicated the throne in Hatim's favour and retired with Hatim's mother.

Hatim became the new King of Yemen, with his wife and Queen, Zarinpash, at his side. He ruled justly and lived happily for the rest of his life. Hatim died peacefully at the age of two hundred, and his family mourned his death.

After Hatim's death, a tomb was erected on a mountain, where he was buried. Three statues of damsels were carved on the side, which cried and mourned Hatim's death every night.

A few years later, another king camped by the mountain, and called for the spirit of Hatim before going to sleep at night. In the king's dream, the ghost of Hatim appeared and tells him that he has nothing to offer. However, Hatim tells that he will kill one of the king's camels and can have its flesh.

The king wakes up to see one of the camels writhing in pain, and puts it out of misery. He eats the meat, but is disturbed by the events. The next day, he meets a son of Hatim, who offers a camel to him, on orders of his father's spirit.

Another time, Hatim's daughter saves her entire family from death by submitting to a prophet, whom Hatim had foretold of his arrival. Hatim, on his deathbed, instructed his sons and daughters to convert to the true faith and submit to the prophet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kitab al-Aghani by Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani
  2. ^ van Arendonk, Cornelis (1987). E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936. E. J. Brill. p. 290. ISBN 9789004082656. 
  3. ^ http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/arp/arp159.htm HATIM TAI, THE GENEROUS ARAB CHIEF
  4. ^ The Bustan of Sadi, tr. by A. Hart Edwards, 1911, http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/bus/bus06.htm
  5. ^ http://persian.packhum.org/persian/pf?file=08501030&ct=0
  6. ^ Arbuthnot, F. F. (1887). Persian Portraits: A Sketch of Persian History, Literature and Politics. B. Quaritch. p. 132. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Arabian Poetry, by W. A. Clouston, 1881, http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/arp/arp028.htm#page_99
  8. ^ Persian Portraits: A Sketch of Persian History, Literature and Politics by F. F. Arbuthnot
  9. ^ PVR to release animation film Adventures of Sinbad, Farida Khanzada : Mumbai, Indian Express, Fri Jan 18 2013 http://www.indianexpress.com/news/PVR-to-release-animation-film-Adventures-of-Sinbad/1060773/

Further reading[edit]

   "But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
    Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
      Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
    Or Hatem Taiy cry Supper--heed them not."

  • Many books written and translated in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi etc.
  • Hatem Tai in Tamil by Prema Pirasuram

External links[edit]