When Humayun was still a young man, he fell seriously ill. Day by day his condition grew worse, until death seemed imminent. The most eminent doctors were called in, but no one was able to cure him. They all said his days were numbered. Many people prayed to Allah for Humayun’s recovery, but to no avail.
Then a saint came to Babar and said, “If you make a great sacrifice, if you sacrifice something most precious to you, only then will your son be cured.”
The Emperor Babar asked, “What kind of thing should I sacrifice?”
The saint replied, “Give away the Kohinoor diamond. It is most precious.”
But Babar said, “The Kohinoor is my son’s possession. What kind of sacrifice would that be? I have to sacrifice something of my own. I have so much wealth and such a vast kingdom. But the most precious Kohinoor diamond is not mine. Therefore, I cannot sacrifice it. And even if I did own the Kohinoor, it would not be a real sacrifice to give it away. Even if I were to give away all my wealth and power – my entire kingdom – I do not think this is the most precious sacrifice that I could make. My life alone is most precious. There is nothing dearer to me than my own life. Humayun is my eldest and dearest son. I am ready to give my life for my son.”
After saying this, the Emperor folded his hands and circled his dying son’s bed three times, praying to Allah. He said, “Allah, everybody is telling me to offer You the most precious thing so that You will kindly save my son’s life. I feel that my life is the most precious thing I have to offer. Please take my life instead of my son’s. Let me die in his place, and let him live on earth. This is my only prayer and my most willing sacrifice.”
To Babar’s wide surprise, after he had completed three rounds, his son stood up completely well. But immediately Babar fell deathly ill.
Humayun wept with gratitude and love for his father. He said to Allah, “My father is going to die, but I shall eternally treasure my father’s fondness for me and my father’s implicit faith in Your Compassion.”
Allah listened to Babar’s prayer and in three months’ time Babar died. This is the kind of love that an earthly father can have for his beloved son.
from The Moghul Emperors
by Sri Chinmoy