11. The City of Many-Coloured Iram and Abdullah Son of Abi Kilabah

Abdullah finds the City of Many-Columned Iram when he searches for a she-camel. He returns and has to relate his story to Caliph Mu’awiyah. The Caliph asks Ka’ab al-Ahbar if he knows anything of this city and Ka’ab tells that was a king called Shaddad who built a city in likeness of Paradise but was punished by Allah when he set out to occupy it once it was finished. His son Shaddad the Less built a tomb for him in a cave with a tablet with a warning. But the tablet was taken later on.

Abdullah bin Abi Kilabah searches for his she-camel and comes upon an empty city where palaces and pavilions rose high. He says that doubtless this us the Paradise promised for the world to come.” There are a lot of riches and he takes some of them.

The news of Abudallah’s adventure reaches Caliph Mu’awiyah who asks for him. To enforce his story Abdullah shows the Caliph some of the pearls, but they have grown yellow and lost their beauty. The Caliph then asks for Ka’ab al-Ahbar who relates the story of the city. He tells that this is many-columned Iram.

Ad the Greater had two sons, Shadid and Shaddad and they ruled together. When Shidad died, Shaddad read about Paradise in antique books and he wanted to build the like in this world. He ordered to have place build by hunderds of thousands people. All the Kings of world are to bring gold and other valuables. However, when Shaddad set forth to occupy the city Allah destroyed the company of unbelievers and no one ever saw the city.

And Al-Sha’abi says that the son of Shaddad, Shaddad the Less, built a tomb for his father in a cave and put verses on a tablet telling of the mischief that will happen if you want to cross Allah.

Al-Sha’abi also tells that two mean entered this cave and found a golden throne whereon lay a man of huge bulk. And they took the tablet and carried it off.

From: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 04

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