Goha, the legendary figure whose stories passed down through the centuries are nearly as numerous as the sands of the desert, has given rise to an unending controversy as old as Goha himself.
Is he Goha, the simpleton or Goha the wise man? You are the judge.
One day the Caliph received the visit of an old and saintly wise man of world repute.
“Oh, Emir of the believers I have come to help you find the right man to look after the interests of your people because there is no greater evil than incompetent men holding great office.”
“How will you choose the right man, oh Holy One?” asked the Caliph.
“I will test them Sire if you would let them come to me, one by one.”
And so the Caliph did. He ordered all his viziers and advisers, his chamberlains and generals, his relatives and followers to visit the wise man.
Weeks later the Holy Man returned to the Caliph and said to him sadly, “My Lord, none of those you have sent is the right man.”
Greatly perturbed, the Caliph told him, “Go into my city, test any man you wish, and when you find the one whom you are looking for, I shall take him as my Grand Vizier to rule in my name and conduct the affairs of my state.”
A few more weeks passed and the wise man returned to the Caliph and said to him, “I have found none who deserve your trust.”
“Have you tested all my subjects?” asked the Caliph.
“Yes my Lord, all of them,” replied the wise man.
At that instant, one of the courtiers bowing low to the Caliph said, “Magnificent One! Goha has not yet been tested. Maybe he can find grace in the eyes of the wise man.”
At this the whole court burst out laughing; but not the wise man who asked, bewildered, “Who is this Goha? Sire, may I test this man?” And the courtiers laughed louder than ever.
The Caliphs sent guards to summon Goha to the presence of the wise man.
They found Goha sitting in his garden on the grass, his back resting against a tree, drinking, and eating. Unperturbed he told the guards, “I shall not go to the wise man, not while I’m enjoying my cup. If he wants, let him come to me.”
Hearing the Guard’s report, the Caliph was angered and ordered for Goha to be brought by force; but the wise man intervened and begged to be allowed to Goha himself.
When later the wise man returned, he was beaming:
“Oh, Emir of the Believers, I have found your man. He is Goha, the greatest man of your kingdom.”
The Caliph and all those who were with him were astonished by him, and the Caliph said to the wise man, “Are you sure, oh Holy Man, that Goha is the one you are seeking?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Well, my Lord, I have tested Goha as I have tested all your subjects, and he was the only one to answer me correctly.”
“Now,” said the Caliph, “Tell me about that test, so that I may better be a judge of its value.”
“My Lord,” said the wise man, “As I came in front of Goha, I stood looking at him intensely. I gave no greeting and I received none. After a while, I pointed my forefinger stiffly at him, meaning “There is but One God.”
Goha did not hesitate but answered me with his two first fingers, wide open, jabbing in my direction, meaning, “The only God who is two in one.”
Greatly cheered by his answer, I pointed my finger to the ground, meaning, “He who has created the World.” Immediately Goha pointed to the skies in answer, replying, “He who reigns in Heaven.”
I took an egg from my pocket and showed it to him, meaning by this, “He, the all-powerful who from a dead object brings forth life.” To this, Goha replied with a smile, extended a piece of cheese showing me, “He is also the One that from a living thing can make a dead object.”
Impressed by this tale, the Caliph called for Goha and appointed him, as from that time, Grand Vizier.
Many months passed and the Caliph observing that the affairs of his State were becoming chaotic, and having his doubts about Goha’s ability as Grand Vizier, had Goha summoned to his presence.
And the Caliph ordered Goha, “Tell me what has taken place between you and the wise man,” and seeing Goha hesitate, said sternly, “Speak! Or I will order my Executioner to behead you on the spot.”
Trembling with fear, Goha fell on his face before the Caliph, crying, “Oh Emir of the Believers, I was lying in my garden, minding my own business, when your guards came to me and said, ‘Goha, move thyself to the Palace and present thyself to the wise man, who desires to speak with you.’ I told them to be gone and to tell the wise man to come to me if he so wished, as I had nothing to say to him. An hour later, the wise man came. I was still lying in my garden and he stood looking down at me. He stared at me and I stared at him. He scowled and I scowled, my eyes did not waver one second from him. After trying in vain to browbeat me in this way, he suddenly jabbed his finger at me, meaning I presumed, that he would have my eye out. Immediately, I jabbed back at him with my two fingers extended, indicating to him that I would have both his eyes out. Then he made a gesture as if he would throw me in the air and determined not to be impressed, I countered suggesting I would flatten him to the ground. Obviously impressed by my lack of fear, he decided to make a friendly overture and indicated that he liked to eat eggs whilst drinking and I being a friendly man accepted his gesture and indicated without speaking that I preferred cheese.”
The Caliph threw back his head and roared with laughter, to the great surprise of Goha, then flinging him a heavy purse of gold, sent him back to his little garden saying, “Goha, you may not be the wisest of men, but you have made me laugh as I have never laughed before, and surely, this is a gift from Allah that sets you apart from other men, so go in peace but never let me set eyes upon your face again”.