Abou Ben Adhem Questions and Answers ICSE Class 9 and Class 10

Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.

Extract – I

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,

Question 1 : What did Abou Ben Adhem see when he woke from a deep sleep one night?

Answer : Abou Ben Adhem saw an angel when he woke from a deep sleep one night. The angel was as beautiful as the lily flower in bloom. She was writing something in a book of gold (a divine book containing the names of people who love God).

Question 2 : What did Abou Ben Adhem ask the angel? What was the angel’s response?

Answer : ‘Abou Ben Adhem asked the angel what she was writing in the book. The angel responded by saying that she was writing the names of those people who love God.

Question 3 : What did Abou request the angel to do when he learnt that his name did not appear among the names of those who loved the Lord? What does this reveal to us of Abou Ben Adhem’s character?

Answer : When he learnt that his name did not appear among the names of people who loved the Lord, Abou requested the angel to write his name among those who love their fellow men. Abou Ben Adhem did not lose his spirit when he came to know that his name was not in the list of people who loved God. He still spoke to the angel with cheer and joy.

Question 4 : EWhen and how did the angel appear to Abou Ben Adhem again? What did the angel show Abou this time?

Answer : The angel appeared to Abou Ben Adhem again the next night. It appeared with a great awakening light which was so bright that it awoke Abou Ben Adhem. The angel showed him the names of those people whom God has blessed with his love and affection.

Question 5 : What does the poet mean by ‘May his tribe increased! What do you think he says this? What is the central message of the poem?

Answer : By ‘may his tribe increase’, the poet wishes for the growth of people who followed the teachings of Abou Ben Adhem. He says this because Abou loved his tribesmen and helped them greatly so he (the poet) wanted the tribe of Abou (the followers of Abou ) to increase.

The central message of the poem is that God blesses and loves those people who love and serve their fellowmen. If one wants to please God, one must please one’s fellow men.

Extract – II

And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”-The vision raised its
head, And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men”.

Question 1 : Why did neither of them show any surprise in their encounter or meeting?

Answer : The poem is based on a spiritual background where existence of God and His messengers seemed to be common and certain. Abou Ben Adhem being a Sufi was a great believer of God as well as his angels so he did not find it surprising to see an angel in his room while the angel too knew the spiritual side of Abou Ben and was certain that it would be spotted by him. Thus neither of them showed any surprise.

Question 2 : How did the angel respond to his question?

Answer : The angel raised its head and looked at Ben with a face that evokes kindness. Angel told him that it was writing the names of those who loved God. When Abou Ben asked him if his name was written in the book. The angel replied him in negative.

Question 3 : What did Abou Ben want to know when the angel told him that it was writing the names of those who loved God? and Why?

Answer : Hearing that the names of those who loved God, were being written. Abou Ben got curious to know if his name was fortunate enough to be written along with other peoples. He too was a great lover of God and had left all the luxurious to serve him and his people. Thus he thought that his name should be among those who loved God.

Question 4 : What was the effect of the angels answer on Abou’s tone?

Answer : The answer affected the volume of his tone as it got more love. It happened so because he himself was a great lover of God and thought himself to be worthy of the place among the lovers of God. Though his voice became more low, he did not lose his spirit and was still speaking with cheer and joy.

Question 5 : What did Ben Adhem request the angel to do? and why?

Answer : Ben Adhem told the angel that since his name was not in the list of people who loved God, his name should be written as the one that loves his fellow men. It implies that he wanted his name to reach the almighty same way or the other so that he could know his deeds and could bless  him.

Question 6 : What is the significance of the book of gold?

Answer : The second question asked by Ben was if his name appeared in the list of the people who loved God. In this poem the book of gold symbolised its great value and richness placed as its contents. This was not an ordinary book but a divine one where everyone craved to place his name.

Extract – III

The angel wrote , and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

Question 1 : What happened the following night?

Answer : The following night the angel appeared again in Ben’s room with a white light and showed him the names of the people whom God had blessed. Ben was surprised to see that his name was first in the list.

Question 2 : Describe the angel in Abou Ben Adhem. 

Answer : As described by the poet the angel is a divine messenger. The room is full of golden light due to angel’s presence and its face has an unparalleled sweetness. It seems to have been sent by God himself to test Abou Ben Adhem’s patience.

Question 3 : Explain “a great wakening light.” How has Abou Ben Adhem been rewarded?

Answer : The above line refers to the bright light capable of wakening the world. Abou Ben Adhem’s name has been added in that list in which God has blessed the people. Inclusion of his name in that list is a big achievement for Ben Adhem.

Question 4 : Write a short note on the traits of Abou Ben Adhem.

Answer : As described in this poem, Abou Ben Adhem was a pious man and the leader of a tribe. He loved his fellow men and was rewarded with God’s love. He was quite patient and thankful of whatever he had. He had always thought the well being of his fellow men first.

Question 5 : What is the theme of the poem ‘Abou Ben Adhem’?

Answer : The theme of this poem is that God loves those who love their fellow men. Abou had shown true brotherhood and selfless love towards his people, which made him, more close to God. It was the best type of worship. Abou Ben Adhem’s name was on top of the list of those who loved their fellowmen. Man is the most beloved creature of God, so those who love their fellowmen too deserve His blessings.