Does that title mean anything to you? What about the name Arjumand Banu Begum? Probably not. But if I said Taj Mahal, you’d immediately know to what I was referring.
Mumtaz Mahal – born Arjumand Banu Begum – died on this date in 1631 in Agra, India. A daughter of Persian nobility, she was married at age 19 to Prince Khurram – Shah Jahan – the emperor.
Arjumand was Shah Jahan’s third wife, but became his favorite, as denoted by the title he gave her: Mumtaz Mahal. It means the chosen one of the palace.
Arjumand traveled with Shah Jahan exclusively. She was a positive influence on her husband, and she often intervened on behalf of the poor. An official court reporter wrote that the couple was so in love, Shah Jahan had no interest in his other two wives except to fulfil his requirement to father a child with them.
Arjumand died during the birth of the couple’s fourteenth child. Heartbroken, Shah Jahan mourned in seclusion for a year. In Arjumand’s honor, he built the Taj Mahal as her mausoleum, a task that took 22 years to complete. For more about Arjumand and Shah Jahan, check out The Complete Taj Mahal by Ebba Koch.
While the romantic in me can appreciate an epic love story, I can’t help but wonder about Shah Jahan’s other wives. How did they endure the lack of their husband’s love?
We have a record in Genesis of Jacob’s first wife, Leah, who felt unloved by her husband. She longed to have first place in Jacob’s heart. But Jacob loved his second wife, Rachel – Leah’s own sister – more than he loved Leah. Though Leah was Jacob’s first wife, the knowledge of her second place standing became evident in her words and actions (Genesis 29:16-30). She bore 7 children to Jacob. By the time she had her fourth son, she praised God. Leah recognized the kindness and mercy of God and found Him to be the true Lover of her soul.
Have you found God to be the Lover of your soul? Has He chosen you and crowned you with compassion? What are some ways He has lavished His surpassing love on you?