what narrow thinkers imagine to be wisdom is often seen by
the Sufis to be folly, the Sufis in contrast sometimes call
themselves 'The Idiots'. By a happy chance, too, the Arabic
word for 'Saint' (wali) has the same numerical equivalent
as the word for 'Idiot' (Balid) So we have a double motive
for regarding the Sufi great ones as our own Idiots.
THE FRUIT OF HEAVEN
was once a woman who had heard of the Fruit of Heaven. She
a certain dervish, whom we shall call Sabar:
I find this fruit, so that I may attain to immediate knowledge?'
best be advised to study with me', said the dervish. 'But
if you will not do so, you will have to travel resolutely
and at times restlessly throughout the world.'
him and sought another, Arif the Wise One, and then found
Hakim, the Sage, then Majzup the Mad, then Alim the Scientist,
and many more......
passed thirty years in her search. Finally she came to a garden.
There stood the Tree of Heaven, and from its branches hung
the bright Fruit of Heaven.
beside the Tree was Sabar, the First Dervish.
did you no tell me when we first met that
you were the Custodian of the Fruit of Heaven?' she asked
you would not then have believed me. Besides, the Tree produces
fruit only once in thirty years and thirty days'.
THE SUFI AND THE TALE OF HALAKU
Sufi teacher was visited by a number of people of various
faiths who said to him:
your disciples, for we see that there is no remaining truth
in our religions, and we are certain that what you are teaching
is the one true path'.
you not heard of the Mongol Halaku Khan and his invasion of
Syria? Let me tell you.
The Vizier Ahmad of the Caliph Mustasim of Baghdad invited
the Mongol to invade his master's domains. When Halaku had
won the battle for Baghdad, Ahmad went out to meet him, to
be rewarded. Halaku said: "Do you seek your recompense?"
and the Vizier answered, "Yes".
have betrayed your own master to me, and yet you expect me
to believe that you will be faithful to me". He ordered
Ahmed to be hanged.
ask anyone to accept you, ask yourself whether it is not simply
because you have not followed the path of your own teacher.
If you are satisfied about this, then come and ask to become
Abu Tahir attracted many students through his illuminating
discourses and by circulating epistles which were favourably
commented upon by all the major thinkers of the day.
however, people collected to hear him speak in person, they
could only get him to repeat a single phrase:
for the merit, not for the man'.
was given out several times a day for five years. Someone
to the sage Ibriqi and begged him to help with some sort of
explanation of the strange conduct of Abu Tahir.
because the Mir says something regularly. But you do not complain
that the sun raises and sets every single day. Yet the two
things are the same. Like the sun, the Mir is doing something
valuable. If you make no use of it,
he must still continue to 'shine'
for the benefit of those who can
profit, or of you, at a time when you