Masnavi 1U

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STORY II. The Arab and his Dog.
The doctrine of the Mu'tazilites, 1 mentioned, that all men's
intellects are alike and equal at birth, is again controverted, and the poet
dwells on the essential differences which characterize the intellects akin to
Universal Reason or the Logos, and those swayed by partial or carnal reason;
the former, like the children of Israel, seeking exaltation through
self-abasement; and the others, like Pharaoh, running after worldly rank and
power, to their own destruction. In order to make probation of men, as already
explained, God fills the world with deceptions, 2 making apparent
blessings destructive to us, and apparent evils salutary. On the other hand, if
men try to deceive God, they fail signally. Hypocritical weeping and wailing
like that of Joseph's brethren is at once detected by God. Thus a certain Arab
had a dog to which he was much attached; but one day the dog died of hunger. He
at once began to weep and wail, and disturbed the whole neighborhood by his
ostentatious grief One of the neighbors came and inquired into the matter, and
on hearing that the dog had died of hunger, he asked the Arab why he had not
fed him from the wallet of food which he had in his hand. The Arab said that he
had collected this food to support himself, and made it a principle not to part
with any of it to any one who could not pay for it; but that, as his tears cost
him nothing, he was pouring them forth in token of the sorrow he felt for his
dog's death. The neighbor, on hearing this, rebuked him for his hypocrisy, and
went his way. Then follows a commentary on the text, "Almost would the
infidels strike thee down with their very looks when they hear the reading of
the Koran." 3