II - THE MORALS OF DERVISHES
One of the great devotees
having been asked about his opinion concerning a hermit whom
others had censured in their conversation, he replied: I
do not see any external blemishes on him and do not know of internal
Whomsoever thou seest in
a religious habit
Consider him to be a religious
and good man
And, if thou knowest not
his internal condition,
What business has the muhtasib
inside the house?
I saw a dervish who placed
his head upon the threshold of the Kabah, groaned, and
said: O forgiving, 0 merciful one, thou knowest what an
unrighteous, ignorant man can offer to thee.
I have craved pardon for
the deficiency of my service
Because I can implore no
reward for my obedience.
Sinners repent of their
Arifs ask forgiveness for
their imperfect worship.
Devotees desire a reward
for their obedience and merchants the price of their wares but
I, who am a worshipper, have brought hope and not obedience.
I have come to beg and not to trade. Deal with me as thou deemest
Whether thou killest me
or forgivest my crime,
my face and head are on
A slave has nothing to command;
whatever thou commandest I obey.
I saw a mendicant at the
door of the Kabah Who said this and wept abundantly:
I saw Abd-u-Qader
Gaillani in the sanctuary of the Kabah with his face on
the pebbles and saying: O lord, pardon my sins and, if
I deserve punishment, cause me to arise blind on the day of resurrection
that I may not be ashamed in the sight of the righteous.
With my face on the earth
I say Every morning as soon
as I become conscious:
O thou whom I shall never
Wilt thou at all remember
A thief paid a visit to
the house of a pious man but, although he sought a great deal,
found nothing and was much grieved. The pious man, who knew this,
threw the blanket upon which he had been sleeping into the way
of the thief that he might not go away disappointed.
I heard that men of the
way of God
Have not distressed the
hearts of enemies.
How canst thou attain that
Who quarrelest and wagest
war against friends?
The friendship of pure men,
whether in thy presence or absence, is not such as Will find
fault behind thy back and is ready to die for thee before thy
Who brings the faults of
another to thee and enumerates them Will undoubtedly carry thy
faults to others.
Several travellers were
on a journey together and equally sharing each others troubles
and comforts. I desired to accompany them but they would not
agree. Then I said: It is foreign to the manners of great
men to turn away the face from the company of the poor and so
deprive themselves of the advantage they might derive therefrom
because I for one consider
myself sufficiently strong and energetic to be of service to
men and not an encumbrance. Although I am not riding on a beast,
I shall aid you in carrying blankets. One of them said:
Do not be grieved at the words thou hast heard because
some days ago a thief in the guise of a dervish arrived and joined
As the state of dervishes
is safe, they entertained no suspicion about him and received
him as a friend.
The outward state of Arifs
is the patched dress.
It suffices as a display
to the face of the people.
Strive by thy acts to be
good and wear anything thou listest.
Place a crown on thy head
and a flag on thy back.
The abandoning of the world,
of lust, and of desire
Is sanctity, not the abandonment
of the robe only.
It is necessary to show
manhood in the fight.
Of what profit are weapons
of war to an hermaphrodite?
We travelled one day till
the night set in during which we slept near a fort and the graceless
thief, taking up the water-pot of a companion, pretending to
go for an ablution, departed for plunder.
After disappearing from
the sight of the dervishes, he went to a tower from which he
stole a casket and, when the day dawned, the dark-hearted wretch
had already progressed a considerable distance. In the morning
the guiltless sleeping companions were all taken to the fort
and thrown into prison. From that date we renounced companionship
and took the road of solitude, according to the maxim: Safety
is in solitude.
When one of a tribe has
done a foolish thing
No honour is left either
to the low or the high.
Seest thou not how one ox
of the pasturage
Defiles all oxen of the
I replied: Thanks
be to the God of majesty and glory, I have not been excluded
from the advantages enjoyed by dervishes, although I have separated
myself from their society. I have profited by what thou hast
narrated to me and this admonition will be of use through life
to persons like me.
For one rude fellow in the
The heart of intelligent
men is much grieved.
If a tank be filled with
A dog falling into it pollutes
A hermit, being the guest
of a padshah, ate less than he wished when sitting at dinner
and when he rose for prayers he prolonged them more than was
his wont in order to enhance the opinion entertained by the padshah
of his piety.
O Arab of the desert, I
fear thou wilt not reach the Kabah
Because the road on which
thou travellest leads to Turkestan.
When he returned to his
own house, he desired the table to be laid out for eating. He
had an intelligent son who said: Father, hast thou not
eaten anything at the repast of the sultan? He replied:
I have not eaten anything to serve a purpose. The
boy said: Then likewise say thy prayers again as thou hast
not done anything to serve that
O thou who showest virtues
on the palms of the hand
But concealest thy errors
under the armpit
What wilt thou purchase,
O vain-glorious fool,
On the day of distress with
I remember, being in my
childhood pious, rising in the night, addicted to devotion and
abstinence. One night I was sitting with my father, remaining
awake and holding the beloved Quran in my lap, whilst the people
around us were asleep. I said: Not one of these persons
lifts up his head or makes a genuflection. They are as fast asleep
as if they were dead. He replied: Darling of thy
father, would that thou wert also asleep rather than disparaging
The pretender sees no one
Because he has the veil
of conceit in front.
If he were endowed with
a God-discerning eye
He would see that no one
is weaker than himself.
A great man was praised
in an assembly and, his good qualities being extolled, he raised
his head and said: I am such as I know myself to be.
O thou who reckonest my
virtues, refrainest from giving me pain,
These are my open, and thou
knowest not my hidden, qualities.
My person is, to the eyes
of the world, of good aspect
But my internal wickedness
makes me droop my head with shame.
The peacock is for his beauteous
colours by the people
Praised whilst he is ashamed
of his ugly feet.
One of the devotees of Mount
Lebanon, whose piety was famed in the Arab country and his miracles
well known, entered the cathedral mosque of Damascus and was
performing his purificatory ablution on the edge
of a tank when his feet
slipped and he fell into the reservoir but saved himself with
great trouble. After the congregation had finished their prayers,
one of his companions said: I have a difficulty.
He asked: What is it? He continued: I remember
that the sheikh walked on the surface of the African sea without
his feet getting wetted and today he nearly perished in this
paltry water which is not deeper than a mans stature. What
reason is there in this? The sheikh drooped his head into
the bosom of meditation and said after a long pause: Hast
thou not heard that the prince of the world, Muhammad the chosen,
upon whom be the benediction of Allah and
peace, has said: I have
time with Allah during which no cherubim nor inspired prophet
is equal to me? But he did not say that such was always
the case. The time alluded to was when Gabriel or Michael inspired
him whilst on other occasions he was satisfied with the society
of Hafsah and Zainab. The visions of the righteous one are
between brilliancy and obscurity.
Thou showest thy countenance
and then hidest it
Enhancing thy value and
augmenting our desire.
I behold whom I love without
Then a trance befalls me;
I lose the road;
It kindles fire, then quenches
it with a sprinkling shower.
Wherefore thou seest me
burning and drowning.
One asked the man who had
lost his son:
O noble and intelligent
As thou hast smelt the odour
of his garment from Egypt
Why hast thou not seen him
in the well of Canaan?
My state is that of
One moment it appears and
at another vanishes.
I am sometimes sitting in
Sometimes I cannot see the
back of my foot.
Were a dervish always to
remain in that state
He would not care for the
I spoke in the cathedral
mosque of Damascus a few words by way of a sermon but to a congregation
whose hearts were withered and dead, not having travelled from
the road of the world of form, the physical, to the world of
meaning, the moral world. I perceived that my words took no effect
and that burning fire does not kindle moist wood. I was sorry
for instructing brutes and holding forth a mirror in a locality
of blind people. I had, however, opened the door of meaning and
was giving a long explanation of the verse We are nearer unto
Him than the jugular vein
till I said:
The Friend is nearer
to me than my self,
But it is more strange that
I am far from him.
What am I to do? To whom
can it be said that he
Is in my arms, but I am
exiled from him.
I had intoxicated myself
with the wine of these sentiments, holding the remnant of the
cup of the sermon in my hand when a traveller happened to pass
near the edge of the assembly, and the last turn of the circulating
cup made such an impression upon him that he shouted and the
others joined him who began to roar, whilst the raw
portion of the congregation
became turbulent. Whereon I said: Praise be to Allah! Those
who are far away but intelligent are in the presence of Allah,
and those who are near but blind are distant.
When the hearer understands
not the meaning of words
Do not look for the effect
of the orators force
But raise an extensive field
That the eloquent man may
strike the ball of effect.
One night I had in the desert
of Mekkah become so weak from want of sleep that I was unable
to walk and, laying myself down, told the camel driver to let
How far can the foot of
a wretched pedestrian go
When a dromedary gets distressed
by its load?
Whilst the body of a fat
man becomes lean
A weak man will be dead
He replied: O brother,
the sanctuary is in front of us and brigands in the rear. If
thou goest thou wilt prosper. If thou sleepest thou wilt die.
I saw a holy man on the
seashore who had been wounded by a tiger. No medicine could relieve
his pain; he suffered much but he nevertheless constantly thanked
God the most high, saying: Praise be to Allah that I have
fallen into a calamity and not into sin.
If that beloved Friend decrees
me to be slain
I shall not say that moment
that I grieve for life
Or say: What fault has thy
My grief will be for having
A dervish who had fallen
into want stole a blanket from the house of a friend. The judge
ordered his hand to be amputated but the owner of the blanket
interceded, saying that he had condoned the fault. The judge
rejoined: Thy intercession cannot persuade me to neglect
the provision of the law. The man continued: Thou
hast spoken the truth but amputation is not applicable to a person
who steals some property dedicated to pious uses. More over a
beggar possesses nothing and whatever belongs to a dervish is
dedicated to the use of the needy. Thereon the judge released
the culprit, saying: The world must indeed have become
too narrow for thee that thou hast committed no theft except
from the house of such a friend. He replied: Hast
thou not heard the saying: Sweep out the house of friends and
do not knock at the door of foes.
A padshah, meeting a holy
man, asked him whether he did not sometimes remember him for
the purpose of getting presents. He replied: Yes, I do,
whenever I forget God.
Whom He drives from his
door, runs everywhere.
Whom He calls, runs to no
A pious man saw in a dream
a padshah in paradise and a devotee in hell whereon he asked
for the reason of the formers exaltation and the latters
degradation, saying that he had imagined the contrary ought to
be the case. He received the following answer: The padshah
had, for the love he bore to dervishes, been rewarded with paradise
and the devotee had, for associating with padshahs, been punished
Of what use is thy frock,
rosary and patched dress?
Keep thyself free from despicable
Then thou wilt have no need
of a cap of leaves.
Have the qualities of a
dervish and wear a Tatar cap.
A bareheaded and barefooted
pedestrian who had arrived from Kufah with the Hejaz-caravan
of pilgrims joined us, strutted about and recited:
I am neither riding
a camel nor under a load like a camel.
I am neither a lord of subjects
nor the slave of a potentate.
Grief for the present, or
distress for the past, does not trouble me.
I draw my breath in comfort
and thus spend my life.
A camel-rider shouted to
him: O dervish, where art thou going? Return, for thou
wilt expire from hardships. He paid no attention but entered
the desert and marched. When we reached the station at the palm-grove
of Mahmud, the rich man was on the point of death and the dervish,
approaching his pillow, said: We have not expired from
hardship but thou hast died on a dromedary.
A man wept all night near
the head of a patient.
When the day dawned he died
and the patient revived.
Many a fleet charger had
While a lame ass reached
the station alive.
Often healthy persons were
in the soil
Buried and the wounded did
A hermit, having been invited
by a padshah, concluded that if he were to take some medicine
to make himself weak he might perhaps enhance the opinion of
the padshah regarding his merits. But it is related that the
medicine was lethal so that when he partook of it he died.
Who appeared to thee all
marrow like a pistachio
Was but skin upon skin like
Devotees with their face
towards the world
Say their prayers with their
back to the Qiblah.
When a worshipper calls
upon his God,
He must know no one besides
A caravan having been plundered
in the Yunan country and deprived of boundless wealth, the merchants
wept and lamented, beseeching God and the prophet to intercede
for them with the robbers, but ineffectually.
Loqman the philosopher being
among the people of the caravan, one of them asked him to speak
a few words of wisdom and advice to the robbers so that they
might perhaps return some of the property they had plundered
because the loss of so much wealth would be lamentable. Loqman
replied: It would be lamentable to utter one
word of wisdom to them.
The rust which has eaten
Cannot be removed by polishing.
Of what use is preaching
to a black heart?
An iron nail cannot be driven
into a rock.
Help the distressed in the
day of prosperity
Because comforting the poor
averts evil from thyself.
When a mendicant implores
thee for a thing,
Give it or else an oppressor
may take it by force.
Despite the abundant admonitions
of the most illustrious Sheikh Abulfaraj Ben Juzi to shun musical
entertainments and to prefer solitude and retirement, the budding
of my youth overcame me, my sensual desires were excited so that,
unable to resist them, I walked some steps contrary to the opinion
of my tutor, enjoying myself in musical amusements and convivial
meetings. When the advice of my sheikh occurred to my mind, I
If the qazi were sitting
with us, he would clap his hands.
If the muhtasib were bibbing
wine, he would excuse a drunkard.
Thus I lived till I paid
one night a visit to an assembly of people in which I saw a musician.
The audience now stopped
their ears with their fingers, and now put them on their lips
to silence him. We became ecstatic by the sounds of pleasing
songs but thou art such a singer that when thou art silent we
No one feels pleased by
Except at the time of departure
when thou pleasest.
When that harper began to
I said to the host: For
Put mercury in my ear that
I may not hear
Or open the door that I
may go away.
In short, I tried to please
my friends and succeeded after a considerable struggle in spending
the whole night there.
The muezzin shouted the
call to prayers out of time,
Not knowing how much of
the night had elapsed.
Ask the length of the night
from my eyelids
For sleep did not enter
my eyes one moment.
In the morning I took my
turban from my head, with one dinar from my belt by way of gratification,
and placed them before the musician whom I embraced and thanked.
My friends who saw that my appreciation of his merits was unusual
attributed it to the levity of my intellect and laughed secretly.
One of them, however, lengthened out his tongue of objection
and began to reproach me, saying that I had committed an act
repugnant to intelligent men by bestowing a portion of my professional
dress upon a musician who had all his life not a dirhem laid
upon the palm of his hand nor filings of silver or of gold placed
on his drum.
A musician! Far be he from
this happy abode.
No one ever saw him twice
in the same place.
As soon as the shout rose
from his mouth
The hair on the bodies of
the people stood on end.
The fowls of the house,
terrified by him, flew away
Whilst he distracted our
senses and tore his throat.
I said: It will be
proper to shorten the tongue of objection because his talent
has become evident to me. He then asked me to explain the
quality of it in order to inform the company so that all might
apologize for the jokes they had cracked about me. I replied:
Although my sheikh had often told me to abandon musical
entertainments and had given
me abundant advice, I did not mind it. This night my propitious
horoscope and my august luck have guided me to this place where
I have, on hearing the performance of this musician, repented
and vowed never again to attend at singing and convivial parties.
A pleasant voice, from a
sweet palate, mouth and lips,
Whether employed in singing
or not, enchants the heart
But the melodies of lovers
of Isfahan or of the Hejaz
From the windpipe of a bad
singer are not nice.
Loqman, being asked from
whom he had learnt civility, replied: From those who had
no civility because what appeared to me unbecoming in them I
refrained from doing.
Not a word is said even
Without an intelligent man
taking advice thereby.
But if a hundred chapters
of wisdom are read to a fool
All strike his ear merely
It is related that a hermit
consumed during one night ten mann of food and perused the whole
Quran till morning. A pious fellow who had heard of this said:
It would have been more excellent if he had eaten half
a loaf and slept till the morning.
Keep thy interior empty
That thou mayest behold
therein the light of marifet.
Thou art empty of wisdom
for the reason
That thou art replete with
food up to the nose.
A man had by his sins forfeited
the divine favour but the lamp of grace nevertheless so shone
upon his path that it guided him into the circle of religious
men and, by the blessing of his association with dervishes, as
well as by the example of their righteousness, the depravities
of his character were transmuted into virtues and he refrained
from lust and passion. But the tongues of the malevolent were
lengthened with reference to his character, lleging that it was
the same as it had ever been and that his abstinence and piety
He could no longer bear
the reviling tongues and complained to the pir of the Tariqat.
The sheikh wept and said: How wilt thou be able to be sufficiently
grateful for this divine favour that thou art better than the
How long wilt thou say:
The malevolent and envious
Are searching out the defects
of my humble self.
Sometimes they arise to
shed my blood.
Sometimes they sit down
to curse me.
To be good and to be in
spoken of by the people
Is better than to be bad
and considered good by them.
Look at me whom the good
opinion of our contemporaries deems to be
perfect whereas I am imperfection
If I were doing what I speak
I would be of good conduct
and a devotee.
Verily I am veiled from
the eyes of my neighbours
But Allah knows my secret
and my overt concerns.
The door is locked to the
access of people
That they may not spread
out my faults.
What profiteth a closed
door? The Omniscient
Knows what I conceal or
I complained to one of the
sheikhs that a certain man had falsely accused me of lasciviousness.
He replied: Put him to shame by thy good conduct.
Be thou well behaved that
May not find occasion to
speak of thy faults.
When the harp is in proper
How can the hand of the
musician correct it?
One of the sheikhs of Syria,
being asked on the true state of the Sufis, replied: In
former times they were a tribe in the world, apparently distressed,
but in reality contented whereas today they are people outwardly
satisfied but inwardly discontented.
If my heart roams away from
thee every hour,
Thou wilt find no tranquillity
But if thou possessest property,
dignity, fields and wares,
If thy heart be with God,
thou wilt be a recluse.
I remember having once walked
all night with a caravan and then slept on the edge of the desert.
A distracted man who had accompanied us on that journey raised
a shout, ran towards the desert and took not a moments
rest. When it was daylight, I asked him what state of his that
was. He replied: I saw bulbuls commencing to
lament on the trees, the
partridges on the mountains, the frogs in the water and the beasts
in the desert so I bethought myself that it would not be becoming
for me to sleep in carelessness while they all were praising
Yesterday at dawn a bird
Depriving me of sense, patience,
strength and consciousness.
One of my intimate friends
Had perhaps heard my distressed
Said: I could not
believe that thou
Wouldst be so dazed by a
I replied: It is not
becoming to humanity
That I should be silent
when birds chant praises.
It once happened that on
a journey to the Hejaz a company of young and pious men, whose
sentiments harmonized with mine, were my fellow-travellers. They
occasionally sung and recited spiritual verses but we had with
us also an abid, who entertained a bad opinion of the behaviour
of the dervishes and was ignorant of their sufferings. When we
reached the palm-grove of the Beni Hallal, a black boy of the
encampment, falling into a state of excitement, broke out in
a strain which brought down the birds from the sky. I saw, however,
the camel of the abid, which began to prance, throwing
him and running into the desert.
Knowest thou what that matutinal
bulbul said to me?
What man art thou to be
ignorant of love?
The Arabic verses threw
a camel into ecstasy and joy.
If thou hast no taste thou
art an ill-natured brute.
When a camels head
is turned by the frenzy of joy
And a man does not feel
it, he must be an ass.
When the winds blow over
The branches of the ban-tree
bend, not hard rocks.
Whatever thou beholdest
chants his praises.
He knows this who has the
Not only the bulbul on the
rosebush sings praises
But every bramble is a tongue,
The life of a king was drawing
to a close and he had no successor. He ordered in his last testament
that the next morning after his death the first person entering
the gate of the city be presented with the royal crown and be
entrusted with the government of the realm. It so happened that
the first person who entered was a mendicant who had all his
life subsisted on the morsels he collected and had sewn patch
after patch upon his clothes. The pillars of the state and grandees
of the court executed the injunction of the king and bestowed
upon him the government and the treasures; whereon the dervish
reigned for a while until some amirs of the monarchy withdrew
their necks from his obedience and kings from every side began
to rise for hostilities and to prepare their armies for war.
At last his own troops and subjects also rebelled and deprived
him of a portion of his dominions. This event afflicted the mind
of the dervish until one of his old friends, who had been his
companion when he was yet himself a dervish, returned from a
journey and, seeing him in such an exalted position, said: Thanks
be to God the most high and glorious that thy rose has thus come
forth from the thorn and thy thorn was extracted from thy foot.
Thy high luck has aided thee and prosperity with fortune has
guided thee till thou hast attained this position. Verily hardship
is followed by comfort.
He replied: Brother,
condole with me because there is no occasion for congratulation.
When thou sawest me last, I was distressed for bread and now
a world of distress has overwhelmed me.
If I have no wealth I grieve.
If I have some the love
of it captivates me.
There is no greater calamity
than worldly goods.
Both their possession and
their want are griefs.
If thou wishest for power,
Except contentment which
is sufficient happiness.
If a rich man pours gold
into thy lap
Care not a moment for thanking
Because often I heard great
The patience of a dervish
is better than the gift of a rich man.
A man had a friend, who
held the office of devan to the padshah, but whom he had not
seen for a long time; and, a man having asked him for the reason,
he replied: I do not want to see him. A dependent
however of the devan, who also happened to be present, queried:
What fault has he committed that thou art unwilling to
meet him? He replied: There is no fault in the matter
but a friend who is a devan may be seen when he is removed from
Whilst in greatness and
in the turmoil of busines
They do not like to be troubled
But when they are depressed
and removed from office
They will lay open their
hearts grief to friends.
Abu Harirah, may the approbation
of Allah be upon him, was in the habit of daily waiting upon
the Mustafa, peace on him, who said: Abu Harira, visit
me on alternate days that our love may increase. A man
said to a devotee: Beautiful as the sun is, I never heard
that anybody took it for a friend or fell in love with it,
and he replied: This is because it may be seen daily, except
in winter when it is veiled and beloved.
There is no harm in visiting
But not till they say: It
If thou findest fault with
Thou wilt not hear others
A man, being tormented story
by a contrary wind in his belly and not having the power to retain
it, unwittingly allowed it to escape. He said: Friends,
I had no option in what I did, the fault of it is not to be ascribed
to me and peace has resulted to my internal parts. Kindly excuse
The belly is a prison of
wind, O wise man.
No sage retains wind in
If wind twists thy belly
let it out
Because wind in the belly
is a burden to the heart.
Having become tired of my
friends in Damascus, I went into the desert of Jerusalem and
associated with animals till the time when I became a prisoner
of the Franks, who put me to work with infidels in digging the
earth of a moat in Tarapolis, when one of the chiefs of Aleppo,
with whom I had formerly been acquainted, recognized me and said:
What state is this? I recited:
I fled from men to
mountain and desert
Wishing to attend upon no
one but God.
Imagine what my state at
When I must be satisfied
in a stable of wretches.
The feet in chains with
Is better than to be with
strangers in a garden.
He took pity on my state
and ransomed me for ten dinars from the captivity of the Franks,
taking me to Aleppo where he had a daughter and married me to
her with a dowry of one hundred dinars. After some time had elapsed,
she turned out to be ill-humoured, quarrelsome, disobedient,
abusive in her tongue and embittering my life:
A bad wife in a good mans
Is his hell in this world
Alas for a bad consort,
Preserve us, O Lord from
the punishment of fire.
Once she lengthened her
tongue of reproach and said: Art thou not the man whom
my father purchased from the Franks for ten dinars? I replied:
Yes, he bought me for ten dinars and sold me into thy hands
for one hundred dinars.
I heard that a sheep had
by a great man
Been rescued from the jaws
and the power of a wolf.
In the evening he stroked
her throat with a knife
Whereon the soul of the
sheep complained thus:
Thou hast snatched me away
from the claws of a wolf,
But at last I see thou art
thyself a wolf.
A padshah asked a hermit:
How spendest thou thy precious time? He replied:
I am all night engaged in prayer, during the morning in
supplications and the rest of the day in restricting my expenses.
Then the king ordered a sufficient allowance to be allotted to
him so as to relieve him of the cares of his family.
O thou who art encumbered
with a family,
Think no more of ever enjoying
Cares for children, raiment
Restrain thee from the heavenly
Every day I renew my determination
To wait upon God until the
In the night, while tying
the knot of prayer,
I think what my children
will eat on the morrow.
A man, professing to be
a hermit in the desert of Syria, attended for years to his devotions
and subsisted on the leaves of trees. A padshah, who had gone
in that direction by way of pilgrimage, approached him and said:
If thou thinkest proper, we shall prepare a place for thee
in the town where thou wilt enjoy leisure for thy devotions and
others may profit by thy spiritual advice as well as imitate
thy good works. The hermit refused compliance but the pillars
of the State were of opinion that, in order to please the king,
he ought to spend a few days in town to ascertain the state of
the place; so that if he feared that the purity of his precious
time might become turbid by association with strangers, he would
still have the option to refuse compliance. It is related that
the hermit entered the town where a private garden-house of the
king, which was a heart-expanding and soul refreshing locality,
had been prepared to receive him.
Its red roses were like
the cheeks of belles,
Its hyacinths like the ringlets
Protected from the inclemency
Like sucklings who have
not yet tasted the nurses milk.
And branches with pomegranates
Fire suspended from the
The king immediately sent
him a beautiful slave-girl:
After beholding this hermit-deceiving
Of the form of an angel
and the beauty of a peacock,
After seeing her it would
To an anchorites nature
to remain patient.
After her he sent likewise
a slave-boy of wonderful beauty and graceful placidity:
People around him are dying
And he, who looks like a
cupbearer, gives no drink.
The sight cannot be satisfied
by seeing him
Like the dropsical man near
The hermit began to eat
delicious food, to wear nice clothes, to enjoy fruit and perfumed
confectionery as well as to contemplate the beauty of the slave-boy
and girl in conformity with the maxim of wise men, who have said
that the curls of belles are fetters to the feet of the intellect
and a snare to a sagacious bird.
In thy service I lost my
heart and religion with all my learning,
I am indeed the sagacious
bird and thou the snare.
In short, the happiness
of his former time of contentedness had come to an end, as the
Once the king desired to
visit him but saw the hermit changed from his former state, as
he had become red, white and corpulent. When the king entered,
he beheld him reclining on a couch of gold brocade whilst the
boy and the fairy stood near his head with a fan of peacocks
feathers. He expressed pleasure to behold the hermit in so comfortable
a position, conversed with him on many topics and said at the
conclusion of the visit: I am afraid of these two classes
of men in the world: scholars and hermits. The vezier,
who was a philosopher and experienced in the affairs of the world,
being present, said: O king, the conditions of friendship
require thee to
do good to both classes.
Bestow gold upon scholars that they may read more but give nothing
to hermits that they may remain hermits.
A hermit requires neither
dirhems nor dinars.
If he takes any, find another
Who has a good behaviour
and a secret with God
Is an anchorite without
the waqfbread or begged morsel.
With a handsome figure and
A girl is a belle without
turquoise-ring or pendants.
A dervish of good behaviour
and of happy disposition
Requires not the bread of
the rebat nor the begged morsel.
A lady endowed with a beauteous
form and chaste face
Requires no paint, adornment
When I have and covet more
It will not be proper to
call me an anchorite.
In conformity with the above
sentiments an affair of importance emerged to a padshah, who
thereon vowed that, if it terminated according to his wishes,
he would present devotees with a certain sum of money. His wish
having been fulfilled, it became necessary to keep his promise.
Accordingly he gave a purse of dirhems to one of his confidential
servants to distribute it among recluses. It is related that
the slave was intelligent and shrewd. He walked about all day
and returning at nightfall, kissed the dirhems and deposited
them before the king with the remark that he had not found any
devotees. The king rejoined: What nonsense is this? As
far as I know there are four hundred devotees in this town. He
said: Lord of the world, who is a devotee does not accept
money and who accepts it is not a devotee. The king smiled
and said to his courtiers: Despite of my wishing to do
good to this class of worshippers of God, this rogue bears them
emnity and thwarts my wish but truth is on his side.
One of the ulemma of solid
learning, having been asked for his opinion about waqfbread,
answered: If it be accepted to insure tranquillity of mind
from cares for food and to obtain leisure for devotion, it is
lawful but if it be taken for maintenance it is forbidden.
A dervish arrived in a place,
the owner of which was of a noble disposition, and had surrounded
himself with a company of distinguished and eloquent men, each
of whom uttered something elegant or jocular, according to the
fashion of wits. The dervish who had travelled through the desert
and was fatigued had eaten nothing. One
of the company asked him
by way of encouragement likewise to say something. The dervish
replied: I do not possess distinction and eloquence like
you and have read nothing so you must be satisfied with one distich
of mine. The company having agreed with pleasure he recited:
The company, having thus
been apprised of his famished condition, produced a table with
bread but as he began to eat greedily the host said: Friend,
at any rate stop a while till my servants roast some minced meat;
whereon the dervish lifted his head and recited:
A murid said to his pir:
What am I to do? I am troubled by the people, many of whom
pay me visits. By their coming and going they encroach upon my
precious time. He replied: Lend something to every
one of them who is poor and ask something from every one who
is rich and they will come round thee no more.
If a mendicant were the
leader of the army of Islam,
The infidels would for fear
of his importunity run as far as China.
The son of a faqih said
to his father: These heart-ravishing words of moralists
make no impression upon me because I do not see that their actions
are in conformity with their speeches.
They teach people to abandon
But themselves accumulate
silver and corn.
A scholar who only preaches
and nothing more
Will not impress anyone
when he speaks.
He is a scholar who commits
Not he who speaks to men
but acts not himself.
Will you enjoin virtue to
mankind and forget your own souls?
A scholar who follows his
lusts and panders to his body
Is himself lost although
he may show the way.
The father replied: My
son, it is not proper merely on account of this vain fancy to
turn away the face from the instruction of advisers, to travel
on the road of vanity, to accuse the ullemma of aberration, and
whilst searching for an immaculate scholar, to remain excluded
from the benefits of knowledge, like a blind man who one night
fell into the mud and shouted: O Musalmans, hold a lamp
on my path. Whereon a courtesan who heard him asked: As
thou canst not see the lamp, what wilt thou see with the lamp?
In the same way the preaching assembly is like the shop of a
dealer in linen because if thou bringest no money thou canst
obtain no wares and if thou bringest no inclination to the assembly
thou wilt not get any felicity.
He said: Listen with
thy souls ear to a scholar Although his actions may not
be like his doctrines.
In vain does the gainsayer
How can a sleeper
awaken a sleeper?
A man must receive into
The advice although it be
written on a wall.
A pious man came to the
door of a college from a monastery. He broke the covenant of
the company of those of the Tariq. I asked him what the difference
between a scholar and a monk amounts to? He replied: The
former saves his blanket from the waves Whilst the latter strives
to save the drowning man.
A man was sleeping dead-drunk
on the highway and the bridle of spontaneity had slipped from
his hands. A hermit passed near him and considered the disgraceful
condition he was in. The youth raised his head and recited: When
they passed near something contemptible, they passed it kindly.
When thou beholdest a sinner be concealing and meek.
Turn not thy face from a
sinner, O anchorite.
Look upon him with benignity.
If I am ignoble in my actions
Pass me by like a noble
A company of vagabonds met
a dervish, spoke insulting words to him, struck him and otherwise
molested him; whereon he complained to his superior and explained
the case. The pir replied: My son, the patched frock of
dervishes is the garment of resignation and who, wearing it,
cannot bear injuries is a pretender not entitled to the
A large river will not become
turbid from stones.
The Arif who feels aggrieved
is shallow water yet.
If he injures thee, bear
Because pardon will purify
thee from sin.
O brother, as the end is
dust, be dust before thou art turned into dust.
Listen to this story how
A flag and a curtain fell
Travel stained, dusty and
fatigued, the flag
Said to the curtain by way
I and thou, we are
both fellow servants,
Slaves of the sultans
Not a moment had I rest
In season and out of season
I travelled about.
Thou hast suffered neither
toil nor siege,
Not from the desert, wind,
nor dust and dirt.
My step in the march is
Then why is thy honour exceeding
Thou art upon moon-faced
Or jessamine scented slave
I have fallen into prentice
I travel with foot in fetters
and head fluttering.
The curtain said: My
head is on the threshold
Not like thine in the heavens.
Who carelessly lifts up
Throws himself upon his
A pious man saw an acrobat
in great dudgeon, full of wrath and foaming at the mouth. He
asked: What is the matter with this fellow? A bystander
said: Someone has insulted him. He remarked: This
base wretch is able to lift a thousand mann of stones and has
not the power to bear one word.
Abandon thy claim to strength
Thou art weak-minded and
base, whether thou be a man or woman.
If thou art able, make a
It is not manliness to strike
the fist on a mouth.
Although able to tear up
an elephants front
He is not a man who possessed
A mans nature is of
If he is not humble he is
not a man.
I asked a good man concerning
the qualities of the brethren of purity. He replied: The
least of them is that they prefer to please their friends rather
than themselves; and philosophers have said that a brother who
is fettered by affairs relating to himself is neither a brother
nor a relative.
If thy fellow traveller
hastens, he is not thy fellow.
Tie not thy heart to one
whose heart is not tied to thine.
When a kinsman possesses
no virtue and piety
Then severing connection
is better than love of kinship.
I remember that an opponent
objected to the last two lines, saying: God the most high
and glorious has in his noble book prohibited the severing of
connection with relatives and has commanded us to love them.
What thou hast alleged is contrary to it. I replied: Thou
art mistaken because according to the Quran, Allah the most high
has said: If they both father
and mother, strive to induce thee to associate with me that concerning
which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not.
A kind old man in Baghdad
Gave his daughter to a cobbler.
The cruel little man so
That blood flowed from the
Next morning the father
saw her thus
And going to the bridegroom
O mean wretch, what
teeth are these?
Chewest thou thus her lips?
They are not leather.
I do not say these words
Leave joking off and enjoy
If ill humour becomes fixed
in a nature
It will not leave it till
the time of death.
A faqih had a very ugly
daughter and when she attained puberty no one was inclined to
marry her in spite of her dowry and wealth.
At last it became necessary
to marry her to a blind man and it is related that on the said
occasion a physician arrived from Serandip who was able to restore
sight to the blind. The faqih, being asked why he had not put
his son-in-law under treatment, replied: I fear that if
he is able to see he will divorce my daughter.
A padshah was casting a
glanced of contempt upon a company of dervishes and one of them,
understanding by his sagacity the meaning of it, said: O
king, in this world we are inferior to thee in dignity but more
happy in life. In death we are equal and in the resurrection
superior to thee.
Though the master of a country
may have enjoyment
And the dervish may be in
need of bread
In that hour when both of
them will die
They will take from the
world not more than a shroud.
When thou takest thy departure
from the realm
It will be better to be
a mendicant than a padshah.
Externally the dervish shows
a patched robe and a shaved head but in
reality his heart is living
and his lust dead.
He does not sit at the door
of pretence away from people
To fight against them if
they oppose him
Because when a millstone
rolls from a mountain
He is not an Arif
who gets out of the way of the stone.
The way of dervishes is
praying, gratitude, service, obedience, almsgiving, contentment,
professing the unity of God, trust, submission and patience.
Whoever possesses these qualities is really a dervish, although
he may wear an elegant robe, whereas a prattler who neglects
his orisons, is luxurious, sensual, turns day into night in the
bondage of lust, and night into day in the sleep of carelessness,
eats whatever he gets, and speaks whatever comes upon his tongue,
is a profligate, although he may wear the habit of a dervish.
O thou whose interior is
denuded of piety
But wearest outwardly the
garb of hypocrisy
Do not display a curtain
of seven colours.
Thou hast reed mats inside
I saw bouquets of fresh
Tied upon a cupola of grass.
I asked: What is despicable
To sit also in the line
of the roses?
The grass wept and said:
Companionship does not obliterate
Although I have no beauty,
colour and perfume,
Am I not after all the grass
of his garden?
I am the slave of a bountiful
Cherished from old by his
Whether I possess virtue
I hope for grace from the
Although I possess no property
No capital to offer as obedience.
He knows the remedy for
To whom no support remains.
It is customary that the
owner gives a writ
Of emancipation to an old
O God, who hast adorned
Be bountiful to thy old
Sadi, take the road
to the Kabah of submission.
O man of God, follow the
way of God.
Unlucky is he who turns
Away from this door for
he will find no other door.
A sage having been asked
whether liberality or bravery is better replied: He who
possesses liberality needs no bravery.
It is written on the tomb
of Behram Gur:
A liberal hand is
better than a strong arm.
Hatim Tai has passed away
but for ever
His high name will remain
celebrated for beneficence.
Set aside the zekat from
thy property because the exuberant vines
When pruned by the vintner
will yield more grapes.