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
asked a certain dervish, whom we shall call Sabar:
can I find this fruit, so that I may attain to immediate knowledge?'
would 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.'
left 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:
as 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".
"You 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.
you 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 disciples'.
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.
people collected to hear him speak in person, they could only
get him to repeat a single phrase:
desire for the merit, not for the man'.
admonition was given out several times a day for five years.
to the sage Ibriqi and begged him to help with some sort of
explanation of the strange conduct of Abu Tahir.
complain 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,
still continue to 'shine' for the benefit of those who can
profit, or of you, at a time when you
of Idiots' by Idris
Hundred Tales of Wisdom : Life, Teachings and Miracles
of Jalaludin Rumi by Idries Shah (May 1992)
of the Dervishes : Teaching-Stories of the Sufi Masters
over the Past Thousand Years
by Idries Shah
Sufis. New York: Doubleday, 1964.
How to Learn : Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi
by Idries Shah
Commanding Self, by Idries Shah, 332 pages (June 1997)
Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties
of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin by Idries Shah.
Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin -- by Idries
Shah, Mullah Nasrudin.
from Stories : Caravan of Dreams and the Adventures of
Mulla Nasrudin by Idries Shah (Audio Cassette - September