Friday, September 15, 2006

Abu Othman al-Hiri

Abu Othman al-Hiri lived in Nishapur, where he died in 911.


"For forty years," said Abu Othman, "whatever state God has kept me in I have not resented, and to whatever state He transferred me I have not been angry."

The following story bears out this assertion. A man who disbelieved in Abu Othman sent him an invitation. Abu Othman accepted, and got as far as the door of his house. The man then shouted at him:

"Glutton, there is nothing here for you. Go home!"

Abu Othman went home. He had gone only a little way when the man called out to him:

"Shaikh, come here!"

Abu Othman returned.

"You are very eager to eat," the man taunted him. "There is still less. Be off with you!"

The shaikh departed. The man summoned him again, and he went back.

"Eat stones, or go home!"

Abu Othman went off once more. Thirty times the man summoned him and drove him away. Thirty times the shaikh came and went, without showing the least discomposure. Then the man fell at his feet and with tears repented, becoming his disciple.

"What a man you are!" he exclaimed. "Thirty times I drove you off with contumely, and you showed not the slightest discomposure."

"This is an easy matter," Abu Othman replied. "Dogs do the same. When you drive them away they go, and when you call them they come, without showing any discomposure. A thing in which dogs equal us cannot really be accounted anything. Men's work is something quite other."


From: Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya (‘Memorial of the Saints’) by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by AJ Arberry.

1 comment:

Here and Now said...

inspiring!
thanks rama.