Friday, September 15, 2006

Maruf-e Karkhi

Maruf-e Karkhi was a prominent mystic of the Baghdad school. He died in 815.

Maruf had an uncle who was the governor of the city. One day he was passing some wasteland when he observed Maruf sitting there eating bread. Before him there was a dog, and Maruf was putting one morsel in his own mouth and then one in the dog’s.

“Are you not ashmed to eat bread with a dog?” cried his uncle.

“It is out of shame that I am giving bread to the poor,” replied Maruf.

Then he raised his head and called to a bird in the air. The bird flew down and perched on his hand, covering his head and eyes with his wings.

“Whosoever is ashamed before God,” said Maruf, “every thing is ashamed before him.”

At once his uncle was filled with confusion.

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

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