A dervish, whose prayers had a ready acceptance (with God), made his appearance at Bagdad. Hojaj Yusuf (a great tyrant) sent for him and said: “Put up a good prayer for me.” He prayed, “O God! take from him his life!” Hojaj said, “For God’s sake, what manner of prayer is this?” He answered: “It is a salutary prayer for you, and for the whole sect of Mussulmans.—O mighty sir, thou oppressor of the feeble, how long can this violence remain marketable? For what purpose came the sovereignty to thee? Thy death were preferable to thy tyrannizing over mankind.”
An unjust king asked a holy man, saying, “What is more excellent than prayers?” He answered: “For you to remain asleep till mid-day, that for this one interval you might not afflict mankind.”—I saw a tyrant lying dormant at noon, and said, “This is mischief, and is best lulled to sleep. It were better that such a reprobate were dead whose state of sleep is preferable to his being awake.”
I have heard of a king who had turned night into day in the midst of conviviality, and in the gayety of intoxication was exclaiming—“I never was in this life happier than at this present moment, for I have no thought of evil or good, and care for nobody!”—A naked dervish, who had taken up his rest in the cold outside, answered—“O thou, who in good fortune hast not thy equal in the world, I admit that thou hast no cause of care for thyself, but hast thou none for us?”—The king was pleased at this speech. He put a purse of a thousand dinars out at the window, and said: “O dervish! hold up your skirt.” He replied, “Where can I find a skirt, who have not a garment.” The king was still more touched at the hardship of his condition, and adding an honorary dress to that donation, sent them out to him.
The dervish squandered all that ready cash within a few days, and falling again into distress, returned.—“Money makes no stay in the hand of a religious independent; neither does patience in a lover’s heart, nor water in a sieve.”—At a time when the king had no thought about him, they obtruded his case, and he took offence and turned away his face. And it is on such an occasion that men of prudence