The camel-driver replied: “O brother, holy Mecca is ahead, and the profane robber behind; if you come forward you escape, but if you stay here you die!” During the night journey of the caravan, and in the track of the desert, it is fascinating to dose under the acacia-thorn tree; but, on this indulgence, we must resign all thoughts of surviving it.
I saw on the sea-shore a holy man who had been torn by a tiger, and could get no salve to heal his wound. For a length of time he suffered much pain, and was all along offering thanks to the Most High. They asked him, saying, “Why are you so grateful?” He answered, “God be praised that I am overtaken with misfortune and not with sin! Were that beloved friend, God, to give me over to death, take heed, and think not that I should be solicitous about life. I would ask, What hast thou seen amiss in thy poor servant that thy heart should take offence at me? for that could alone give me a moment’s uneasiness.”
Having some pressing occasion, a dervish stole a rug from the hut of a friend. The judge ordered that they should cut off his hand. The owner of the rug made intercession for him, saying, “I have forgiven him.” The judge replied, “At your instance I cannot relax the extreme sentence of the law.” He said: “In what you ordered you spoke justly. Nevertheless, whoever steals a portion of any property dedicated to alms must not suffer the forfeiture of his hand, for a religious mendicant is not the proprietor of anything; and whatever appertains to dervishes is devoted to the necessitous.” The judge withdrew his hand from punishing him, and by way of reprimand asked, “Had the world become so circumscribed that you could not commit a theft but in the dwelling of such a friend?” He answered, “Have you not heard what they have said, ’Sweep everything away from the houses of your friends, but knock not at the doors of your enemies.’ When overwhelmed with calamity let not thy body pine in misery. Strip thy foes of their skins, and thy friends of their jackets.”
A king said to a holy man, “Are you ever thinking of me?” “Yes,” replied he, “at such time as I am forgetting God Almighty! He will wander all around whom God shall drive from his gate; and he will not let him go to another door whom he shall direct into his own.”
One of the righteous in a dream saw a king in paradise, and a parsa, or holy man, in hell. He questioned himself, saying, “What is the cause of the exaltation of this, and the degradation of that, for we have fancied their converse?” A voice came from above, answering, “This king is in heaven because of his affection for the holy, and that parsa is in hell because of his connection with the kingly.”—What can a coarse frock, rosary, and patched cloak avail? Abstain from such evil works as may defile thee. There is no occasion to put a felt cowl upon thy head. Be a dervish in thy actions, and wear a Tartarian coronet.