At a mosque in the city of Sanjar, the capital of Khorasan, a person was volunteering to chant forth the call to prayers with so discordant a note as to drive all that heard him away in disgust. The intendant of that mosque was a just and well-disposed gentleman, who was averse to giving offence to anybody. He said: “O generous youth, there belong to this mosque some mowuzzins, or criers, of long standing, to each of whom I allow a monthly stipend of five dinars; now I will give you ten to go elsewhere.” To this he agreed, and took himself off. After a while he came to the nobleman, and said: “O my lord! you did me an injury when for ten dinars you prevailed upon me to quit this station, for where I went they offered me twenty to remove to another place, but I would not consent.” The nobleman smiled and replied: “Take heed, and do not accept them, for they may be content to give you fifty!—No person can with a mattock scrape off the clay from the face of a hard rock in so grating a manner as thy harsh voice is harrowing up my soul.”
A person with a harsh voice was reciting the Koran in a loud tone. A good and holy man went up to him, and asked: “What is your monthly stipend?” He answered, “Nothing.” “Then,” added he, “why give yourself so much trouble?” He said: “I am reading for the sake of God.” The good and holy man replied: “For God’s sake do not read:—for if thou chantest the Koran after this manner, thou must cast a shade over the glory of Islamism or Mussulman orthodoxy.”
On Love and Youth
They asked Husan Maimandi: “How comes it that Sultan Mahmud, who has so many handsome bondswomen, each of whom is the wonder of the world and most select of the age, entertains not such fondness and affection for any of them as he does for Ayaz, who can boast of no superiority of charms?” He replied: “Whatever makes an impression on the heart seems lovely in the eye. That person of whom the sultan makes choice must be altogether good, though a compendium of vice; but where he is estranged from the favor of the king none of the household will think of courting him.” Were a person to view it with a fastidious eye, the form of a Joseph might seem a deformity; but let him look with desire on a demon, and he will appear like an angel and cherub.
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I saw a parsa, or holy man, so enamoured of a lovely person that he had neither fortitude to bear with, nor resolution to declare, his passion: and, however much he was the object of remark and censure, he would not forego this infatuation, and was saying:—“I quit not my hold on the skirt of thy garment, though thou may’st verily smite me with a sharp sword. Besides thee I have neither asylum nor defence; if I am to flee, I must take refuge with thee.”