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The Woman Who Was The Master Of Bayazid Bestami

It is said that when Bayazid Bestami was asked who his master was, he explained:
She was an old woman.

One day, I was possessed by such ecstasy and yearning and sense of unity that not even a hair of anything else could be found in me. In this selfless mood, I went for a stroll in the desert, where I happened to meet an elderly lady burdened with a bag of flour.

She asked me to carry the flour for her, but I was incapable of taking it, so I beckoned to a lion to take the load. The lion came up to me and I laid the sack upon its back. I then asked the old lady what she intended to say to the townspeople since I did not want them to apprehend who I was.

"I'll tell them," she replied, "that I met a vain tyrant."

"What are talking about?" I exclaimed.

The lady explained thus, first asking: "Has the lion been put to trouble or not?"

"No," I answered. -

"Except for the fact that you burden down those whom God Himself has not burdened!" she objected. "Is that not oppression?"

"So it is", I admitted.

"And, despite this", she continued, "still you desire the townspeople to know that you have subjected a lion and are a miracle worker. Is that not vanity?"

"Yes, it is", I confessed.

So I repented, experiencing abasement from my former exaltation.

Indeed that old woman's words performed the function of a spiritual guide and master for me.

SOURCE: Attar, Tadhkerat al-Auliya

Story Using Bad Language

Mahmud was a very pious man, but he was not very attractive looking. One day, he was walking along the road, minding his own business, when a lady came up to him, and started calling him names and abusing him. This lady kept saying all kinds of nasty things, and Mahmud just listened to her patiently. Finally, when she was finished calling him names and abusing him, Mahmud just greeted her, smiled, and said
"and a nice day to you," and continued on his way.

Why did Mahmud, the pious man, behave this way?

It is because he knew that everything she said was just a reflection of her own inner self.

If you use bad language, you are just making obvious to everybody how far away you really are from Allah, since your words are in reality a reflection of your own inner self.

from Irshad
by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi

Hazrat Hassan Al-Basri (ra) Impresses An Unbelieving Neighbour

Hazrat Hasan al-Basri once fell sick. His neighbour, an unbeliever, came to pay him a visit.

"O Imam," he exclaimed, "I detect a bad smell." The Imam told him it was caused by illness, but the neighbour insisted: "That is not the odor of sickness. It is a lavatory smell. For the love of Allah, tell me what it is!"

He had not noticed that sewage was leaking from his house into that of the Imam.

When the neighbour pressed him, the Imam finally said: "For some months your drain has been seeping through to our side. I tried to fix it, but without success."

His neighbour asked why he had not told him before, but the venerable Imam said: "I might have offended you."

The unbeliever was so impressed by this ethical refinement that he was ennobled with True Faith, for he recognized the Imam's morality as a ray of Islam.

from Irshad
by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak al-Jerrahi

The Shepherd

Once upon a time, there lived in Basra an old man whose only occupation was caring for and loving his only son who was a handsome young man. The old man invested all his money on his son's education. The young man went away for a few years and acquired an education at a well known university under the great scholars of that age.

The day had arrived for the son to return from his studies and the old man waited at the door for his son. When the son came and met his father, the old man looked into his eyes and felt great disappointment. "What have you learnt my son?" he asked, "I have learnt everything there was to be learnt, father", he said. "But have you learnt what cannot be taught?" asked the father. "Go, my son and learn what cannot be taught", said the old man.

The young man went back to his master and asked him to teach him what cannot be taught.

"Go away to the mountains with these four hundred sheep and come back when they are one thousand", said the master.

The young man went to the mountains and became a shepherd. There for the first time he encountered a silence. He had no one to talk to. The sheep did not understand his language. In his desperation, he would talk to them but they would look back at him as if to say he was stupid. Slowly but surely he began to forget all his worldly knowledge, his ego, his pride and he became quiet like the sheep and great wisdom and humility came to him.

At the end of two years when the number of sheep had grown to one thousand, he returned to his master and fell on his feet. "Now you have learnt what cannot be taught," said the master.

NB. It is interesting to note that the Nabis of Allah Taala (Alayhimus salaam) at some time in their lives, generally before Nubuwwat, tended to sheep, and other such animals.

from, Jamiat of South Africa

About Struggling

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a
small opening appeared. He sat and watched the
butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its
body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop
making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten
as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took
a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit
of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a
swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because
he expected that, at any moment, the wings would
enlarge and expand to be able to support the
body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the
rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body
and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not
understand was that the restricting cocoon and
the struggle required for the butterfly to get
through the tiny opening were Allah's way of
forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into
its wings so that it would be ready for flight
once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in
our lives. If Allah allowed us to go through our
lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as what we could
have been. We could never "fly"!

I asked for Strength.........
And Allah gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom.........
And Allah gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity.........
And Allah gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage.........
And Allah gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love..........
And Allah gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favours.........
And Allah gave me Opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted ........
I received everything I needed!
"fatabâraka-LLahu aHsanu-l khâliqîn"
"So blessed be Allah, the best of creators!"
Sura The Believer (23) verse 14

Why Science Fails to Explain God

"Professing to be wise, they became fools . . .. "
"LET ME EXPLAIN THE problem science has with God."

The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before
his class and then asks
one of his new students to stand.

"You're a Muslim, aren't you, son?"
"Yes, sir."
"So you believe in God?"
"Is God good?"
"Sure! God's good."
"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"
"Are you good or evil?"
"The Koran says I'm not always so good."

The professor grins knowingly. "Ahh! THE KORAN!" He
considers for a
"Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person
over here and you can
cure him. You can do it. Would you help them?
"Would you try?"
"Yes sir, I would."
"So you're good...!"
"I wouldn't say that."
"Why not say that? You would help a sick and maimed
person if you
in fact most of us would if we could... but God doesn't.

[No answer.]

"He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Muslim who
died of cancer even
though he
prayed to God to heal him. How is this God good?
Can you answer that one?"

[No answer]

The elderly man is sympathetic. "No, you can't, can
He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to
give the student time to
relax. In philosophy, you have to go easy with the
new ones.

"Let's start again, young fella." "Is God good?"
"Er... Yes."
"Is Satan good?"
"Where does Satan come from?" The student falters.
"From... God..."
"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he?" The
elderly man runs his bony
through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking,
student audience.

"I think we're going to have a lot of fun this
semester, ladies and
He turns back to the Muslim. "Tell me, son. Is there
evil in this world?"
"Yes, sir."
"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? Did God make
"Who created evil?

[No answer]

"Is there sickness in this world? Immorality?
Hatred? Ugliness? All the
terrible things - do they exist in this world? "
The student squirms on his feet. "Yes."
"Who created them? "

[No answer]

The professor suddenly shouts at his student. "WHO
"The professor closes in for the kill and climbs
into the Muslim's face.

In a still small voice: "God created all evil,
didn't He, son?"

[No answer]

The student tries to hold the steady, experienced
gaze and fails.
Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace the front
of the classroom like an
aging panther.
The class is mesmerized.

"Tell me," he continues, "How is it that this God is
good if He created all
evil throughout time?"

The professor swishes his arms around to encompass
the wickedness of the

"All the hatred, the brutality, all the pain, all
the torture, all the death
and ugliness and all the suffering created by this
good God is all over the
world, isn't it, young man?"

[No answer]

"Don't you see it all over the place? Huh?"
"Don't you?" The professor leans into the student's
face again and
whispers, "Is God good?"

[No answer]

"Do you believe in God, son?"
The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes,
professor. I do." The old
man shakes his head sadly. "Science says you have
five senses you use to
identify and observe the world around you. Have
"Yes, of course sir, I do have five senses".

Then, slowly raising his voice, the professor continues:
"Have you ever seen your God?"
"No, sir. I've never seen Him."
"Then tell us if you've ever heard your God?"
"No, sir. I have not."
"Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God or
smelt your God...
in fact, do you have any sensory perception of your God

[No answer]

"Answer me, please."
"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."
"You're AFRAID... you haven't?"
"No, sir."
"Yet you still believe in him?"

"That takes FAITH!" The professor smiles sagely at
the underling.
"According to the rules of empirical, testable,
demonstrable protocol,
science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say
to that, son?
Where is your God now?"

[The student doesn't answer]

"Sit down, please."
The Muslim sits...Defeated.

Another Muslim raises his hand. "Professor, may I
address the class?"
The professor turns and smiles. "Ah, another Muslim
in the vanguard!
Come, come, young man. Speak some proper wisdom to
the gathering."

Muslim looks around the room. "Some interesting
points you are making, sir.

Now I've got a question for you. Is there such
thing as heat?"
"Yes," the professor replies. "There's
"Is there such a thing as cold?"
"Yes, son, there's cold too."

"No, sir, there isn't."
The professor's grin freezes. The room
suddenly goes very cold.
The second Muslim continues. "You can have lots of
heat, even more heat,
super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or
no heat but we don't
have anything called 'cold'.

We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no
heat, but we can't go any further after that.
There is no such thing as
cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than
458 - You see, sir, cold
is only a word we use to describe the absence of
heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat we can measure in
thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not
the opposite of heat, sir,
just the absence of it."

Silence. A pin drops somewhere in the
"Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?"
"That's a dumb question, son. What is night if
it isn't darkness?
What are you getting at...?"

"So you say there is such a thing as darkness?"
"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something,
it is the absence of
something. You can have low light, normal light,
bright light, flashing
light but if you have no light constantly you have
nothing and it's called
darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to
define the word. In
reality, Darkness isn't. If it were, you would be
able to make darkness
darker and give me a jar of it. Can you...give me a
jar of darker
darkness, professor?"

Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young
effrontery before
This will indeed be a good semester. "Would
you mind telling us what
your point is, young man?"

"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical
premise is flawed to
start with and so your conclusion must be in
The professor goes toxic. "Flawed...? How dare
"Sir, may I explain what I mean?" >
The class is all ears.

"Explain... oh, explain..." The professor
makes an admirable effort
to regain control. Suddenly he is affability
itself. He waves his
hand to silence the class, for the student to
"You are working on the premise of duality," the
Muslim explains. "That for
example there is life and then there's death; a good
God and a bad God.
You are viewing the concept of God as something
finite, something we can

Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses
electricity and
magnetism but has never seen, much less fully
understood them. To view
death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of
the fact that death
cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not
the opposite of life,
merely the absence of it."

The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the
desk of a neighbour who
has been reading it. "Here is one of the most
disgusting tabloids this
country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as
"Of course there is, now look..."
"Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely
the absence of

Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is
the absence of justice.

Is there such a thing as evil?" The Muslim pauses.
"Isn't evil the absence
of good?"
The professor's face has turned an alarming color.
He is so angry
he is temporarily speechless.

The Muslim continues. "If there is evil in the
world, professor, and we all
agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be
accomplishing a work
through the agency of evil. What is that work, God
is accomplishing? The
Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will,
of our own free will,
choose good over evil."

The professor bridles. "As a philosophical
scientist, I don't vie this
matter as having anything to do with any choice; as
a realist, I absolutely
do not recognize the concept of God or any other
theological factor as
being part of the world equation because God is not

"I would have thought that the absence of God's
moral code in this world is
probably one of the most observable phenomena
going," the Muslim replies.
"Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it
every week! Tell me,
professor. Do you teach your students that they
evolved from a monkey?"
"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary
process, young man,
yes, of course I do."
"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes,
The professor makes a sucking sound with his teeth
and gives his student a
silent, stony stare.

"Professor. Since no-one has ever observed the
process of evolution at work
and cannot even prove that this process is an
on-going endeavor, are you
not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a
scientist, but a

"I'll overlook your impudence in the light of our
philosophical discussion.
Now, have you quite finished?" the professor hisses.
"So you don't accept
God's moral code to do what is righteous?"
"I believe in what is - that's science!"

"Ahh! SCIENCE!" the student's face splits into a
"Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of
observed phenomena.
Science too is a premise which is flawed..."
professor splutters.
The class is in uproar.
The Muslim remains standing until the commotion has

"To continue the point you were making earlier to
the other student, may I
give you an example of what I mean?"
The professor wisely keeps silent.

The Muslim looks around the room. "Is there anyone
in the class who has
ever seen the professor's brain?". The class breaks
out in laughter.
The Muslim points towards his elderly,
crumbling tutor.
"Is there anyone here who has ever heard the
professor's brain...,
felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the
professor's brain?".
No one appears to have done so.

The Muslim shakes his head sadly.
"It appears no-one here has had any sensory
perception of the professor's
brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of
stable, demonstrable protocol, science, I DECLARE
that the professor has no brain."

The class is in chaos.

The Muslim sits... Because that is what a chair is for.

Story provided by Mahomed, Feroz,
feroz.mahomed| at |
Author unknown

A True Story

There was once a man who was an enemy to Islam. He had three famous questions that no person could answer. No Islamic scholar in Baghdad could answer his three questions...thus he made fun of Islam in public. He constantly ridiculed Islam and the Muslims. One day a small boy, who's age was 10, came along and heard the man yelling and screaming at Muslims in the street. He was challenging people openly to answer the three questions.

The boy stood quietly and watched. He then decided that he would challenge the man. He walked up and told the man, "I will accept your challenge".

The man laughed at the boy and ridiculed the Muslims even more by saying, "A ten year old boy challenges me. Is this all you people have to offer!"

But the boy patiently reiterated his stance. He would challenge the man, and with Allah's help and guidance, he would put this to an end. The man finally accepted.

The entire city gathered around a small "hill" where open addresses were usually made. The man climbed to the top, and in a loud voice asked his first question.

"What is your God doing right now?"

The small boy thought for a little while and then told the man to climb down the hill and to allow him to go up in order to address the question.

The man says "What? You want me to come down?"

The boy says, "Yes. I need to reply, right?"

The man made his way down and the small boy, age 10, with his little feet made his way up.

This small child's reply was "Oh Allah Almighty! You be my witness in front of all these people. You have just willed that a Kafir be brought down to a low level, and that a Muslim be brought to a high level!"

The crowd cheered and screamed "Takbir"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"

The man was humiliated, but he boldly asked his Second question... "What existed before your God?"

The small child thought and thought.

Then he asked the man to count backwards. "Count from 10 backwards."

The man counted..."10, 9 ,8 , 7 , 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,0"

The boy asked, "What comes before 0 ?"

The man: "I don't know...nothing."

The boy: "Exactly. Nothing was before Allah, for He is eternal and absolute."

The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!!"

The man, now completely frustrated, asked his final question. "In which direction is your Allah facing?"

The boy thought and thought.

He then asked for a candle. A candle was brought to him. The blessed child handed it to the man and asked him to light it.

The man did so and remarked, "What is this supposed to prove?"

The young boy asked, "In which direction is light from the candle going?"

The man responded, "It is going in all directions."

The boy: "You have answered your own question. Allah's light (noor) goes in all directions. He is everywhere. There is no where that He cannot be found.

"The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"

The man was so impressed and so moved by the boy's knowledge and spirituality, that he embraced Islam and became a student of the young boy.

So ended the debate.

Who was the young boy?

The young boy was one of our leaders and one of the greatest scholars, Imam Abu Hanîfa (May Allah bless him).

Ibrahim Ibn Adham's Advice Against Disobedience

A man came to Ibrahim ibn Adham, may Allah be pleased with him, and said, "Abu Ishaq, I am unable to control myself. Please give me something to help me with it"

"If you accept five conditions," said Ibrahim, "and are able to put them into practice, your disobedience will not cause you any problem."

"Just tell me what they are, Abu Ishaq!" the man said. "The first is that when you want to disobey Allah you do not eat anything He provides." "Then how will I get anything to eat? Everything on the earth is from Him!" "So is it right to eat His provision and disobey Him at the same time?" replied Ibrahim.

"No, it is not. What is the second condition?" "When you want to disobey him, move off His land."

"That is even more difficult! Exclaimed the man. "In that case where will I live?"

"Is it right to eat his provision and live on His land and then to disobey Him?" asked Ibrahim. "No, it is not."

"What is the third condition?" "When you want to disobey Him in spite of eating His provision and living on His land, find a place where He will not see you and disobey Him there."

"What do you mean, Ibrahim? He knows everything that happens even in the most hidden places!" "So is it right to disobey Him when you eat His provision and live on His land and when you know that He can see everything you do?" "It certainly is not!" the man replied.

"Tell me the fourth condition." "That when the Angel of Death arrives to take your soul, you say to him, 'Give me a reprieve so that I can repent and act righteously for Allah.'"

"But he won't listen to me!" "Then if you cannot ward off death long enough to give yourself time to repent, and you know that when it comes there will be no reprieve, how can you hope to be saved?"

"What is the fifth?" "That when the angels of the Fire come to you to take you to the Fire, you do not go with them." "They will take me whether I like it or not!" exclaimed the man.

"So how can you hope to be saved?"

"Enough, enough, Ibrahim! I ask Allah's forgiveness and I turn to Him!"

The man's repentance was sincere and from that time on he was assiduous in his worship and avoided acts of disobedience until the day he died.

The Atheist Teacher

A young woman teacher with obvious liberal tendencies explains to her class of small children that she is an atheist. She asks her class if they're atheists too. Not really knowing what atheism is but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fleshy fireworks. There is, however, one exception. A beautiful girl named Zainab has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different. "Because I'm not an atheist."

Then, asks the teacher, "What are you?" "I'm a Muslim." The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Zainab why she is a Muslim. "Well, I was brought up knowing and loving God. My mom is a Muslim, and my dad is a Muslim, so I am a Muslim."

The teacher is now angry. "That's no reason," she says loudly, "what if your mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron, - what would you be then?" She paused, and smiled. "Then," says Zainab, "I'd be an atheist."
[a moron is a dum, stupid person]

The Shaikh And A Pigeon

A friend of mine told me this story: When I was young I had a shaikh, one of the greatest human beings I have ever known. I had met him quite by accident. He lived in a small shack in a poor neighbourhood. I had to deliver some medicine for my father's pharmacy. Once inside this man's quarters I realized I was in the presence of someone quite unusual. For one thing, he possessed the relics of several great shaikhs of different orders. The day I met him he was having a conversation with two other young men about my own age. Their names were Metin and Refik. After hearing their conversation I began to lose interest in the things that had occupied me. I wanted only to attend these conversations. The three of us were learning so much that we wished that more and more people could also hear these conversations.

We begged our sheikh to allow the size of our circle to increase. One day we were attending the prayers at a great mosque. It was the feast of Ashura, the twelfth of Muharram. We were just leaving the mosque when our teacher paused on the steps because he noticed that a pigeon had just dropped dead from the sky. He picked up the poor bird, which was totally lifeless, held it tenderly in his hands, breated a long Huuuuuuu...and the bird came back to life and flew off into the sky. Well, this act did not go unnoticed and before long there were many people intersted in our shaikh. Many of them asked to attend his conversations and our circle grew.

It was not long before we found that we had very little time with our beloved shaikh. He was too busy to see us, attending to the needs of so many people. Then one day, while doing the night prayer after our zhikr, our shaikh let out a loud and smelly fart. People were astounded that this holy man could do such a thing. In a short period of time most of them had lost their faith in him and our circle returned to nearly the size it had been originally. One night when just the three of us were sitting together, our shaikh remarked: "You see my sons, those who come because of a pigeon, leave because of a fart!"

From a book catalog put out by the brs. and srs. at the Threshold Society ( from Kabir Helminski's "The Knowing Heart"

Abu Hanifa (ra) and His Neighbour

It is well known that Abu Hanifa (radi Allahu 'anhu), did tahajjut every night. He would spend his night reciting the Quran. He had a neighbour who was an alcoholic, and he used to drink a lot and sing love poems. This used to bother the imam.

But one day, the imam did not hear this man's revelry, so he went and asked about him. They said, "Oh, so-and-so. They took him to jail." So, the very well respected imam went to the jail. He was the most respected imam and qaadi at the time in that place. When the ruler found out the imam went to the jail, he asked for the reason and was told that the imam was concerned about his neighbour who had been arrested. So, the ruler said to release the man, and he was released.

The neighbour then asked Abu Hanifa why he did that, and he replied, "Because you have a right upon me as a neighbour, and I have not been neglectful of that." That was the reason that the neighbour made tauba to Allah subhâna wa ta'âla [that is: embraced islam].

Muslims Living in Non-Muslim Lands by Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah

Mullah Nasruddin and His Ring

Mullah Nasruddin had lost his ring, so he set out to search for it under the street light.

Others came to help him search.

Finally when asked if he was certain he had dropped it in this spot, he said,

"No, I lost it there," and pointed to his house.

The others asked incredulously:

"Then why are you looking for it here?"

Mullah Nasruddin said, while trying to look clever:

"Because it is dark where I lost it, and it is light out here!"

From Juz `Amma; Sh. Fadhlalla Haeri; Zahra Publ; 1985

Green leaves
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