Maruf lived in Cairo with his wife
Fatima. This hag treated him so badly, repaying every good action of his with a
very bad one plus loads of abuse. Maruf looked upon her as an example of
inexplicable contrariness of the world.
Bowed down with sense of real
injustice, driven to extremity of despair, he fled to ruined monastery near the
city where he plunged himself to prayer and supplication, calling out
incessantly: ”Lord, I beg thee for a means of release, send me at immense
distance so that I can find release and hope.”
He continued to plead for several
hours when an apparition came through the wall – it has huge height and strange
appearance. This is Abdaal – human beings who have attained power inconceivable
for ordinary human beings.
“I am Abdel-Makan, servant of this
place, what do you ask of me?”
Maruf told him his problems. Abdel
took him in his back instantly flew to a far city on the borders of China, a
rich and beautiful place.
At the sudden of Maruf in the market
place dressed strangely, people gathered around Maruf asking him question. They
started jeering and throwing sticks and stone at him. When he was still hackled,
a merchant rode by and dispersed the crowed saying: “Have shame! A stranger is
guest, bound to us by sacred bonds of hospitality and worthy of protection.” He
He explained to Maruf, how he has
progressed from rags to riches in this strange city of Ikhtiyar where merchants
tend believe and not skeptic, if you tell them story of riches they would
believe you and lend you more, but if you tell them you are poor you would not
receive any alms. So he told them stories of his wealth on its way and borrowed
money, judiciously investing that he made more money and returned the borrowed
money – and that is how he became successful.
Ali took Maruf to number of wealthy
merchants who bought Maruf story of caravan with priceless riches on their way
and favored Maruf with substantial loans. Maruf however unlike Ali was not
business minded and gifted away to poor and needy. Months passed but no caravan
of Maruf arrived, all merchants worried complained to King about
King called Maruf and decided to find
out the truth. He set a trap, he placed a priceless jewel in the hands of Marut
and asked him to take it if that be worthy of him. Maruf returned the jewel
saying his caravan loads far worthier and valuable wealth he does not need this.
King got much moved with greed. He decided to marry his only daughter to Maruf
and asked the merchants to hold the peace still Maruf’s caravan arrives. However
his Wazir advised king that Maruf is bluffer. King ignored this since he knew
Wazir wanted to marry his daughter.
Maruf when told about this he told
Wazir to tell king that until his caravan arrives he can’t provide for his
princess-wife marriage must be postponed. Hearing this King opened his treasury
to Maruf asking him to take away whatever need to make worthy of him of a
suitable way of life consonant of a royal-son-in-law.
Never any one had witnessed such an
extravagant marriage. Riches doled out to any even who just heard about this
wedding. At the wedding night Maruf was troubled, ‘I am troubled that I have to
account for this to your father, I have taken so much from him’, he said to
princess. Princess replied, “Think nothing of it, when your caravan arrives all
shall be well.’
Wazir renewed again his agitation
asked king to find out about mystery of caravan through the princess at an
opportune moment. When they lay in one another’s arm, princess asked Maruf about
missing caravan. Maruf decided to speak the truth: “Wazir is right but his words
due to his greed. Your father too gave way yourself to me out of greed. But why
did you consent to marry me?”
Princess said: “you are my wedded
husband and I shall not disgrace you. Take this 50000 gold pieces and flee this
country, when settled you send message for me and I shall join you wherever you
Maruf fled the country dressed as
slave at dead of night. Princess Dunia was called by king and Wazir for her
report. She said:
“When I was about to ask Maruf, a
strange thing happened, Ten Mamelukes, dressed most magnificently, arrived
beneath the palace window carrying a letter from chief of Maruf’s caravan. The
letter said that they have been delayed by numerous attacks by beduines, fifty
of guards of 500 have been killed, and a quanity of merchandise – two handred
camel loads have been carried off.”
“What did Maruf say?” king and Wazir
“He said very little this loss is
nothing however he at once rode off to meet the caravan and bring it back to
us.” Thus she bought time.
Maruf did not know where he was going,
he arrived in a place where a peasant was ploughing, he sais “Be my guest King’s
slave” and he left for home to fetch some food for Maruf.
Maruf touched by his kindness thought
of helping the peasant with bit of ploughing. He had not done many furrows when
his plough hit a stone. He pulled it away and saw a flight of stairs that lead
to a chamber filled with treasures.
Maruf discovered a crystal box with a
ring, he rubbed the ring and strange apparition appeared, “I am Father of
happiness and what can I do for you?”
Maruf the cobbler ordered the treasure
to be brought above the ground and loaded into a huge caravan. Peasant presently returned with barley and
pulse. Maruf ate some and gave him gold and claim a greater reward later. Maruf
sent messenger to city of his father-in-law to announce his arrival in
The princess did not know what truth
is. She suspected Maruf lied to her. King attacked the Wazir for ever suggesting
Maruf is pauper. Ali thought caravan is the work of princess in order to save
Maruf. All the merchants were happy, so is all poor and needy getting so much
gifts from Maruf. Wazir did not believe all this since never any rich ever gives
away the manner Maruf is giving away. He caught Maruf in the garden plied him
with music and wine, got the secret of magic ring from him, rubbed and got jinn
to transfer Maruf to desert, and presented himself to king and overthrew him,
and even tried to seduce the princess.
The princess however, when Wazir came
to her, got the ring from his finger and got the Father of happiness and deposed
him to dungeon, and fetched back Maruf. She freed King, and Maruf became the
Wazir. They lived happy thereafter. The king died; Maruf succeeded him. He had a
son. But Princess became sick, she left both ring and child to Maruf to take
care of them and died.
One night Maruf woke up with a start
and found Fatima his first wife is lying beside him. She told her after Maruf
left her she got reduced to begging and unending grief. One day she was crying
out loud when a jinn appeared and told her the adventures of Maruf. She asked
him to take her to Ikhtiyar and she brought there in speed of
Maruf explained his position but
warned her to behalf herself to be a queen. She did likewise but hated the
little prince. One day when Maruf went to sleep she took the magical ring, but
little prince saw that and he threw his tiny sword and killed her.
Maruf sent for peasant who was
responsible for Father of Happiness Jinn. Maruf made him Wazir and married his
daughter. There after they all lived happily and success.
If You have been following and reading
this story to the end, and then you would observe that this story unlike any
story from west has no Moral. This only depicts series of cause and effect
relationship and that is feature of some Sufi literature. This is markedly
different kind of teaching Sufi masters wish the listener or reader to have –
there is no lesson to learn from life.
A man named
Saifulmuluk spent half his life in seeking truth. He read all books on ancient
wisdom, he traveled to every known or unknown countries hear every spiritual
leader had to say. He spent days in working and nights in contemplation of great
One day he
heard of great poet Ansari. He packed his bag and headed for Heart. At the door
he found it is written, ‘Knowledge is sold here’. This must be a mistake or to
dissuade idle curiosity seeker, thinking thus he stepped in. Inside Ansari is
bent over in age was writing poem.
‘Have you come
to buy knowledge?’ Ansari asked. Saiful nodded. ‘Give me all the money you
have.’ Saiful produced 100 silver coins.
‘With only this
much, you can have only three pieces of knowledge!’
‘Do you really
mean that, I thought you are humble dedicated man?’
‘We live in the
world surrounded by its material facts,’ said the sage, ‘because I know certain
things that others do not know, I have to spend money, among other things, to be
of service where a kind word or ‘baraka’ is not valued’.
He took the
silver, ‘Listen well. First one is: A
small cloud signals danger.’
‘But is this
knowledge? It does not tell me nature of man, or ultimate truth or for that
matter, place of human beings in the world’, asked Saifulmuluk.
‘If you are
going to decide what I might tell you, you may better take your money and go
away. What is the big use knowledge about a man’s place in the world, if the man
“Second one: if
you find a bird, a cat, and a dog in one place, get hold of them and look them
after, till the end.”
“This may have
deep metaphysical meaning,” Saiful thought, “it may get clear if I think upon it
“The last: when
you have experienced certain things which seem irrelevant, keeping your faith in
the earlier advices, then and only then, a door will open for you, ‘Enter that
wanted to stay little longer with this baffling sage, but he was pushed out of
the door rather roughly by Ansari.
wandering and went to Kashmir to study under another teacher. When he was
travelling through central Asia again, in Bokhara in a market place, he saw a
man leading away a bird a cat and a dog where an auction was taking place. Saiful thought, ’had I not spent so much time
in Kashmir then I would have been able
to buy these animals, it appears that they are part of my destiny. But then he
thought , he is yet to notice ‘Any Small Cloud.’ But succession order need not
be Time ordered! Anyway he looked for the man who bought the animals, and if the
animals are still in one place. This man’s name was Ashikikhuda. He only bought
the animals out of sympathy that they were cooped up in the auctioneer’s room
for several weeks waiting for a buyer. He really had no use for them and was
very happy selling them to Saifulmuluk.
in Bokhara since it was no more practical travel with animals. He became a wool
spinner in a factory. Three years passed. He became master spinner and became
respectable member of the community along with animals. One day he walked out
skirt of the town he saw a strange looking tiny cloud hovering over the horizon,
his memory was jogged, the first piece of advice of Ansari came into his mind
–“A small cloud signals danger!”
immediately to his house collected his animal and fled to arrive at Isfahan
almost penniless. Some days later he heard Bokhara was invaded by an army and
all were slaughtered dead. And the words of Ansari came to his mind, ‘what is
the use of knowledge for a man if he is dead?’
The people of
Isfahan were not enamored by wool spinner or his animals – Saiful lived in
extreme poverty. He could take no more. Out of hunger, out of desperation, he started
crying, ‘You who have been changed, O holy ones, please come to my aid, I am
reduced to a state that through my efforts I can’t live any longer, or provide
for my animals.’
He lay there
between sleeping and awakening, and had a dream as if it was true. He saw a
stream and a tree, and a crevice into which a ring rolled into emitting many
colored intermittent lights. In the morning he was sane enough to look for the
stream and the tree. He found one similar to his vision, and there was a hole
near the tree, putting a stick inside the hole he could get hold of the ring.
Washing and polishing it, he realized its magical power. He made a small hut and
started living with his pet and many wild animals. He became old and were known
as Saif Baba. Many people passed by and tried to teach him many things but he
waited for the end as predicted by Ansari his master. Staying with the animals
he learnt there language too. One day he heard the sparrow telling him, ‘You are
so closed that that no one can open your door. So many people have tried in the
past but failed.’ Saif Baba was surprised that a sparrow talking to him. He
asked ‘how do you know? My master told me to wait till the end. And I do not see
any door opening either.’
The bird said,
‘you are wrong, all these travelers were sent by the same source Khoja Ansari
himself – your source of knowledge, to see if you have acquired enough insight
to follow them.’
‘This I don’t
believe, if that be so can you tell me, even with advantage I have over animals,
how come I do not see what you see?’ Saif Baba asked.
simple, the animals said, you are so accustomed to seeing in one and only one
particular way with your success of finding
two truths delivered by your master Ansari, that you do not see any other
way; your blindness while it is visible to us all the time, is invisible to
‘So I could
have found the Door of the third piece of Advice long ago, if I were properly
attuned to it?’
“Yes,” said the
dog joining the discussion, in fact the door has opened at least a dozen times
in the past, but you did not see, and we did. But because we are animal we could
not tell you.”
“Then how could
you tell me now?”
lately, you have become more human, and now you have only one chance, since you
are already very old.”
thought, “They have no right to say this to me, I only provide for them. But if
they are wrong does not matter, however if they are right I can hardly take any
chance because of my overcoming age.”
enquired with good spirit that can be called by the great ring of Solomon that
he found in the hole below the tree. The Spirit however answered that he is
forbidden to tell any remedy for his blindness but Saif Baba’s disease has a
name called “Permanent hidden prejudice” that rules Saif Baba’s thoughts and
makes it difficult for him to progress in The Way.
One day a
dervish pitched a tent on Saif Baba’s door step. Saif Baba approached him.
Dervish said, “I am not interested in hearing your story of Master Ansari,
cloud, animals, and even your magic ring. Go away I have no time for them and
your useless talks”.
“What can I do,
I feel responsible for animals, and confusion about myself, and there is no more
guidance in my three pieces of Advice.” Saif Baba said.
talked sincerely, hand over the animals to me, you have made a beginning, and I
shall tell you the answer.”
“You ask too
much, I do not know you’ how can I trust you?’ Saif Baba asked.
revealed your concern, your proprietorship of your animal, and doubt about me.
If you judge me with emotion or logic, you can’t benefit from me. Go away;
verily my name is ‘Darwaja’”.
means door, Saif Baba thought – ‘could he be the Door Master Ansari talked
“Could You be
the Door I am seeking, I am not sure?”
“Go away; I am
not interested in your speculation. Don’t you see that first two advices were
for your mind, and third piece can only be understood, only when you perceive
that they were meant for your MIND!”
After two more
years of confusion and anxiety, Saif Baba suddenly realized the truth. He called
his animals and let them go, “you are on your own now. This is the END.” A door
opened in the tree beside the stream, he walked over threshold, and he saw
answers are written about life and death, about mortality and humanity, about
knowledge and ignorance; they have plagued him all his life.
externals’, said voice within the cavern, ‘ has held you back all these years,
take here only part of the wisdom still open to you.’
favorite Sufi theme – ‘Truth is trying to manifest itself’ again and again to
humanity. It appears to each human in many guises again and again, they are
difficult to penetrate, and at first sight may have no connection with each
other. Only development of ‘special perception’ enables a man to be aware of
this unseen process.
Mulla every one knows came from country where fruit is a
fruit, meat is meat, and curry is never eaten.
Having newly descended from Kafiristan, Mullah was
plodding the dusty Indian road. soon thirst took over, "I must find somewhere
that good fruit to be had". No sooner the words formed in his head he saw a
benevolent looking man under the shade of a tree with a basket in front of him
piled high with juicy red fruits. Taking two tiny copper coins from the end of
his turban Mulla handed them over to the man.
Without a word the man gave the whole basket to Mullah,
for this must be a cheap king of fruit. Nasiruddin sat down in the place vacated
by the man and started eating the fruits. Within a few seconds his mouth started
burning, tears streamed through his cheeks, fires were on his throat. Mullah
went on eating.
An hour or two passed when an Afghan hill man came by,
Mulla hailed him, "Brother this infidel fruits must have originated in the very
mouth of Sheitan!"
"Fool, stop eating those, never heard of chillis of
Hindustan? Death will surely claim a victim before sun is down!"
"I can't move from here", gasped Nasiruddin, "until I have
finished the whole basketful".
"Madman those fruit belong to curry! Throw them away at
"I am not eating fruit any more", Mullah croaked, "I am
eating my money."
- Mullah entered teashop and declaimed:
'The moon is more useful than the Sun.' Why Mullah? 'We need light more during
night than during the day.'
- Feeling thirsty Mullah entered the
café for a drink. They decided to share a glass of milk. Friend asked Mullah to
drink his share first, "I have just a little sugar enough for half a glass."
"Add it now, I only drink my half", Mullah said. "Certainly not there only
enough sugar to sweeten half a glass." Mullah went to the owner of the café,
came back with a large packet of salt. "Problem solved, I like my Milk with
salt, I shall drink my half with salt first".
- Mullah sent a child to fetch water
from the well. "Make sure you do not break the pot," and Mullah gave the child a
clout. "Why did hit a child who did nothing?" a bystander asked. "Because you
fool, it would be too late to punish the child after he broke the pot, wouldn't
- "Congratulate me! I am a Father",
Nassiruddin shouted to a neighbor, "Congratulations! Boy or Girl?" "Yes, but how
do you know?"
- "All should share equally in whatever
is available," a philosopher was telling a group at teahouse. "I am not sure
that would work," said a doubter. "But have you given it a chance?" demanded the
idealist. "I have", shouted Nasirudin. "I give my wife and donkey exactly the
same treatment. They get exactly what they want." "Excellent now tell everybody
what exactly is the result, Mulla." "The result is good donkey, and a bad
- "You may have lost your donkey, Mulla,
but you don't have to grieve over it more than you did about the loss of your
first wife." "Ah, but remember, when I lost my wife, all of you said: 'we will
find you someone else.' but so far, no body offered to replace my