Shah Baha' ad-Din an-Naqshband & the Fools

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from Wisdom of the Idiots by Idries Shah.

Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.), the great teacher of the Naqshbandi dervishes, one day met a confrère in the great square of Bukhara.  The newcomer was a wandering dervish of the Malamatiyyah, the “Blameworthy”.  Shah Baha’ ad-Din (q.s.) was surrounded by disciples.

“From where do you come?” he asked the traveller, in the usual Sufi phrase.

“I have no idea,” said the other, grinning foolishly.  Some of Shah Baha’ ad-Din’s (q.s.) disciples murmured their disapproval of this perceived disrespect.

“Where are you going?” persisted Shah Baha’ ad-Din (q.s.).

“I do not know,” shouted the dervish.

“What is good?”  By now a large crowd had gathered.

“I do not know.”

“What is evil?”

“I have no idea.”

“What is right?”

“Whatever is good for me.”

“What is wrong?”

“Whatever is bad for me.”

The crowd, irritated beyond its patience by this dervish, drove him away.  He went off, striding purposefully in a direction which led nowhere, as far as anyone knew.

“Fools!” said Shah Baha’ ad-Din an-Naqshband (q.s.), “this man is acting the part of humanity.  While you were despising him, he was deliberately demonstrating heedlessness as each of you does, all unaware, every day of your lives.”


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