Mullah Nasrudin, the Rich Man, and the Poor Man

October 15, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

A long time ago when I was still a Mullah, I lived in a small town, just big enough for a real mosque, with a beautiful mosaic wall. I remember one evening, we had finished our prayers. The stars were clear and bright, and seemed to fill the sky with lights. I stood at the window, gazing at the lights so far away, each one bigger than our world and so distant from us across vast reaches of space.

I thought of how we walk this earth, filled with our own importance, when we are just specks of dust. If you walk to the cliffs outside the town, a walk of half an hour at most, you look back and you can see the town, but the people are too small to see, even at that meager distance.

When I think of the immensity of the universe, I am filled with awe and reverence at a power so great. I was thinking such thoughts, looking out the window of the mosque, and I realized I had fallen to my knees.

“I am nothing, nothing!” I cried, amazed and awestruck.

There was a certain well-to-do man of the town, the kind of man who wished to be thought very devout. He cared more for what people thought of him than for what he actually was. He happened to walk in and he saw and heard what passed. I was a little shy at being caught in such a moment, but he rushed down, looking around in the obvious hope someone was there to see him. He knelt beside me and cried:

“I am nothing! I am nothing!”

At the same time, the man who sweeps the floor, a poor man from the edge of the village, entered the side door with his broom to begin his night’s work. He had seen us, and being a man of true faith and honest simplicity, his face showed that he entertained some of the same thoughts that had been laid on me by the hand of Allah (wonderful is He). He dropped his broom and fell to his knees and said softly:

“I am nothing…I am nothing!”

The well-to-do man nudged me with his elbow and said out of the side of his mouth:

“Look who thinks he’s nothing!”

Ya Haqq!


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