Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

One day, Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, dressed in fine silks and brocades and wearing a beautiful turban, was riding through the street on a magnificent white horse. The street was lined with people who greeted him with salaams and cheered as he rode by, all except an old woman dressed in black, who turned her head as he rode past. Ali stopped his horse and asked the old woman why she did not give him the proper salutation of peace?

“Why should I greet the slave of my slave?” she asked.

“What do you mean by these words?” he demanded.

“I have mastered vanity, while you are still its slave.”

And Ali wept at the truth of her words, and from that day on wore only plain clothes.

Ya Haqq!


5 Responses to Vanity

  1. Suroor says:

    Wow! OK, no turbans and no horses for me :)

    Mashallah! Harsh but beautiful lesson.

  2. Maliha says:

    ouch. That’s kinda mean of her!

    and here i was trying to picture a handsome young man, on a white horse! wow. thanks for sharing this lesson.

  3. irving says:

    No turban for Suroor, though you would look good in one :) And no princes on white horses for Maliha, though the lesson was not mean, it opened the awareness to a naf which is better to overcome. Vanity is the cause of strife in so many ways, both internally and externally, and from a Sufi point of view, the more you are concerned with outward appearance, the more you are focused on the self, and your ego glorifies you to the exclusion of God.

    Now to go feed my white horse :)

    Ya Haqq!

  4. lulando says:

    Once I read – and you Brother Irving surely know the source – that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was sitting next to an old woman who was just admiring the wealthiest man of town riding on a horse. “Look at him” she said “doesn’t Allah love that man? See the riches he has given to him…” And Mohammed (PBUH) answered: “If Allah really loved him, he had only given him the least minimum for bare existence.”

  5. Abdur Rahman says:

    Salaams Irving bhai,

    Ma sha Allah. Another excellent post. The true mark of Ali (and how unlike us) is that he immediately responded to and heeded the lesson. May Allah ennoble his face.

    May we all take heed too!


    Abdur Rahman

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