Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
One day many year ago, when Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order still lived in Iran, he sent for Mr. Niktab, who had been made a Shaykh recently, and instructed him to go to a remote khaniqah in another province. It was a three day journey by bus, so Mr. Niktab set out to go at once, and walked to the door of the khaniqah.
“Wait, where is your suitcase?” the Master asked.
“I don’t need a suitcase. A darvish travels light and trusts in God” Mr. Niktab said.
“Take a change of clothes,” the Master said.
“Really, Master, I will be fine,” Mr. Niktab insisted.
The Master shook his head and walked away. “Nafs!” he said.
And so Mr. Niktab began his journey. It was mid-summer and a long and dusty journey in an old rickety bus without air-conditioning. Finally, after three days of travel, getting off the bus feeling very hot and sweaty, he began the five mile walk through the desert-like countryside to the khaniqah.
About a mile from the khaniqah, he came upon a grove of trees and large pond fed by a nearby stream. Since the area was deserted, he decided to take a swim and cool off before walking the rest of the way to the khaniqah. He took off all his clothes and waded into the water, uttering a sigh of relief at the coolness, and washed off the sweat from the long journey.
Just then he heard the voices of women coming up the road. He swam to a nearby reedbed to hide himself, and heard the women stop and talk among themselves.
“Look, someone has left clothes by the water,” one said. They looked around, and Mr. Niktab had to duck under the water so as not to be seen.
Eventually, the women, who were dervishes on their way to the khaniqah, could not find the owner, and decided to take the clothes with them in case they had dropped out of someone’s luggage.
As they walked off, Mr. Niktab came out of hiding and stood in the center of the pond, naked and alone. “I’m sorry, Master! Forgive me, Master!” he cried.
He broke off a few branches with leaves to cover himself, and stood waiting behind a tree for a long time, until finally a young man came walking down the path. He recognized him as a darvish, and he called him over.
The young man was astonished to find Mr. Niktab, whom they were all expecting, naked and hiding behind a tree. “What happened?” he asked?
“Nafs!” was all Mr. Niktab would say. He told him to run to the khaniqah and bring back clothes for him to wear.
As the boy disappeared down the road, Mr. Niktab sighed, shaking his head at the lesson the Master had taught him.
When the Master tells you to do something, do it.
NOTE: It has been suggested by brother Ruslan in the comments that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, the women would also have taken it. I repeat that I am certain that if Mr. Niktab had taken a suitcase, no women would have come by. The Master’s lessons are designed in the most succinct way, and always for what is necessary at that moment.
For example, read the post on the Miracle of the Angel, which is also a true story.
And Allah knows best :)