The Five Types of Stories

Myth, Saga, Fable, Folk-Tale, and Fairy-Tale Stories have been around since the beginning of time, passed down to us in oral and written form. There are five main types of stories: myths, sagas, fables, folk-tales, and fairy-tales. MYTH - Myths are legendary stories that ancient people created to explain the mysteries of life, death, the beginning of the world, and natural powers. They were not able to understand these mysteries, so they wove stories on the basis of their imagination. Since myths are imaginary stories, they have imaginary characters in them like dragons, monsters, fairies, giants, and gods. All these characters had magical powers and were much more powerful than human beings. Different types of myths were woven about the same thing in different parts of the world. These very myths gave rise to different religions in various parts of the world. SAGA - The word "saga" was originally used for any story of heroic deeds of a medieval Norwegian hero. Gradually, it came to mean a long eventful narrative about a family, social group, or dynasty with several chapters, cantos or even volumes. A saga has several legends of heroes added to it. These heroes may be real or halfreal and half-imaginary, but on the whole, the frame work of the main story is based on truth. An epic is a saga in poetry form, while a saga is in prose. FABLE - A fable is a short tale which involves animals as essential characters in it and carries a moral for the readers. The animals are described to be talking to people or to one another wisely, foolishly, cunningly, and in ways human beings do. Aesop's Fables are a very good example. The lessons imparted by fables are very useful and practicable. They can impart guidance in most difficult situations and lead one out of them. Fables are a good source of wisdom, tact, and other noble means. Thus they go a long way to

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put one onto the road to success and well-being if their morals are translated into daily life. Fables should not be read for amusement only, but for learning to be a successful person as well. FOLK-TALE - Folk-tales are light imaginary stories handed down orally from generation to generation. They are popular because they describe the hopes and fears of common people in a natural fanciful way. Since, human hopes and fears are the same everywhere, we can find similar folk-tales in distantly apart countries. There may be slight differences in the versions of these similar folk-tales, but their theme is almost the same. Almost every social group has its own folk-lore traditions and beliefs. A social group's folk-tales are based on these traditions and beliefs, therefore, folk-tales are very near to day-to-day life. The element of fancy and imagination gives them color and interest thus, making them very fascinating. FAIRY-TALE - Fairy-tales are magical stories about fairies. A fairy is a tiny imaginary being with supernatural powers. Fairies are believed to be very beautiful and delicate. They help people when in a good mood, but they may harm evil people using their supernatural powers when they are angry. Fairies are believed to have wings for flying and live in their own land called, "Fairyland." This land is ruled by the fairy queen who has a large magnificent palace. Fairyland is considered to be a land of lakes, lush green meadows, bright flowers, and fruit trees. Children enjoy fairy-tales very much because of the enchantment and magical power such stories hold.

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1- This too shall pass
A dervish who had travelled long and hard through the desert finally came to civilization after a long journey. The village was called Sandy Hills, and it was dry and hot. Except for the hay feed and some shrubs, not much greenery was to be found. Cattle were the main means of livelihood for the people of Sandy Hills, had the condition of the soil been different, they might have been able to engage in agriculture as well. The dervish politely asked a passer-by if there was someplace where he could find food and lodging for the night. "Well," said the man, scratching his head, "we don't have such a place in our village, but I am sure Shakir would be happy to provide for you tonight." Then the man gave directions to the ranch owned by Shakir, whose name means "one who thanks the Lord constantly." On his way to the ranch, the dervish stopped by a small group of old men who were smoking pipes, to reconfirm his directions. From them, he found out that Shakir was the richest man in the area. One of the men said Shakir owned more than a thousand cattle - "And this is more than the wealth of Haddad, who lives in the neighbouring village." After short while, the dervish was standing in front of Shakir's home, admiring it. As it turned out, Shakir was a very hospitable and kind person. He insisted that the dervish stay a couple of days in his house. Shakir's wife and daughters were just as kind and considerate as he was and provided the dervish with the best. At the end of his stay, they even supplied him with plenty of food and water for his journey. On his way back into the desert, the dervish could not help puzzling over Shakir's last words at the time of farewell. The dervish had said, "Thank God that you are well off." "But, dervish," Shakir had replied, "Don’t be fooled by appearances, for this too shall pass." During his years on the Sufi path, the dervish had come to understand that anything he heard or saw during his journey offered a lesson to be learned and thus was worthy of contemplation. In fact, that was the reason he had undertaken the journey in the first place -to learn more. The words of Shakir occupied his thoughts and he was not sure if he fully understood their import. As he sat under the shade of a single tree to pray and

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meditate, he recalled from his Sufi training that if he kept silent and did not rush to any conclusions, he would eventually find the answer. For he had been taught to be silent and not ask questions; when it was time for him to be enlightened, he would be. Therefore, he shut the door on his thoughts and drowned his soul in a deep meditative state. And so he passed five more years of travelling to different lands, meeting new people, and learning from his experiences along the way. Every adventure offered a new lesson to be learned. Meanwhile, as Sufi custom required, he remained quiet, concentrating on the instructions of his heart. One day, the dervish found himself returning to Sandy Hills, the same village at which he had stopped a few years before. He remembered his friend Shakir and asked after him. "He lives in the neighbouring village, ten miles from here. He now works for Haddad," a villager answered. The surprised dervish remembered that Haddad was another wealthy man in the region. Happy at the prospect of seeing Shakir again, he rushed toward the neighbouring village. At Haddad's marvellous home, the dervish was welcomed by Shakir, who looked much older now and was dressed in rags. "What happened to you?" the dervish wanted to know. Shakir replied that a flood three years previously had left him with no cattle and no house. So he and his family had become servants of Haddad, who had survived the flood and now enjoyed the status of the wealthiest man in that area. This turn of fortune, however, had not changed the kind and friendly manner of Shakir and his family. They graciously took care of the dervish in their cottage for a couple of days, and gave him food and water before he left. As he was leaving, the dervish said, "I am so sorry for what has happened to you and your family. I know that God has a reason for what He does." "Oh, but remember, this too shall pass." Shakir's voice kept echoing in the dervish's ears. The man's smiling face and calm spirit never left his mind. "What in the world does he mean by that statement this time?" The dervish now knew that Shakir's final words on his previous visit had anticipated the changes that had occurred. But this time, he wondered what could justify such an optimistic remark. So, again, he let it pass, preferring to wait for the answer. Months and years passed, and the dervish, who was getting on in years, kept travelling without any thought of retiring. Strangely enough, the pattern of his journeys always brought him back to the village where Shakir lived. This time, it took seven years before

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he got back to Sandy Hills, and by this time Shakir had become rich again. He now lived in the main building of Haddad's compound instead of the small cottage. "Haddad died a couple of years ago," Shakir explained, "and since he had no heir, he decided to leave me his wealth as a reward for my loyal services." As the visit drew to a close, the dervish prepared for his greatest journey: he would cross Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage to Mecca on food, a long-standing tradition among his colleagues. His farewell with his old friend was no different from the others. Shakir repeated his favourite saying, "This too shall pass." After the pilgrimage, the dervish travelled to India. Upon returning to his motherland, Persia, he decided to visit Shakir one more time to find out what had become of him. So once again he set out for the village of Sandy Hills. But instead of finding his friend Shakir there, he was shown a modest grave with the inscription "This too shall pass." He was more surprised at this than he had been on any of the occasions when Shakir himself had spoken those words. "Riches come and riches go," thought the dervish to himself, "but how can a tomb change?" From that time on, the dervish made it a point to visit the tomb of his friend every year when he would spend a few hours meditating at Shakir's abode, However, on one of his visits, he found the cemetery and grave gone, washed away by a flood. Now the old dervish had lost the only traces left of a man who had marked the experiences of his life so exceptionally. The dervish stayed at the ruins of the cemetery for hours, staring at the ground. Finally, he lifted his head to the sky and then, as if discovering a greater meaning, nodded his head as a sign of confirmation and said, "This too shall pass." When the dervish had finally become too old to travel, he decided to settle down and live the rest of his life in peace and quiet. Years passed by, and the old man spent his time helping those who came to him for advice and sharing his experiences with the young. People came from all over to have the benefit of his wisdom. Eventually his fame spread to the king's great advisor, who happened to be looking for someone with great wisdom. The fact was, the king desired a ring to be made for him. The ring was to be a special one: it was to carry an inscription such that if the king was sad, he could look at the ring and it would make him happy, and if he was happy, he could look at the ring and it would make him sad.

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The best jewellers were hired, and many men and women came forward with suggestions for the ring, but the king liked none of them. So the advisor wrote to the dervish explaining the situation, asking for help, and inviting him to the palace. Without leaving home, the dervish sent back his reply. A few days later, an emerald ring was made and presented to the king. The king, who had been depressed for days, reluctantly put the ring on his finger and glanced at it with a disappointed sigh. Then he started to smile, and a few moments later, he was laughing loudly. On the ring were inscribed the words, "This too shall pass." -Tales from the Land of the Sufis

Think and do

Vocabulary to Learn
civilization reconfirm rags compound loyal heir wisdom suggestion hay admiring status tradition staring abode fame hire livelihood considerate appearance contemplate undertake conclusion enlightened optimistic passer-by puzzling anticipate pilgrimage occasions traces desire reluctantly lodging meditate optimistic modest tomb riches settle sigh ranch prospect remark inscription justify eventually experience inscribed

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2- The Story of the Hakim's Diagnosis
A certain man lay bedridden with a serious illness, and it appeared that his death was near. In her fear, his wife summoned a Hakim, the local town doctor. The Hakim tapped around on the patient and listened for more than half an hour. He checked his pulse, put his head on the man's chest, turned him onto his stomach and then his side and back, raised the man's legs and body, opened his eyes, and looked in his mouth. Finally, with a great deal of conviction the Hakim said, "My dear woman, unfortunately I must give you sad news. Your husband has been dead for two days." At this very moment the ailing man raised his head in shock and whimpered anxiously, "No, my dearest, I am still alive!" The wife pushed her husband back down onto the pillow with her hand and replied with irritation, "Be quiet! The Hakim, a doctor, is an expert. He ought to know!" Note: A doctor can influence a patient's receptiveness to illness and also stabilize his or her potential for health. Powerful people these docs are! The story above is an old Persian tale.

Think and do

Vocabulary to Learn
diagnosis conviction bedridden ailing receptive whimper summon anxiously stabilize irritation pulse potential

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3- The Story of the Rambling Merchant
The poet, Sadi, met with a merchant who had 150 camels and 40 servants. One night while on the island of Kish, the merchant took Sadi to his room and talked the whole night in a very pompous fashion. The merchant said, "I have such a correspondent in Turkistan, and such an agency in Hindustan; and this paper is the title-deed of such a piece of ground, and for such a thing I have such a person for security." Then he continued to say, "I intend to go to Alexandria, as the climate is agreeable. No, actually, the western sea is boisterous! Oh Sadi! I have one more journey before me! When that is accomplished I will retire for the rest of my life and give up trading." Sadi replied, "What journey is that?" To which the merchant said, "I will take Persian sulphur to China, because I have heard that it brings an exceptional price there, and then I will take China-ware to Greece, and Grecian brocade to India, and Indian steel to Aleppo, and mirrors of Aleppo to Yemen, and striped cloth of Yemen to Persia, and after that I will give up trading and sit at home in my shop." The merchant continued to ramble on for some time, until he had almost no energy left to speak. He then said, "Oh Sadi! Now you tell me something about what you have seen and heard." Sadi replied, "You have not left me a single subject to talk about!" Note: 'worldling' is a person devoted to worldly interests or pleasures. The story above was narrated by Sadi, a Persian poet, in "Sadi: The Rose Garden."

Think and do

Vocabulary to Learn
rambling merchant pompous correspondent agreeable boisterous

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accomplish devoted

retire worldly

give up interests

exceptional pleasures

striped narrate

continue reply

4- The Story of the Monkeys and Hats
Once upon a time there was a young man called, Aurangzeb. He used to roam around from town to town selling hats for a living. One day he would be in Bangalore and the next day people would find him in Mysore. One summer afternoon, Aurangzeb had just traveled across a vast plain, so he felt tired and wanted to take a nap in the jungle. He found a mango tree with lots of branches and cool shade. Placing his bag of hats beside him, he went to sleep. Aurangzeb was fast asleep in no time. When he woke up after a refreshing nap, he found that there were no hats in his bag! "Oh, no!" he said to himself and shook his head sadly, "Of all the people, why did the thieves have to rob me?" Suddenly, he looked up and noticed that the mango tree was full of cute monkeys wearing colorful hats. He yelled at the monkeys and they screamed back. He made faces at them and they returned the same funny faces. He threw a stone at them and they showered him with raw mangoes. "Oh gosh, how do I get my hats back?" Aurangzeb pondered. Frustrated, he took off his own hat and threw it on the ground. To his surprise, the monkeys threw their hats also! Aurangzeb did not waste a second and hurriedly collected the hats and went on his way to the next town. Fifty years later, young Habib, grandson of the famous HatSeller Aurangzeb, who worked hard to maintain the family business, was passing through the same jungle. After a long walk he was very tired and found a nice mango tree with lots of branches and cool shade. Habib decided to rest a while and very soon was fast asleep. A few hours later, when Habib woke up, he realized that all the hats from his bag were gone! He started searching for them and to his surprise found some monkeys sitting on the mango tree wearing his hats. He was frustrated and did not know what to do, but then he remembered a story his grandfather used to tell him. "Oh, I can fool these monkeys!" said Habib. "I will make them imitate me and very soon I will get all hats back!"

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Habib waved at the monkeys and the monkeys waved back at him. He blew his nose and the monkeys blew their noses. He started dancing and the monkeys also danced. He pulled his ears and the monkeys pulled their ears. He raised his hands and the monkeys raised their hands. Then, he threw his hat on the ground expecting all the monkeys to do so, but instead, one monkey jumped down from the mango tree, walked up to Habib, hit him on the shoulder and said, "Do you think only you had a grandfather?" Note: Wiser from the experience, wiser by the generation, right?

Think and do

Vocabulary to Learn
roam yelled hurriedly vast decide maintain plain make faces shade nap showered asleep Suddenly ponder used to cute frustrated blow nose

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5- The Story of the Ring
A certain king of Persia had a very precious stone in a ring. On one occasion he went out with some of his favorite courtiers to the mosque near Shiraz, called Musalla. The king asked his men to suspend the ring over the dome. He then declared, "This ring will become the property of the person who shoots an arrow right through it!" More than 400 hundred archers lined up and took a shot at the ring. All of them missed. On the roof top of a nearby building, a young boy was practicing his archery skills. As luck would have it, by chance one of his arrows sailed through the breeze and landed through the circle of the ring. The king gave the boy the ring and his men presented him with several gifts. After receiving the gifts, the boy burned his bow and arrows. The king asked him why he did that and he replied, "So that my first glory may remain unchanged." COUPLET: The sage whose bright mind mirrors truth, May sometimes wander wide of it: While by mistake, the simple youth, Will, with his shaft, the target hit. Note: There is a saying in Farsi which says: "Har lafz-i-Sadi, Haftad-o-do maani" which means, "Each word of Sadi has 72 meanings." The story above was narrated by Sadi. I titled and rewrote it in parts.

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6- The Story of the Sick King
A certain king had a horrible disease. A group of physicians decided that there was no remedy for the pain except the liver of a particular person. The king ordered his men to search for such a person. A perfectly matched boy named, Adil, was found in a neighboring village. The king sent for his parents and gave them lots of gifts to keep them happy. Then a high ranking judge declared, that it was lawful to shed the blood of a citizen to save the king's life. Just as the doctors prepared to remove Adil's liver, he looked up to heaven and smiled. Surprised, the king asked him, "How can you laugh at such a serious time?" Adil replied, "It is customary for parents to love and look after their children, and for complaints to be carried before a judge, and for justice to be sought from kings. Yet, my parents have delivered me over to death in exchange for material gifts, and the judge has passed his sentence for my operation and possible death, and the king looks for his own recovery in my destruction. So, except for God above I have no one to protect me." The king's heart was so touched by these words; he wept and said, "It is better for me to perish than to shed innocent blood." He gave Adil a big hug and sent him home with several gifts. The story goes, that the king recovered that same week. "Where shall I from thy hand for succor flee? Against thine own power I will justice seek from thee."

7- The Story of the Sleepy Man
There was once a good man by the name of Amyn. He had spent his whole life cultivating qualities which would eventually take him to Paradise. He gave freely to the poor and he loved his fellow creatures and served them. Remembering the need to have patience, he endured great and unexpected hardships, often for the sake of others. He made journeys in search of knowledge. His humility and exemplary

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behavior were such that his reputation as a wise man and good citizen resounded from the East to the West and from the North to the South. Amyn exercised all these qualities whenever he remembered to do so, but his one shortcoming was heedlessness. This tendency was not strong in him, and he considered that balanced against the other things which he did practice. It could only be regarded as a small fault. Amyn was fond of sleep, and sometimes when he was asleep, opportunities to seek knowledge, or to understand it, or to practice real humility, or to add to the sum total of good behavior, passed him by and did not return. Just as the good qualities left their impress upon his essential self, so did the characteristic of heedlessness. And then one day, Amyn died. Finding himself beyond this life, and making his way toward the doors of Paradise, he paused to examine his conscience. He felt that his opportunity of entering Paradise were enough. The gates were shut, and then a voice addressed Amyn saying: "Be watchful, for the gates will open only once every hundred years!" So, Amyn settled down to wait, excited at the prospect, but deprived of chances to exercise virtues towards humankind, he found his capacity of attention was not enough for him. After watching for what seemed like an age, his head nodded in sleep. For an instant his eyelids closed, and at that moment the gates yawned open. Before his eyes were fully open again, the doors closed, with a roar loud enough to wake the dead!

8- The Frogs
A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the unfortunate frogs they would never get out. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and simply gave up. He fell down and died.

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The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and suffering and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs asked him, "Why did you continue jumping. Didn't you hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time. This story holds two lessons: 1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it through the day. 2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes to kill them. Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. The power of words... it is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. Special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another.

9- The Four Men and the Interpreter
Four people were given a piece of money. The first was a Persian. He said: ‘I will buy with this some angur.’ The second was an Arab. He said: ‘No, because I want inab.’ The third was Turk. He said: ‘I do not want inab, I want uzum.’ The fourth was a Greek. He said: ‘I want stafil.’ Because they did not know what lay behind the names of things, these four started to fight. They had information but no knowledge. One man of wisdom present could have reconciled them all, saying: ‘I can fulfil the needs of all of you, with one and the same piece of money. If you honestly give me your trust, your one coin will become as four; and four at odds will become as one united.’

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Such a man would know that each in his own language wanted the same thing, grapes

10- Four Towns
There were 4 towns. In each town, people were starving to death. Each town had a bag of seeds. In the first town, no one knew what seeds could do. No one knew how to plant them. Everyone starved. In the second town, one person knew what seeds were and how to plant them, but did nothing about it for one reason or another. Everyone starved. In the third town, one person knew what seeds were and how to plant them. He proposed to plant them in exchange for being declared the king or ruler. All ate, but were ruled. In the fourth town, one person knew what seeds were and how to plant them. He not only planted the seeds, but taught everyone the art of gardening. All ate, and all were free and empowered.

11- The Scholar
"Nasrudin, ferrying a pedant across a piece of rough water, said something ungrammatical to him. "Have you never studied grammar?" asked the scholar. "No." "Then half of your life has been wasted." A few minutes later Nasrudin turned to the passager. "Have you ever learned how to swim?" "No. Why?" "Then all your life is wasted - we are sinking!"

12- Mahmood of Ghazni
It is related that Mahmud of Ghazna was once walking in his

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garden when he stumbled over a blind dervish sleeping beside a bush. As soon as he awoke, the dervish cried, “You clumsy oaf! Have you no eyes that you must trample upon the sons of men?” Mahmood’s companion, who was one of his courtiers, shouted, “Your blindness is equaled only by your stupidity! Since you cannot see, you should be doubly careful of whom you are accusing of heedlessness.” “If by that you mean”, said the dervish, “that I should not criticize a sultan, it is you who should realize your shallowness.” Mahmood was impressed that the blind man knew that he was in the presence of the king, and he said mildly, “Why, O dervish, should a king have to listen to vituperation from you?” “Precisely”, said the dervish, “because it is the shielding of people of any category from criticism appropriate to them which is responsible for their downfall. It is the burnished metal which shines most brightly, the knife struck with the whetstone which cuts best, and the exercised arm which can lift the weight.”

13- The Story of the Two Streets
Once upon a time there was a town composed of two parallel streets. A dervish passed through one street and into the other, and as he reached the second one, the people there noticed that his eyes were streaming with tears. "Someone has died in the other street!" someone cried, and soon all the children in the neighborhood had taken up the cry. What had really happened was that the dervish had been peeling onions. Within a short space of time the cry had reached the first street. The adults of both streets were so distressed and fearful, since each community was related to the other, that they dared not make complete inquiries as to the cause of the furor.

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A wise man tried to reason with the people of both streets, asking why they did not question each other. Too confused to know what they meant, some said, "For all we know there is a deadly plague in the other street." This rumor, also spread like wildfire, until each street's residents thought that the other was doomed. When some measure of order was restored, it was only enough for the two communities to decide to emigrate to save themselves. So, from different sides of the town, both streets entirely evacuated their people. Today, centuries later, the town is still deserted and not so far away are two villages. Each village has it's own tradition of how it began as a settlement from a doomed town, through a fortunate flight, in remote times, from a nameless evil.

14- Bahlool and the Bridge
Bahlool was sitting on a bridge, watching the river flow by. The king saw him, and immediately had him arrested. "A bridge is for passing, not for staying!" said the king. Bahlool then replied to the king, "You should take a look at yourself. Look at how you are clinging to this life."

15- Lethargic People
This is a story about a clever teacher and how he cleverly ignites motivation in a group of lethargic people. The Palese were a seafaring people who for some reason or other had become very lethargic. They still had boats, but they never actually managed to set sail - there was always something better to do. At the same time, though, the Palese were very proud, and considered themselves the greatest seafaring nation in the world. The Palese lived on an almost barren island; what food plants there were, yielded crops of very poor quality. Across the sea, however, there was an archipelago covered in exotic fruit trees and palms that bore delicious fruit. The Palese knew this from old legends, and they had many teachers who, even though they had

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never been to the islands, told wondrous stories about their splendor, and gave detailed accounts of the great journeys of the past, and of how one could get there even today. One day, a new teacher appeared. This teacher, too, was talking about the islands, but his tales felt different from the tales the others told. When he described the flavor of the fruits, and the splendor of the trees, it seemed to the listeners as though they could actually smell the flowers of the trees and perceive the taste of their fruit on their tongues. There was one thing, though, that was disturbing about this teacher: one day he would say that the archipelago consisted of five islets, another day he would say that there were seven; one day he would say that they formed an arch, another day, that they formed a circle, and so on. His descriptions were never consistent; the only thing consistent about him was the vividness and seeming authenticity of his talks. The other teachers were very annoyed with this man, and they said things like: "Actually, everyone knows that there are six islands, and they form a rectangle." The new teacher created such a stir and controversy, and at the same time aroused such a profound longing in his listeners, that in the end something almost unprecedented happened: after years of dreaming about the archipelago, sitting in front of their houses, drawing maps, discussing winds and currents and sailing routes, doing anything but actually taking to the sea, some of the Palese began to look at their boats again. They realized that the boats were real, and that they could leave the shore on them. Some of them traveled in the direction the teacher had seemed to them to be indicating, and, after a long and perilous journey, many of them found the islands. They brought back delicious fruit and shared it with their neighbors. At that point, nobody was interested any more in whether there were six, seven or eight islands, and whether they formed an arch or a rectangle. And in time, even though the teacher had never given a description of the archipelago that he had not at another time contradicted, the Palese decided that in fact he had been the only

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one of their teachers who had explored and known the archipelago himself. He was remembered for millennia as one of the greatest of teachers, because in his compassion he had made people dissatisfied and curious enough to try to find the archipelago for themselves.

16- The Man against Sufis and Dhul Nun
A certain young man was always speaking against Sufis. One day, Dhul Nun took the ring from his finger and gave it to the man. "Take this to the market and sell it for a dollar," he said. The young man took it to the market and tried to sell it, but no one would give him more than 10 cents for it. The young man returned to Dhul Nun with the news. "Now, take the ring to the jewellers and see what they price it at," said Dhul Nun. The jewellers priced the ring at 1000 dollars. "You know as much about Sufis," Dhul Nun told the young man when he returned, "as those people in the marketplace know about this ring." The young man repented, and disbelieved in the Sufis no more.

17- Learning Humility from Bayazid al-Bistami
There was a certain ascetic who was one of the great saints of Bistam. He had his own followers and admirers, and at the same time he was never absent from the circle of Bayazid al-Bistami (or Abu Yazid al-Bistami). He listened to all his discourses, and sat with his companions. One day he remarked to Abu Yazid, "Master, for thirty years I have been keeping a constant fast. By night too I pray, so that I never sleep at all. Yet I discover no trace of this knowledge of which you speak. For all that I believe in this knowledge, and I love this preaching." "If for three hundred years," said Abu Yazid, "you fast by day and pray by night, you will never realize one atom of this discourse." "Why?" asked the disciple.

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"Because you are veiled by your own self," Abu Yazid replied. "What is the remedy for this?" the man asked. "You will never accept it," answered Abu Yazid. "I will so," said the man. "Tell me, so that I may do as you prescribe." "Very well," said Abu Yazid. "This very hour go and shave your beard and hair. Take off these clothes you are wearing, and tie a loincloth of goat's wool about your waist. Hang a bag of nuts around your neck, then go to the marketplace. Collect all the children you can, and tell them, `I will give a nut to everyone who slaps me.' Go round all the city in the same way; especially go everywhere people know you. That is your cure." "Glory be to God! There is no god but God," cried the disciple on hearing these words. "If a nonbeliever uttered that formula, he would become a believer," remarked Abu Yazid. "By uttering the same formula you have become a polytheist." "How so?" demanded the disciple. "Because you count yourself too grand to be able to do as I have said," replied Abu Yazid. "So you have become a polytheist. You used this formula to express your own importance, not to glorify God." "This I cannot do," the man protested. "Give me other directions." "The remedy is what I have said," Abu Yazid declared. "I cannot do it," the man repeated. "Did I not say you would not do it, that you would never obey me?" said Abu Yazid. [From the "Memorial of the Saints" of Fariduddin Attar.]

18- The Story of Tea
In ancient times, tea was not known outside China. Rumors of its existence had reached the wise and the unwise of other countries, and each tried to find out what it was in accordance with what he wanted or what he thought it should be.

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The King of Inja (here) sent an embassy to China, and they were given tea by the Chinese Emperor. But, since they saw that the peasants drank it too, they concluded that it was not fit for their king. Furthermore, they felt that the Chinese Emperor was trying to deceive them, passing off some other substance for the celestial drink. The greatest philosopher of Anja (there) collected all the information he could about tea, and concluded that it must be a rare substance, because it was referred to as being a herb, water, green, black, sometimes bitter, and sometimes sweet. In the countries of Koshish and Beinem, for centuries the people tested all the herbs they could find, but nobody had brought the tea-plant to their lands, so they could not find it. They also drank all the liquids which they could find, but to no avail. In the territory of Mazhab (sectarianism) a small bag of tea was carried in procession before the people as they went on their religious observances. Nobody thought of tasting it, nobody knew how. All were convinced that the tea itself had a magical quality. A wise man said, "Pour it upon boiling water oh, ignorant ones!" They killed him, because to do as he said, according to their belief, would mean the destruction of their tea. This showed that he was an enemy of their religion. Before he died, he told his secret to a few, and they managed to obtain some tea and drink it secretly. When anyone asked, "What are you doing?" they answered, "It is medicine which we take for a certain disease." So throughout the world, tea had actually been seen grown by some who did not recognize it. It has been given to others to drink, but they thought it the beverage of the common people. It had been in the possession of others, and they worshipped it. Outside China, only a few people actually drank it, and those covertly. Then came along a certain man of knowledge, who said to the merchants of tea, the drinkers of tea, and to others, "He who tastes, knows. He who tastes not, knows not. Instead of talking about the celestial beverage, say nothing, but offer it at your banquets. Those who like it will ask for more. Those who do not, will show that they are not fitted to be tea-drinkers. Close the shop of argument and mystery and open the teahouse of experience!"

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The tea was brought from one stage to another along the Silk Road, and whenever a merchant carrying a jade or gems or silk would pause to rest, he would make tea, and offer it to such people as were near him, whether they were aware of the repute of tea or not. This was the beginning of the chai-khanas (teahouses) which were established all the way from Peking to Bokhara and Samarkand, and those who tasted knew. At first, only the great and the pretended men of wisdom sought the celestial drink. They exclaimed, "But this is only dried leaves!" or "Why do you boil water, when all I want is the celestial drink?" or "How do I know what this is? Prove it to me. Besides the color of the liquid is not golden, but ochre!" When the truth was known, and when the tea was brought for all who would taste, the roles were reversed, and the only people who said things like the great and intelligent had said were the absolute fools. Such is the case to this day.

19- The Story of the Onion Thief
In a land far away, there lived a man called, Reza. One night, he decided to steal some onions and sell them at the local market for a handsome profit. It was a warm summer's night with enough light from the moon to be able to see clearly. He picked up a big basket and galloped away on his horse to a farm in the neighboring village. When he reached the farm, he made sure no one was around and started to pick the onions one by one. After he had collected 100 onions and the basket was full, he decided to get back on his horse and go home. As Reza lifted the heavy basket onto the horse, the horse neighed loudly. Inside the farm house, the farmer's wife heard the noise and got up to see where it was coming from. Looking out the window, she spotted Reza near his horse and alerted her husband and children. The entire Mahmood Family rushed outside and caught the thief before he could get away on his horse. Shortly after daylight, the Mahmood Family presented Reza, the thief in front of the village head to be sentenced for stealing their 100 onions. The village head gave Reza three options - he

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could pay a 100 gold coins, get a 100 lashes, or eat the 100 onions he stole! Reza decided to eat the 100 onions. As he ate the onions his eyes began to water and he felt miserable. After 25 went down his throat, he realized that there were still 75 left, so he decided to take the 100 lashes instead. The village head agreed and Reza prepared himself for the pain. After 10 lashes, he couldn't take the torture anymore and begged the man to stop. Finally, he decided to pay the 100 gold coins, and the village head set him free. What if Reza had paid the 100 gold coins, initially? He would have avoided eating the onions and getting the lashes, but instead he chose to go about it the "long way around." The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but if you prefer zigzags, triangles, circles, or polygons, it will be tougher to get to your destination!

20- The Story of the Three Travellers
Three travelers on a long and exhausting journey had become companions, and shared the same pleasures and sorrows, pooling all their resources. After many days they realized that all they had between them was a piece of bread and a mouthful of water in a flask. They fell to quarrelling as to who should have all the food. Making no progress on this score, they tried to divide the bread and water. Still they could not arrive at a conclusion. As dusk was falling, one finally suggested that they should sleep. When they awoke, the person who had had the most remarkable dream would decide what should be done. The next morning the three rose as the sun came up and the first traveler said, "This is my dream: I was carried away to places such as cannot be described, so wonderful and serene were they. I met a wise man who said to me, 'You deserve the food, for your past and future life are worthy and suitable subjects for admiration.'" "How strange," said the second traveler. "For in my dream, I actually saw all my past and my future. In my future I saw a man of great knowledge, who said, 'You deserve the bread more than your friends, for you are more learned and patient. You must be well-nurtured, for you are destined to lead men,'" The third traveler said, "In my dream I saw nothing, heard nothing, said nothing. I felt a compelling presence which forced

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me to get up, find the bread and water, and consume them then and there. And this is what I did." The two companions were very angry and demanded to know why they were not called when the mysterious power compelled him to consume the bread. "But you were far from here! One of you was carried away to far places and the other to another time! How could you hear my calling?" he replied.

21- Trust God but Tie Your Camel
There was once a man who was on his way back home from market with his camel and, as he’d had a good day, he decided to stop at a mosque along the road and offer his thanks to God. He left his camel outside and went in with his prayer mat and spent several hours offering thanks to Allah, praying and promising that he’d be a good Muslim in the future, help the poor and be an upstanding pillar of his community. When he emerged it was already dark and lo and behold – his camel was gone! He immediately flew into a violent temper and shook his fist at the sky, yelling: “You traitor, Allah! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and then you go and stab me in the back like this!” A passing sufi dervish heard the man yelling and chuckled to himself. “Listen,” he said, “Trust God but, you know, tie up your camel.” This is the classic answer for those who believe that their faith alone will carry them through life. Innocence can indeed be a valuable shield but there are basic measures that have to be taken just as a matter of common sense. If you leave the jar of honey open by morning it may be full of ants. No amount of belief is going to change the basic facts of living in this world.

22- The Story of the Shaky Voice

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A muzzain was reciting the azaan and summoning people to the mosque of Sanjariyah, built by Sultan Sanjar Saljuki. Those who heard his shaky voice could not stand the sound of it. It was not at the decibel level we normally enjoy. A certain Prince, a major patron of the mosque, known for his friendly demeanor agreed to take action on behalf of the mosque attendees. The Prince was careful not to hurt the muzzain's feelings so he gently said, "Oh sir, there are muazzins attached to this mosque to whom the office has descended from old, each has an allowance of 5 dinars, but I will give you 10 dinars to go to another place." The muazzin agreed and departed the town. A week later, the muazzin returned and said, "Oh Prince, you did me injustice by sending me from this place for 10 dinars. The place you sent me to offered to pay me 20 dinars to go somewhere else, but I will not accept it." The Prince laughed and said, "Take care not to accept it, for they will agree to give you even 50 dinars!" COUPLET: No mattock can the clay remove from off the granite stone, So well as thy discordant voice can make the spirit moan. Note: muazzin = person who recites the azaan. Call to prayer = azaan. This story was narrated by Sadi of Shiraz and can be found in, "Gulistan-i-Sadi" or "Sadi: The Rose Garden." Sadi's tomb in Shiraz is surrounded by beautiful poetry.

23- The Story of the Talkative Woodcutter
In a far away land lived a certain woodcutter. Every day he chopped wood in a large forest outside his village. At the end of the day he carried the wood back to sell in the village. After twenty years of chopping wood he grew tired of it and one day shouted out loud for all the trees to hear him, "I don't want to do this anymore! I will cut one last load of firewood and then look for the bones of our father Adam, who brought us all this pain and trouble upon us, and burn them up."

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At that instant, God sent an angel to him in the form of a woman. The angel asked him what he was doing, and the woodcutter replied, “I am searching for the bones of Adam. I want to burn them, because of all the pain and trouble he brought us." The angel said, "What if someone were to free you from all this work and weariness?" Delighted, the woodcutter replied, "I would thank them a thousand times!" So the angel said, "Then I will transport you to a garden where you will never have to work, but you must promise that no matter what you see there, you will not utter a single word." The woodcutter agreed, and the angel clapped her hands together. In a flash, the woodcutter found himself in a beautiful garden filled with tall trees, clear streams, and lots of delicious fruit. After a little while, the woodcutter saw a man cutting wood. He was cutting the live branches from the trees and leaving the dead ones. The woodcutter thought about his promise to the angel, but as he watched the man work, he could not restrain himself from saying, "Mister, don't you know that you should cut the dead branches and leave the live ones?" The man paused and said, "Have you been here long?" The next instant the woodcutter was back near his village with his axe, and he began to wail and beat his breast in anguish. Once again the angel appeared before him and asked what had happened. When the woodcutter told her, the angel said, "Didn't I tell you not to speak?" "I promise I will not say a word if you let me go back," said the woodcutter. So the angel clapped her hands and the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden. After a little while, the woodcutter saw a gazelle running through the garden and an old man hobbling after it. Without thinking, the woodcutter shouted, "That gazelle is bounding here and there, old man. When will you give up and stop hobbling after it?" The old man stopped and said, "Have you been here long?"

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The next instant, the woodcutter was back at his woodpile in the thicket outside the village. Again he wailed and moaned, and once more the angel returned. "Please have pity on me," said the woodcutter, "If you give me one more chance, may I be cursed if I speak again." The angel agreed, and in an instant the woodcutter was back in the heavenly garden. Aware of his mistakes, the woodcutter remained silent for three days, but then he saw four men struggling to move the millstone of an oil press. They would all lift the millstone on one side and it would topple over onto the other side. Then they would move to the other side and repeat the same process. The woodcutter thought to himself, "Should I tell them or not? These men are senseless. I have to tell them." So the woodcutter shouted, "Men, if you want to carry that millstone, you should lift it from all sides!" One of the men turned to the woodcutter and said, "Have you been here long?" And the next instant the woodcutter was back at his woodpile. The woodcutter wailed and wailed, and once more the angel appeared in front of him. The woodcutter begged and pleaded to return to the heavenly garden, but the angel said, "Your father Adam only sinned once. You have committed sin upon sin upon sin, so your place shall be here among the firewood until the end of your days." Note: The woodcutter complained about his work and placed the blame on Adam (God's first human creation according to Jews, Christians, and Muslims), but when he was given the opportunity to live a better life, he was made to realize how easy it is to sin. I think there are lots of morals in this tale from Palestine.

24- The Oilman and his Parrot
An oilman possessed a parrot which used to amuse him with its agreeable prattle, and to watch his shop when he went out. One day, when the parrot was alone in the shop, a cat upset one of the oil-jars. When the oilman returned home he thought that the parrot had done this mischief, and in his anger he smote the parrot such a blow on the head as made all

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its feathers drop off, and so stunned it that it lost the power of speech for several days. But one day the parrot saw a bald-headed man passing the shop, and recovering its speech, it cried out, "Pray, whose oil-jar did you upset?" The passers-by smiled at the parrot's mistake in confounding baldness caused by age with the loss of its own feathers due to a blow.

25- The Lion and the Beasts
In the book of Kalila and Damna a story is told of a lion who held all the beasts of the neighbourhood in subjection, and was in the habit of making constant raids upon them, to take and kill such of them as he required for his daily food. At last the beasts took counsel together, and agreed to deliver up one of their company every day, to satisfy the lion's hunger, if he, on his part, would cease to annoy them by his continual forays. The lion was at first unwilling to trust to their promise, remarking that he always preferred to rely on his own exertions; but the beasts succeeded in persuading him that he would do well to trust Providence and their word. To illustrate the thesis that human exertions are vain, they related a story of a man who got Solomon to transport him to Hindustan to escape the angel of death, but was smitten by the angel the moment he got there. Having carried their point, the beasts continued for some time to perform their engagement. One day it came to the turn of the hare to be delivered up as a victim to the lion; but he requested the others to let him practice a stratagem. They scoffed at him, asking how such silly beast as he could pretend to outwit the lion. The hare assured them that wisdom was of God, and God might choose weak things to confound the strong. At last they consented to let him try his luck. He took his way slowly to the lion, and found him sorely enraged. In excuse for his tardy arrival he represented that he and another hare had set out together to appear before the lion, but a strange lion had seized the second hare, and carried it off in spite of his remonstrances. On hearing this, the lion was exceeding in wrath, and commanded the hare to show him the foe who had trespassed on his preserves. Pretending to be afraid, the hare got the lion to take him upon his back, and directed him to a well. On looking down the well, the lion saw in the water the reflection of himself and of the

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hare on his back; and thinking that he saw his foe with the stolen hare, he plunged in to attack him, and was drowned, while the hare sprang off his back and escaped. This folly on the part, of the lion was predestined to punish him for denying God's ruling providence. So Adam, though he knew the names of all things, in accordance with God's predestination, neglected to obey a single prohibition, and his disobedience cost him dearly.

26- The Merchant and his Clever Parrot
There was a certain merchant who kept a parrot in a cage. Being about to travel to Hindustan on business, he asked the parrot if he had any message to send to his kinsmen in that country, and the parrot desired him to tell them that he was kept confined in a cage. The merchant promised to deliver this message, and on reaching Hindustan, duly delivered it to the first flock of parrots he saw. On hearing it one of them at once fell down dead. The merchant was annoyed with his own parrot for having sent such a fatal message, and on his return home sharply rebuked his parrot for doing so. But the parrot no sooner heard the merchant's tale than ho too fell down dead in his cage. The merchant, after lamenting his death, took his corpse out of the cage and threw it away; but, to his surprise, the corpse immediately recovered life, and flew away, explaining that the Hindustani parrot had only feigned death to suggest this way of escaping from confinement in a cage.

27- The Chinese and the Greek Artists
The Chinese and the Greeks disputed before the Sultan which of them were the better painters; and, in order to settle the dispute, the Sultan allotted to each a house to be painted by them. The Chinese procured all kinds of paints, and coloured their house in the most elaborate way. The Greeks, on the other hand, used no colours at all, but contented themselves with cleansing the walls of their house from all filth, and burnishing them till they were as clear and bright as the heavens.

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When the two houses were offered to tho Sultan's inspection, that painted by tho Chinese was much admired; but the Greek house carried off the palm, as all the colours of the other house were reflected on its walls with an endless variety of shades and hues.

28- Hazrat Ali's Forbearance
Hazrat Ali (R.A), the "Lion of God," was once engaged in conflict with a Magian chief, and in the midst of the struggle the Magian spat in his face. Hazrat Ali (R.A), instead of taking vengeance on him, at once dropped his sword, to the Magian's great astonishment. On his inquiring the reason of such forbearance, Hazrat Ali (R.A) informed him that the "Lion of God" did not destroy life for the satisfaction of his own vengeance, but simply to carry out God's will, and that whenever he saw just cause, he held his hand even in the midst of the strife, and spared the foe. The Prophet (SAWW), Hazrat Ali (R.A) continued, had long since informed him that he would die by the hand of his own stirrup-bearer (Ibn Maljun), and the stirrup-bearer had frequently implored 'Ali to kill him, and thus save him from the commission of that great crime; but Hazrat Ali (R.A) said he always refused to do so, as to him death was as sweet as life, and he felt no anger against his destined assassin, who was only the instrument of God's eternal purpose. The Magian chief, on hearing Hazrat Ali (R.A)'s discourse, was so much affected that he embraced Islam, together with all his family, to the number of fifty souls.

29- The King and his Two Slaves
A king purchased two slaves, one extremely handsome, and the other very ugly. He sent the first away to the bath, and in his absence questioned the other. He told him that the first slave had given a very bad account of him, saying that he was a thief and a bad character, and asked if it was true. The second slave replied that the first was everything that was good, his inward qualities corresponding to the beauty of his outward appearance, and that whatever he had told the king was worthy of credit.

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The king replied that beauty was only an accident, and that, according to the tradition, accidents "endure only two moments;" that at death the animal soul is destroyed, that the text, "Whoso shall present himself with beauty shall receive tenfold reward," I does not refer to outward accidents, but to the "substance," the eternal soul. The slave in reply urged that the accidents of good works and thoughts will in some way bear fruit in the next world, pointing out that thought is always the precursor of the completed work, as the plan of the architect precedes the building, and the gardener's design the perfect fruit resulting from his labors. He added that the world is only the realized thought of "Universal Reason". The king then sent away the slave with whom he had held this discourse, and summoned the other, and told him that his fellow slave had given a bad account of him, and asked what he had to say. He replied that his fellow slave was a liar and a rascal, and the king then dismissed him, observing that, in accordance with the tradition, "Every man is hidden under his own tongue," his tongue had betrayed his inner vileness. "The safety of a man lies in holding his tongue."

30- Hazrat Musa (A.S.) and the Shepherd
Hazrat Musa (A.S) once heard a shepherd praying as follows: "O God, show me where thou art, that I may become. Thy servant. I will clean Thy shoes and comb Thy hair, and sew Thy clothes, and fetch Thee milk." When Hazrat Musa (A.S) heard him praying in this senseless manner, he rebuked him, saying, "O foolish one, though your father was a Musalman, you have become an infidel. God is a Spirit, and needs not such gross ministrations as, in your ignorance, you suppose." The shepherd was abashed at his rebuke, and tore his clothes and fled away into the desert. Then a voice from heaven was heard, saying, "O Musa (A.S), wherefore have you driven away my servant? Your office is to reconcile my people with me, not to drive them away from me. I have given to each race different usages and forms of praising and adoring me. I have no need of their praises, being exalted above all such needs. I regard not the words that are spoken, but the heart that offers them. I do not require fine words, but a burning heart. Men's ways of showing devotion to me are various, but so long as the devotions are genuine, they are accepted."

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31- Miracles performed by the Prophet Muhammad (SAWW)
It, is related that the Prophet (SAWW) was once present at a banquet, and after he had eaten and drunk, his servant Anas threw the napkin which he had used into the fire, and the napkin was not burnt, 'but only purified by the fire. On another occasion a caravan of Arabs was traveling in the desert, and was in sore distress through lack of water, whereupon the Prophet miraculously increased the water in a single waterskin, so that it sufficed to supply the needs of all the travelers. Moreover, the negro who carried the water-skin was rendered as white and fair as Hazrat Yousuf (A.S). Again, a heathen woman came to the Prophet carrying her infant, aged only two months, and the infant saluted the Prophet (SAWW) as the veritable apostle of God. Again, when the prophet was about to put on his sandals, an eagle swooped down upon one of them and carried it off, when a viper was seen to drop from the sandal. The Prophet was at first inclined to grumble at this stroke of ill-luck; but when he saw the viper his discontent was turned into thankfulness to God, who had thus miraculously saved him from being bitten by the viper.

32- The Man asked Hazrat Musa (A.S) to teach the animals’ language
A certain man came to Hazrat Musa (A.S) and desired to be taught the language of animals, for, he said, men used their language only to get food and for purposes of deception, and possibly a knowledge of animals' languages might stimulate his faith. Hazrat Musa (A.S) was very unwilling to comply with his request, as he knew such knowledge would prove destructive to him, but, on his persisting, took counsel of God, and finally taught him the language of fowls and dogs. Next morning the man went amongst the fowls, and heard a discussion between the cock and the dog. The dog was abusing the cock for picking up the morsels of bread which fell from their master's table, because the cock could find plenty of grains of corn to eat, whereas the dog could only eat bread. The cock, to appease him, said that on the morrow the master's horse would die, and then the dog would have enough and to spare.

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The master, hearing this, at once sold his horse, and the dog, being disappointed of his meal, again attacked the cock. The cock then told him the mule would die, whereupon the master sold the mule. Then the cock foretold the death of a slave, and the master again sold the slave. At this the dog, losing patience, upbraided the cock as the chief of deceivers, and the cock excused himself by showing that all three deaths had taken place just as he had predicted, but the master had sold the horse, mule, and slave, and had thrown the loss on others. He added that, to punish him for his fraudulent dealing, the master would himself die on the morrow, and there would be plenty for the dog to eat at the funeral feast. Hearing this, the master went to Hazrat Musa (A.S) in great distress, and prayed to be saved. Hazrat Musa (A.S) besought the Lord for him, and gained permission that he should die in the peace of God.

33- The Mule and the Camel
A mule said to a camel, "How is it that I am always stumbling and falling down, whilst you never make a false step?" The camel replied, "My eyes are always directed upwards, and I see a long way before me, while your eyes look down, and you only see what is immediately under your feet." The mule admitted the truth of the camel's statement, and besought him to act as his guide in future, and the camel consented to do so. Just so partial reason cannot see beyond the grave, but real reason looks onward to the day of judgment, and, therefore, is enabled to steer a better course in this world. For this cause, men having only partial reason or mere opinion of their own ought to follow the guidance of the saints, according to the text, "O believers, enter not upon any affair ere God and his Apostle lead the way."

34- The Sage and the Peacock
A sage went out to till his field, and saw a peacock busily engaged in destroying his own plumage with his beak. At seeing this insane self-destruction the sage could not refrain himself, but cried out to the peacock to forbear from mutilating himself and spoiling his beauty in so wanton a manner.

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The peacock then explained to him that the bright plumage which he admired so much was a fruitful source of danger to its unfortunate owner, as it led to his being constantly pursued by hunters, whom he had no strength to contend against; and he had accordingly decided on ridding himself of it with his own beak, and making himself so ugly that no hunter would in future care to molest him. The poet proceeds to point out that worldly cleverness and accomplishments and wealth endanger man's spiritual life, like the peacock's plumage; but, nevertheless, they are appointed for our probation, and without such trials there can be no virtue.

35- Mahmood and Ayaz
Mahmood, the celebrated king of Ghazni, had a favourite named Ayaz, who was greatly envied by the other courtiers. One day they came to the king and informed him that Ayaz was in the habit of retiring to a secret chamber, and locking himself in, and that they suspected he had there concealed coin stolen from the treasury, or else wine and forbidden drink. The fact was, that Ayaz had placed in that chamber his old shoes and the ragged dress which he used to wear before the king had promoted him to honour, and used to retire there every day and wear them for a time, in order to remind himself of his lowly origin, and to prevent himself from being puffed up with pride. This he did in accordance with the text, "Let man reflect out of what he was created." The intoxication of the present life puffs up many with false pride, even as Iblis, who refused to worship Adam, saying, "Who is Adam, that he should be lord over me?" This he said because he was one of the Jinn, who are all created of fire. Adam, on the other hand, confessed his own vileness, saying, "Thou hast formed me out of clay." The king was well assured of the fidelity of Ayaz; but in order to confute those who suspected him, he ordered them to go by night and break open that chamber and bring away all the treasure and other things hidden in it. It is a characteristic of evildoers to think evil of the saints, because they judge of their conduct by the light of their own evil natures, as the crooked foot makes a crooked footprint, and as the spider sees things distorted through the web he has spun himself The hug's conduct in this did not betoken any diminution of his love for Ayaz, because lover and beloved are always as one soul, though they may be opposed to outward view.

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Accordingly the courtiers proceeded to the chamber of Ayaz at night, and broke open the door, and searched the floor and the walls, but found only the old shoes and the ragged dress. They then returned to the king discomfited and shamefaced, even as the wicked who have slandered the saints will be on the Day of Judgment, according to the text, "On the resurrection day thou shalt see those who have lied of God with their faces black." Then they besought the king to pardon their offence, but he refused, saying that their offence had been committed against Ayaz, and that he would leave it to Ayaz to decide whether they should be punished or pardoned. If Ayaz showed mercy it would be well; and if he punished it would be well also, for "the law of retaliation is the security for life." Only he enjoined him to pronounce his sentence without delay, because "Waiting is punishment."

36- The Fowler and the Bird
A fowler went out to catch birds, and disguised himself by wrapping his head up in leaves and grass, so as to avoid frightening the birds away from his snare. A bird of some sagacity came near him, and suspected something wrong, but foolishly lingered near, and began to question him as to his business. The fowler said he was a hermit who had retired from the world and dressed himself in weeds for the health of his soul. The bird said he was surprised to see a Musalman doing this in contravention of the Prophet's precept, "There is no mockery in Islam," and his repeated declarations that Islam involves association with the faithful and avoidance of a solitary life. The fowler replied that a solitary life was allowed in heathen countries for the soul's health. The bird then asked what the grains of wheat were that were strewed on the trap. The fowler replied that they were the property of an orphan, which had been deposited with him in consequence of his known probity. The bird then asked permission to eat some, as he was very hungry, and the fowler, with much pretended reluctance, allowed him to do so. The moment he touched the grain the trap closed upon him, and he found himself a prisoner. He then abused the fowler for his

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trickery, but the fowler said he had only himself to blame for his greediness in eating the food which belonged to an orphan. The moral is, that it is not destiny which leads people into afflictions, but their own errors and vices.

37- The story of Hazrat Salman Farsi (R.A)
Salman's father was a rich landlord and a powerful political figure in Jiyye and the surrounding areas. He had much prosperity in the city, and vast estates in the country, and he had numerous slaves and many herds of horse. Since Salman was his only son he lavished all his love upon him. Most Persians (Iranians) in those days were Magians or Zoroastrians (followers of the Persian prophet Zoroaster). Salman was also taught the principles and doctrines of Zoroastrianism. He was in his early teens when he grasped the highly complex, sometimes esoteric doctrines and dogmas of the Persian national belief and soon he knew as much as his own teachers and the priests of the Zoroastrian fire temples of Jiyye did. In those days in Persia, it was considered a great honor to be a priest in one of the fire-temples. Service in a fire-temple provided the priests with status, prestige and numerous perquisites. Since in Persian also, the priests could reach high position in local and "national" governments, Salman's father managed to get him appointed as a priest in the local fire-temple while he was only sixteen years old. For three years, Salman played priest in the fire-temple of Jiyye but then he began to lost interest in his work. It had become too monotonous and wearisome for him. The priests were men of limited vision and limited knowledge and they were too dogmatic. If he posed any creedal question to them, they were, in most cases, unable to answer him; or, they spoke in a language of allusions, historical allegories and parallels. One day in spring (circa 586 A.D.), Salman's father had some important business to attend to at one of his country houses. But before he could go to the country, some merchants arrived in Jiyye from the ancient city of Balkh and to entertain them he had to stay in Jiyye itself. He, therefore, asked Salman to go in his stead, and briefed him on what he had to do at the country house. The following day Salman left Jiyye for his father's country estate. When Salman had traveled a few miles from the city, he came upon a fork in the road, and standing upon the brow of an

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eminence, he paused for a few minute to survey the surroundings and to determine the direction of his destination. The light was now rapidly advancing from the east, and was tinting the landscape. Presently the sun rose and as Salman was still basking in the stream of the rays of the rising sun a grey stone edifice, partly veiled in golden mist, caught his eye. It was some distance from the road, and Salman decided to find out what it was and to whom did it belong. He, therefore, went near it to take a closer look at it. Salman, propelled by his curiosity, entered the building to investigate. Inside, people were conducting a religious service and a choir was singing a hymn in a foreign language, which he did not understand. When the service was over, one member of the congregation came to him, greeted him, and asked him who he was, and what was the purpose of his visit. Salman told him who he was, and explained that he wished to know who they were, and what creed they professed. He was taken to the "high priest" who explained to him that they were Christians from Syria and explained to him the Oneness of God, the Day of Judgment, and the role of the Apostles, Messengers and Prophets of God. Salman questioned the Christian priest regarding their beliefs and eventually the priest initiated him into Christianity. When Salman was late coming home, his father became very anxious. His father sat, hacked with nameless fears and dark forebodings, in the court of his palatial house, surrounded by his friends who were trying to comfort him. Suddenly, Salman entered through the gate. His father threw his arms around him and asked him where he had disappeared. Salman proceeded to explain to his father that he had ridden past a church of Christians and was with them all day long. His father then said that he hoped that those people hadn't misled him and his religion and the religion of his forefathers was the right one. Salman refuted his father by proclaiming that their religion was better than Zoroastrianism. Angered by this, his father threatened him with imprisonment and torture if Salman did not swear that he had not and will not change his religion. Salman, however, refused and was beaten and tortured, and was kept hungry and thirsty in his prison day after day.

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One of the servants of Salman's father was a young man called Mehran. He had reared Salman from his infancy, and he loved him like his own son. Salman knew that he could trust Mehran, and asked him one day if he could put him touch with the Christian priest who might assist him in escaping to Syria. Mehran was only too glad to give this service to his young master and he arranged for his escape. After a few days Mehran came to see Salman and informed him that a caravan was ready to leave for Syria. The following night Mehran entered his cell, removed the shackles from his feet, gave him a new set of clothes to wear, and led him quietly out of the house while everyone was sound asleep. Outside the house, a horse was awaiting Salman. He thanked Mehran for his invaluable help, bade him a silent and tearful farewell, and rode out of Jiyye. Upon arrival in the church, Salman thanked his Christian friends for what they were doing him. The priests gave special instructions to the leader of the caravan regarding the welfare of Salman. The high priest then committed Salman to the protection of God. The caravan left Jiyye the same night, and moving at a brisk pace, put considerable distance between itself and the city before daybreak.

The Years in the Wilderness
Nearly a month after its departure from Jiyye in Persia, the caravan arrived in the ancient city of Damascus. Salman had come to the journey's end but quite frequently; the end of one journey is the beginning of another. Salman too had a new journey ahead of him but he knew that the new journey would be in the realm of spirit. Salman at this time was in the nineteenth year of his life. He was rangy and muscular, and he had a powerful build. He was endowed with a highly retentive memory, and a most penetrating intelligence. He had a critical and an analytic mind that applied logic to every situation. In his physical characteristics and his mental attributes he surpassed all the young men of his age and generation. Just as he was tall, broad and robust beyond his years, he was also wise, prudent, and sagacious and his experience. Early in his life, he had cultivated a temperate personality. In Jiyye - his hometown - he had riches, luxury, and high status - all within grasp. But he spurned them all, and he did so not withstanding his extreme youth. Instead of seeking power and pleasure, as other young men of his generation did, he made the pursuit of Knowledge and Truth the "vocation" of his life. He was the idealist par excellence.

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After leaving Jiyye in Persia, Salman lived in four other cities. He lived for ten years in Damascus, and then during the next twenty years, he lived in Mosul, Nasibin and Ammuria. In each of these cities, he read, studied, observed, and he assimilated all the religious knowledge that was extant. He also spent much time in devotions in the hope of finding the gift of enlightenment and inner peace. But his religious experience during this period was almost entirely subjective. It arose out of and was identified by means of his awareness of his own mental states and psychological processes. There were times when his interior world became so vivid that he lost touch with the exterior world. This alarmed him. One question that arose persistently in his mind was if it was right to turn one's back upon the world and its problems, and to try to win felicity and inner peace for one's owns self. With the passage of time, the specter of doubt began to rear its head in Salman's thoughts. He felt that Truth - the Ultimate Truth was still hidden from his, and this after an effort to find it that had spanned more than a quarter century. When Salman was tormented too much by these thoughts, and when he knew he had come to and impasse, he turned to God, and prayed to Him to give him deliverance from doubt and skepticism, and lead him to the destination which He had chosen for him. Little did he know, the light of guidance that he wished and hoped to see, was soon to appear on the horizon.

Slavery
The last city, in which Salman lived, was Ammuria - a city in the eastern part of Asia Minor - then a province of the Eastern Roman Empire or the Byzantium Empire. It was in Ammuria that he heard, for the first time, vague reports of the appearance, in Makkah in Arabia, of a new prophet. According to these reports, this new prophet forbade the worship of idols and images and preached the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty and Oneness of God. It occurred to Salman that the Flame of Truth, which he was seeking, might be the one burning in Makkah in Arabia. Suddenly, Makkah appeared to be beckoning him to come. He, therefore, made up his mind to go to Makkah to meet the Arabian prophet as soon as his circumstances would allow, and to interrogate him personally on the problems, which had been perplexing him. Toward late summer in that year, some travelers arrived in Ammuria from the south. Salman's enquiries revealed that these travelers were horse traders from a city called Yathrib in Arabia. They told him that after selling their horses, they would return to

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Damascus to make connection with a caravan that was being "assembled" there for the return journey to Yathrib. Salman met the leader of these horse traders and requested him to allow him to travel with them to Damascus, and thence to Yathrib. In return for his favor, he offered to pay him his modest savings. The Leader of the horse traders agreed. The journey was long and arduous. But Salman endured the travail with stoical courage. While other travelers rode their camels or horses. Salman walked, a feat of endurance that astonished them. Eventually, Salman's carvan arrived in the oasis of Wadi-ulQura in the Hijaz, and the leader of the caravan announced that they would halt there for three days and three nights. In this time, Salman made plans for the last leg of his journey from Yathrib to Makkah. What he did not know at this time was that bitter disappointment was lying in wait for him "just around the corner." They offered Salman for sale to the highest bidder among the Jews. Salman protested that he was not a slave, and could not be sold or bought but he could not produce any "witnesses" who would vouch that he was a free man. His Jewish master made him a prisoner, and the caravan left for its destination without him. Salman attracted much attention in Wadi-ul-Qura due to his gigantic stature and many showed an interest in buying him. One of the bidders, however, was a cousin of Salman's master; He lived in Yathrib and visited Wadi-ul-Qura on business. He became so insistent on buying Salman that his (Salman's) master agreed to sell him. Before long, in Yathrib also, a competition began among the Jews to buy Salman. His master did not want to sell him but he found one of the offers so attractive that he accepted it, and sold him. The new master sold him again. Thus he passed through many hands. Eventually, a rich Jew - one Uthman bin Ashhel bought him. Uthman and the other Jews had never seen a slave like Salman. They noted that he didn't talk much but whenever he did, he spoke words of profound wisdom. His judgment, they noted, was like the judgment of Solomon himself. His master benefited, not only from his work but also from his advice and his opinions, which he sought from him quite frequently. But he was a vicious and brutal taskmaster, and made Salman work almost non-stop. Salman's work was difficult and laborious but he did not allow his adverse circumstances to extinguish the flame that the hope of meeting Muhammad (S.A.W) had kindled in his breast. The

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hope of meeting Muhammad (S.A.W) revived him each day, there was magic in the name of Muhammad (S.A.W) that never failed to work. Whenever Salman had a rough day, he reminded himself that he had a "rendezvous" with Muhammad (S.A.W), he bounced back. One morning when Salman began his descent from the top of a tree, he noticed that his master, who sat at its foot, was engaged in talking with a stranger. From this stranger it was gathered that Muhammad (S.A.W) had come to Yathrib and the Aus and Khazraj had taken an oath of loyalty to him. Immediately upon hearing this Salman's mind constantly wondered how he could finally meet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt). Salman's Meeting with Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W) and his Induction into Islam One evening Uthman bin Ashhel was away from the oasis on some business, and Salman availed of the opportunity to realize his wish, He put the ripe and fresh dates which he had earned that day as his wages, in a bag, and went into the city to find Muhammad (may Allah bless him and his family), and to have audience with him. Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W.W) was living, at this time, in the house of Hadhret Abu Ayub Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him), as his guest, each step that Salman took toward his destination heightened his anticipation. And then the great moment came. Salman the Persian was escorted into the presence of Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W), the beloved of God, and his (Salman's) own unseen beloved. His heart was bounding inside his ribs like a bird fluttering in a cage but he was making a supreme effort to steady himself. Suddenly, he was arrested in mid-motion by the vision framed in the arch. Muhammad Mustafa (may Allah bless him and his family) was seated in the reception room of the house. A few companions sat in front of him. Salman's first glance fell upon his face, and all at once he felt himself dazzled by a thousand sparkling lights. He heard himself saying quietly: "By God, this cannot be the face of a man who has ever told a lie. If there is any face that can be the face of a messenger of God, that is the face of this man." After the exchange of preliminary greeting, Salman stated the purpose of his visit. Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W.W) told Salman that the message that he had brought, was called Islam, and he explained its meaning to him as total surrender of a man, without

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reservation, to the Will and pleasure of Allah. Salman could not wait long enough and begged Muhammad Mustafa (S.A.W.W) to admit him to the company of those slaves of Allah who surrender themselves to His Will and His pleasure. Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and his family), thereupon, inducted Salman the Persian into Islam. The first requirement for Salman in this induction was to believe that God was One and had no partners or associates, and that Muhammad was His Messenger. The doctrine of the Oneness of God is called Tauheed, and it is the axis of Islam. The mission of Muhammad as God's last messenger to mankind is called Risalet. The second requirement for Salman was to declare his faith in Tauheed and in Risalet. Salman had been enlisted into the service of Allah by His Own Messenger - Muhammad Mustafa(S.A.W) - an honor and a distinction he was to remain proud of all his life, At the same time, he was also admitted into the ranks of his (Muhammad’s) friends.

38- Hazrat Ali (R.A.) and the Candle
A candle burnt by his side, as he sat down meticulously recording all the revenue and the expenses of the treasury. Just then Talha and Zubair appeared. They aspired to some positions of authority in Hazrat Ali's (R.A.) rule and had come to strike a deal. If Hazrat Ali (R.A.) gave them a place of distinction, they would in turn pledge their full support. Hazrat Ali (R.A.) knew of this. Just as they sat down, Hazrat Ali (R.A.) puts out the candle and lit another one. Talha and Zubair exchanged a glance of surprise and then one of them said: "O Ali, we have come on some important business. But why did you extinguish the first candle?" Hazrat Ali (R.A.) replied: "That was a candle bought of Treasury funds. As long as I worked for the Treasury, I used it. Now you have come for some personal work, so I use the candle bought of my personal fund."

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39- Bahlool Dana and the Thief
Whenever Bahlool happened to have money in excess of his expenses, he used to save it by concealing it in one corner of a ruined and broken down house; this continued till the amount eventually reached a figure of three hundred dinars. The next occasion when he had saved another ten dinars and had gone to the place to add it to his concealed savings, a trader who lived in the neighbourhood, found out about the hideout. As soon as Bahlool had left the hiding place, the neighbour dug up the money that was concealed beneath the ground. The next time when Bulool came to the place, he found his money missing and immediately realized that it was the work of the trader. Bahlool decided to approach the trader. "I wish to trouble you by telling you about my secret," Bahlool said to the trader. "I have placed my money in different places." Then he began enumerating the places till the entire figure reached three thousand dinars. "The place where I have placed three hundred and ten dinars is the safest of them all. I now wish to transfer all my money to this place in the ruined house." Saying this, he bid the trader goodbye and left. The trader decided to return the three hundred and ten dinars to the place from where he had stolen the money with the intention that when Bahlool placed all his money there, he would steal the increased amount. Some days later, Bahlool returned to the ruins and found the three hundred and ten dinars in its original location. Taking out the money, he defecated there and covered it with earth. Immediately after Bahlool had left, the trader rushed towards the spot and, removing the earth, sought to collect the entire money, only to find his hand dirtied by the excrement. He thus comprehended Bahlool's deception. A few days later Bahlool visited him. "I want you to compute some figures associated with my money," said Bahlool. "How much does eighty dinars added to fifty dinars added to one hundred dinars, and this sum added to the dirty odour that emanates from your hands, sum up to?"

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Saying this, he took to his heels. The trader rushed after him in hot pursuit, but failed to catch him.

40- Bahlool sits on Abbasid Caliph Harun AlRashid's Throne
One day Bahlool arrived at Abbasid Caliph Harun AlRashid's palace and saw that the throne was empty. There was no one to stop him, so he unhesitatingly and fearlessly went and sat in Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid's place. When the court slaves saw this, they immediately started whipping him and took him off the throne. Bahlool started crying. Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid came and saw this; he asked those nearby why Bohlool was crying. A slave told him the whole story. Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid scolded them and tried to cheer Bohlool up. Bahlool said he was not crying at his condition, but at Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid's condition. "I sat on the seat of Caliphate wrongfully for a few seconds and received such a beating and endured such misfortune; but you have been sitting on this throne all your life! What troubles you must receive, yet you still don't fear the consequence."

41- Junaid Baghdadi and Bahlool
Bahlool simulated madness, though he was not mad. Junaid Baghdadi a scholar and Sufi of repute, knew him very well. One day as they met, Junaid Baghdadi requested him to give him some counsel and admonition. "You do not need any advice. You are a well known scholar," Bahlool said. But Junaid Baghdadi insisted. Bahlool gave in and said: "Well, I shall ask you three questions. If you answer them correctly, you will be advised." And then he proceeded to ask: "Do you know how to talk?" "Do you know how to eat?" "Do you know how to sleep?"

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Junaid Baghdadi found these simple. He said: "I know how to talk. I talk with a low voice, politely and to the point, so that the listeners are not at all offended. I eat after having washed my hands, say Bismillah before I commence, and chew the food properly. When I finish, I thank Allah (SWT). Before I go to sleep, I do my Wudu (Ablution) and retire to a clean bed. Then I bear witness to my faith and sleep." Bahlool stood up and started walking away. He said: "I thought you were quite learned. You do not know the most elementary things of Islam." But Junaid Baghdadi would not let him go. "Please guide me," he enjoined. "Well," Bahlool said, "It is no use talking softly if it is a lie, remembering Allah (SWT) before eating has no meaning if the food you eat is forbidden or usurped or that the food has been bought from the money of an orphan, a widow or a fellowman. And what is the use of sleeping with Wudu (Ablution) and all the recitations if your heart is full of malice, jealousy and enmity towards your brother in faith? He who sleeps with a clean heart sleeps a religious man. Do you understand? These are the principles. The rest are all secondary virtues."

42- Bahlool sells Paradise to Zubaydah
One day Bahlool was sitting at the corner of the river, and he was making some flower beds like the children were. Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid Rashid's wife Zubaydah happened to cross by. When she came near Bahlool, she asked, "Bahlool! What are you doing?" Bahlool answered, "Making Paradise." "Do you sell the Paradise you have to me?" "Yes, I sell them." "For how many dinars?" "For 100 dinars." Since Zubaydah wanted to help Bahlool in any way she could, she immediately ordered her servant to give Bahlool 100 dinars, which he did. Bahlool said, "You don't want a receipt?"

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"Write it and bring it." Saying this, Zubaydah went her way. Bahlool distributed that money among the poor. In a dream that night, Zubaydah saw a big Garden, the like of which she had never seen when awake. All of its houses and palaces were seven stories high and made of colored jewels and decorated with great style. The rivers were flowing and beside them flowers were blooming. Very beautiful trees were planted; servants (boys and girls) were all present and ready to be of service. Zubaydah was given the receipt, written in gold ink, and was told that this is the Garden that she had bought from Bahlool. When she awoke, Zubaydah was very happy and told Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid about her dream. As soon as it was morning, Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid sent someone to bring Bahlool. When Bohlool came, Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid said, "I want you to take 100 dinars from me and sell me one of your Gardens, like the one you gave Zubaydah." Bahlool gave a loud laugh and said, "Zubaydah bought it without seeing (the reward), but you heard and so want to buy it, but regretfully, I won't sell it to you."

43- Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) and Old Woman
An old woman came to our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) and said: "O Messenger of Allah, pray to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) that I will enter Paradise." Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) said jokingly, "O Mother of so-and-so, no old women will enter Paradise." The old woman went away crying, after hearing from Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW). Then Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) sent one of his companions to tell her that, she will enter Paradise by becoming a young lady, because the Paradise is for only young people. Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) said: "Do not laugh too much, for laughing too much deadens the heart." At another place, Holy

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Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) said: "If you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much."

44- More Generous than Hatim Tai
Hatim Tai was questioned: "Have you come across any one more generous than yourself?" Hatim Tai replied: "Yes, I have" Hatim Tai was asked: "Where?" Hatim Tai said: I had been traveling in the desert when I came across a tent. Inside it there was an old lady while behind the tent a goat lay tied. When the old lady saw me she approached me and held the reins of my horse so that I could dismount. A little later, her son arrived and was immensely pleased to have me as their guest. The old lady said to him: "Commence the preparations to entertain our guest. Go and slaughter the goat and prepare some food." The son said: "First I shall go and collect some firewood," but the old lady said: "Going to the desert and bringing the firewood shall consume a lot of time due to which our guest would have to remain hungry for long, and this would be contrary to social etiquette." So the son, breaking the only two lances that he possessed, slaughtered the goat, prepared the food and presented it before me. When I investigated about their condition, I realized that the goat had been their only possession and despite this, they had slaughtered it for me. I said to the old lady: "Do you recognize me?" When she replied in the negative, I said: "I am Hatim Tai. You must come with me to my tribe so that I can entertain you and shower you with gifts and presents!" The old lady said: "Neither do we seek any reward from our guests nor do we sell bread for money, and she refused to accept anything from me." Witnessing this generosity, I realized that they were far more generous and munificent than me.

45- Three Persons in a Cave
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) has related: "Three persons from the tribe of Bani Israel got together and started out on a journey. On the way, clouds gathered above them and it started to pour with rain and so they sought shelter in a nearby cave.

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Suddenly, a large boulder slipped and blocked the entrance to the cave, trapping the three inside and transforming the day into a dark night for them. They had no other alternative except to turn to Allah (SWT) for help. "Let us use our sincere deeds as a means to obtain deliverance from this predicament," suggested one of them. All the others agreed with the suggestion. One of them said, "O' Lord! You are aware that I have an extremely attractive cousin and that I was infatuated and obsessed with her. One day, finding her alone, I took hold of her and wanted to satisfy my carnal desires, when she spoke out to me saying: O' My cousin! Fear Allah (SWT) and do not harm my chastity. Hearing this, I crushed my lustful tendencies and decided against the evil act. O' Lord! If that deed of mine had been out of absolute sincerity and only for the purpose of acquiring Your pleasure, deliver us from grief and perdition." Suddenly they witnessed that the huge boulder had moved away a little, faintly brightening up the interior of the cave. The second person spoke out, "O' Lord! You know that I had a father and a mother, so old that their bodies had bent over due to their excessive age, and that I used to tend to them regularly. One night, having brought them their food, I observed that both of them were asleep. I passed the entire night near them, the food in hand, without waking them up for fear of disturbing them. O' Lord! If this deed of mine had been only for the sake of Your pleasure and happiness, open up a way for us and grant us salvation." As he completed his speech, the group noticed that the boulder had moved aside a little more. The third person supplicated, "O' Knower of every hidden and manifest! You know Yourself that I had a worker who used to work for me. When his term had reached its termination, I handed over to him his wages, but he was not pleased and desired more and, in a state of dissatisfaction and displeasure, he went away. I used his wage to purchase a goat, which I looked after separately and very soon I had a flock in my possession. After a period of time, the worker again approached me for his wage and I pointed towards the flock of sheep. Initially, he thought I was ridiculing him, but later, realizing my seriousness, took the entire flock and left. O'

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Lord! If this act had been prompted by sincerity and had only been for Your pleasure, deliver us from this quandary." At this point the entire boulder moved aside from the mouth of the cave and all three emerged from it, joyous and ecstatic, and continued their journey.

46- Never Give Up
A man woke up early in order to pray the Fajr (Morning) prayer in the Masjid (Mosque). He got dressed, made his Wudhu (ablution) and was on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, the man fell and his clothes got dirty. He got up, brushed himself off, and headed back home. At home, he changed his clothes, made his ablution, and was, again, on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, he fell again and at the same spot! He, again, got up, brushed himself off and headed home. At home he, once again, changed his clothes, made his ablution and was on his way to the Masjid. On his way to the Masjid, he met a man holding a lamp. He asked the man of his identity and the man replied "I saw you fall twice on your way to the Masjid, so I brought a lamp so I can light your way." The first man thanked him profoundly and the two were on their way to the Masjid. Once at the Masjid, the first man asked the man with the lamp to come in and pray Fajr with him. The second man refused. The first man asked him a couple more times and, again, the answer was the same. The first man asked him why he did not wish to come in and pray. The man replied "I am Shaitan (Satan)." The man was shocked at this reply. Shaitan (Satan) went on to explain, "I saw you on your way to the Masjid and it was I who made you fall. When you went home, cleaned yourself and went back on your way to the Masjid, Allah (SWT) forgave all of your sins. I made you fall a second time, and even that did not encourage you to stay home, but rather, you went back on your way to the Masjid. Because of that, Allah (SWT) forgave all the sins of the people of your household. I was afraid if I made you fall one more time,

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then Allah (SWT) will forgive the sins of the people of your village, so I made sure that you reached the Masjid safely." Moral: Do not let Shaitan (Satan) benefit from his actions. Do not put off a good that you intended to do as you never know how much reward you might receive from the hardships you encounter while trying to achieve that good.

47- Winners Never Quit
One day I decided to quit...I quit my job, my relationship, my Spirituality...I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. God, I said. Can you give me one good reason not to quit His answer surprised me... Look around, God said. Do you see the fern and the bamboo? Yes, I replied. When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. God said, in the third year there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In year four, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. I would not quit. God said, and then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant...But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle. God said to me, did you know, my creation, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots. I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.

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Don't compare yourself to others. God said, the bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful. Your time will come, God said to me. You will rise high. I left the forest and bring back this story. I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you. God will never give up on you! Moral: In life never lose hope and never give up or quit in life and Success will come to you later in life.

48- Power of Prayer
Muniba, a young Muslim university student, was home for the summer. She had gone to visit some sisters one evening and the time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year. Muniba ended up staying longer than she had planned. Evening came and Muniba had to walk home alone, but she wasn't afraid because it was a small town and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the tall elm trees, Muniba asked "Allah (SWT)" to keep her safe from harm and danger. When she reached the alley, which was a short cut to her house, Muniba decided to take it. However, halfway down the alley, Muniba noticed a man standing at the end, as though he was waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for "Allah's (SWT)" protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her; she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely. The following day, Muniba read in the paper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley, just twenty minutes after she had been there. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep. Thanking Allah (SWT) for her safety and to help this young woman, Muniba decided to go to the police station. She felt she could recognize the man, so she told

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them her story. The police asked her if she would be willing to look at a line up to see if she could identify him. Muniba agreed and immediately pointed out the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed. The officer thanked Muniba for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her, she asked if they would ask the man one question. Muniba was curious as to why he had not attacked her. When the policeman asked him he answered, "Because she was not alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her."

49- Companion of Prophet Musa (A.S) in Paradise
Once, while conversing with Almighty Allah (SWT), Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) requested: "O' Lord! I desire to meet the person, who is to be my companion in Paradise." Jibril (Gabriel) descended and informed Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) that his companion was to be a butcher who lived in a certain place. Prophet Musa / Moses (pbuh) set out in search of him and arrived at his shop, when he noticed a youth, resembling a night watchman, busy selling meat. When night fell, the youth took some meat and proceeded towards his house. Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) followed him till they reached there. Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) approached the youth and said, "Would you not like to have a guest?" The youth willingly agreed and took Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) inside. Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) watched the youth preparing some food. When he had finished, he brought down a large basket from the upper storey. Bringing out an old and wizened woman from inside it, he washed her and then proceeded to feed her with his own hands. When the youth was about to carry the basket back to its original place, Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) noticed the old woman's lips move as she mumbled something incomprehensible.

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The youth then brought food for Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) and both of them ate their dinner. Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) inquired, "What is your relation with this old woman?" The youth replied, "She is my mother and since my financial state does not allow me to purchase a slave-girl for her, I myself strive to serve and look after her." Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) questioned further, "What did your mother mumble before you took her upstairs?" The youth responded, "Whenever I wash her and feed her, my mother prays: May Allah (SWT) forgive you and place you in the company and in the rank of Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) in Paradise." Hearing this, Prophet Musa / Moses (A.S) said, "O' Youth! I give you glad tidings; Allah (SWT) has accepted your mother's prayers and Jibril (Gabriel) has informed me that you shall be my companion in Paradise!"

50- The Boy and the Apple tree
A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples, and took a nap under the shadow. He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him. Time went by, the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree every day. One day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad. "Come and play with me", the tree asked the boy. "I am no longer a kid, I do not play around trees any more" the boy replied. "I want toys. I need money to buy them." "Sorry, but I do not have money, but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money." The boy was so excited. He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. The boy never came back after he picked the apples. The tree was sad.

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One day, the boy who now turned into a man returned and the tree was excited. "Come and play with me" the tree said. "I do not have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me?" "Sorry, but I do not have any house. But you can chop off my branches to build your house". So the man cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the man never came back since then. The tree was again lonely and sad. One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted. "Come and play with me!" the tree said. "I am getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?" said the man. "Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy." So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for a long time. Finally, the man returned after many years. "Sorry, my boy. But I do not have anything for you anymore. No more apples for you", the tree said. "No problem, I do not have any teeth to bite" the man replied. "No more trunk for you to climb on". "I am too old for that now" the man said. "I really cannot give you anything, the only thing left is my dying roots," the tree said with tears. "I do not need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years," the man replied. "Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest, come sit down with me and rest." The man sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.

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This is a story (Parents Sacrifice for Children) of everyone. The tree is like our parents. When we were young, we loved to play with our Mum and Dad. When we grow up, we leave them; only come to them when we need something or when we are in trouble. No matter what, parents will always be there and give everything they could just to make you happy. You may think the boy is cruel to the tree, but that is how all of us treat our parents. We take them for granted; we don't appreciate all they do for us, until it's too late. May Allah forgives us of our shortcomings and may He guide us.

51- Flower and Pearl
One day, a brilliantly beautiful and fragrant flower with attractive colors met a pearl that lives far in the bottom of the sea and has none of these characteristics. Both got acquainted with each other. The flower said: "Our family is large; roses and daisies are members of the family. And there are many other species that are various and countless; each has a distinctive scent, appearance etc." Suddenly, a tinge of distress appeared on the flower. "Nothing accounts for sorrow in your talk; so why are depressed?" The pearl asked. "Human beings deal with us carelessly; they slight us. They don't grow us for our sake but to get pleasure from our fragrance and beautiful appearance. They throw us on the street or in the garbage can after we are dispossessed of the most valuable properties; brilliance and fragrance." The flower sighed. And then the flower said to the pearl: "Speak to me about your life! How do you live? How do you feel it? You are buried in the bottom of the sea." The pearl answered: "Although I have none of your distinctive colors and sweet scents, humans think I am precious. They do the impossible to procure me. They go on long journeys,

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dive deep in the seas searching for me. You might be astounded to know that the further I lay, the more beautiful and brilliant I become. That's what upraises my value in their thought. I live in a thick shell isolated in the dark seas. However, I'm happy and proud to be in a safe zone far from wanton and mischievous hands and still the humans consider me highly valuable." Do you know what the flower and the pearl symbolize? Think, Think, Think... You will find that: The flower is the unveiled woman (who shows her charms) and the pearl is the veiled woman (who conceals her beauties).

52- True skill
The yogi Raman was a true master of the art of archery. One morning, he invited his favourite disciple to watch a display of his skill. The disciple had seen this more than a hundred times before, but he nevertheless obeyed his teacher. They went into the wood beside the monastery and when they reached a magnificent oak tree, Raman took a flower which he had tucked in his collar and placed it on one of the branches. He then opened his bag and took out three objects: his splendid bow made of precious wood, an arrow and a white handkerchief embroidered with lilacs. The yogi positioned himself one hundred paces from the spot where he had placed the flower. Facing his target, he asked his disciple to blindfold him with the embroidered handkerchief. The disciple did as his teacher requested. 'How often have you seen me practise the noble and ancient sport of archery?' Raman asked him. 'Every day,' replied his disciple. 'And you have always managed to hit the rose from three hundred paces away.'

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With his eyes covered by the handkerchief, the yogi Raman placed his feet firmly on the ground, drew back the bowstring with all his might - aiming at the rose placed on one of the branches of the oak tree - and then released the arrow. The arrow whistled through the air, but it did not even hit the tree, missing the target by an embarrassingly wide margin. 'Did I hit it?' said Raman, removing the handkerchief from his eyes. 'No, you missed completely,' replied the disciple. 'I thought you were going to demonstrate to me the power of thought and your ability to perform magic' 'I have just taught you the most important lesson about the power of thought,' replied Raman. 'When you want something, concentrate only on that: no one will ever hit a target they cannot see!

53- Paying the right price
A famous scholar had invited his friends to supper and was cooking a succulent piece of meat for them. Suddenly, he realised that he had run out of salt. So scholar called to his son. 'Go to the village and buy some salt, but pay a fair price for it: neither too much nor too little.' His son was surprised. 'I can understand why I shouldn't pay too much for it, Father, but if I can bargain them down, why not save a bit of money?' That would be the sensible thing to do in a big city, but it could destroy a small village like ours.' When scholar's guests, who had overheard their conversation, wanted to know why they should not buy salt more cheaply if they could, scholar replied: The only reason a man would sell salt more cheaply than usual would be because he was desperate for money. And anyone who took advantage of that situation would be showing a lack of

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respect for the sweat and struggle of the man who laboured to produce it.' 'But such a small thing couldn't possibly destroy a village.' 'In the beginning, there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking that it was only very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.'

54- A story by Kahlil Gibran
I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book. His behaviour and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates. I sat down beside him and asked: 'What are you doing here?' He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied: 'It's very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father. My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man. My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself. And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher - they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow. None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror. So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself

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55- A search frustrated
The mystic Hafiz began his dedication to the spiritual life when he was sixteen. At first, he used to weep bitterly because, despite his devotion to the work at the temple, he seemed to be getting nowhere. Later, when he was famous, a friend asked him about that period of his life. Hafiz replied: 'If a thief were to spend the night in a room with only a thin wall separating him from another room full of gold, do you think he would be able to sleep? He would lie awake all night, scheming. When I was young, I desired God as ardently as a thief would desire that gold, and it took me a long time to learn that the greatest virtue in the spiritual search is patience.'

56- Don't use hurtful or insulting words
A woman one day said something that hurt (insult) her best friend. She regretted it immediately, and would have done anything to have taken the words back. But they were said, impulsively, in a moment of thoughtlessness, and as close as she and her friend were, she didn't consider the effects of her words beforehand. In her effort to undo what she had done, she went to an older, wiser woman in the village. Explaining her situation, and asked for advice. The older woman listened patiently in an effort to determine just how sincere the younger woman was, how far she was willing to go to correct the situation. The wise women said, "There are two things needed to do to make amends. The first of the two is extremely difficult. Tonight, take your best feather pillows, and open a small hole in each one. Then, before the sun rises, you must put a single feather on the doorstep of each house in town. When you are through, come back to me. If you've done the first thing completely, I'll tell you the second." The young woman hurried home to prepare for her chore. All night long she laboured alone in the cold. She went from doorstep to doorstep, taking care not to overlook a single house. Her fingers were frozen, the wind was so sharp it caused her eyes to water,

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but she ran on, through the darkened streets, thankful there was something she could do to put things back the way they once were. Just as the sun rose, she returned to the older woman. She was exhausted, but relieved that her efforts would be rewarded. "My pillows are empty. I placed a feather on the doorstep of each home." Now, said the wise woman, "Go back and refill your pillows. Then everything will be as it was before." The young woman was stunned. "You know that's impossible! The wind blew away each feather as fast as I placed them on the doorsteps! You didn't say I had to get them back! If this is the second requirement, then things will never be the same." "That's true", said the older woman. "Never forget. Each of your words is like a feather in the wind. Once spoken, no amount of effort, regardless how heartfelt or sincere, can ever return them to your mouth. Choose your words well, and guard them most of all in the presence of those you love, because remember one kind word can warm three winter months." "OH Muslims! People Will Judge Your Islamic Values by Your CONDUCT towards them and NOT By Your Performance of Religious Rituals (Salaah, Fasting, Hajj etc)"

57- The Cracked Pot
Once upon a time there was a water-bearer in India who had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pot full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and

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miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don't get full value from your efforts, " the pot said. The water-bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and warding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

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58- Listen to the Whisper
A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car shouting, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?" The young boy was apologetic. "Please mister... please, I'm sorry... I didn't know what else to do," he pleaded. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..." With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up." Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me." Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handi-capped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay. "Thank you and May God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger. Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He

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kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention! Allah (S.W.T.) whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us. It's our choice.

59- Who wins, Good or Evil?
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two (2) wolves inside us all." One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

60- A Merchant and his Donkey
One beautiful spring morning, a merchant loaded his donkey with bags of salt to go to the market in order to sell them. The merchant and his donkey were walking along together. They had not walked far when they reached a river on the road. Unfortunately, the donkey slipped and fell into the river and noticed that the bags of salt loaded on his back became lighter. There was nothing the merchant could do, except return home where he loaded his donkey with more bags of salt. As they reached the slippery riverbank, now deliberately, the donkey fell into the river and wasted all the bags of salt on its back again.

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The merchant quickly discovered the donkey's trick. He then returned home again but re-loaded his donkey with bags of sponges. The foolish, tricky donkey again set on its way. On reaching the river he again fell into the water. But instead of the load becoming lighter, it became heavier. The merchant laughed at him and said: "You foolish donkey, your trick had been discovered, you should know that those who are too clever sometimes over reach themselves."

61- Stranger in the Garden
Once upon a time there was a man who had a big garden. He had planted many fruit trees and cared for them till they bear fruits. Now he wanted to pick up the fruits and sell them to make money for his family. One fine day while picking fruits with his son, the man saw a stranger sitting on the branch of a tree and picking the fruits. This man became angry and shouted, "Hey you! What are you doing on my tree? Aren't you ashamed of stealing fruits in the day time?" The stranger on the branch just looked at the gardener but didn't reply, and continued picking the fruits. The gardener was very angry and shouted again, "For a whole year I have taken care of these trees, you have no right to take the fruits without my permission so come down at once!" The stranger on the tree answered, "Why should I come down? This is the garden of God and I am the servant of God, so I have the right to pick these fruits and you should not interfere between the work of God and his servant." The gardener was very surprised at this answer and thought of a plan. He called his son and said, "Go bring a rope and get this man down from the tree." His son brought the rope and the gardener ordered him to tie the stranger to the tree. The gardener then took a stick and started to beat the stranger. The stranger began to scream. "Why are you beating me? You have no right to do this." The gardener paid no attention and continued beating him. The stranger screamed, "Don't you fear God, you are beating an innocent man? The gardener answered, "Why should I fear? This

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wood in my hand belongs to God and I am too the servant of God, so I have nothing to fear, and you shouldn't interfere with the work of God and his servant." The stranger hesitated and then spoke, "Wait don't beat me, I am sorry for taking the fruits. This is your garden and I should seek your permission before taking the fruits. So, please forgive and set me free." The gardener smiled and said, "Since you have now realized your mistake, I will forgive you but remember that God has given all his servants brains so every person's deeds are in his own hands." Then the gardener untied him and let him go free.

62- They are not in need of your Presents!
A'bdullah Ibn Masud had been one of the close companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and had developed into being a distinguished and zealous personality of Islam. During the caliphate of Hazrat U'thman, he suffered a bout of illness, which eventually resulted in his death. Hazrat U'thman once came to pay him a visit and finding him distressed, asked, what distresses you so greatly? My sins, he answered. Tell me your wish so that I can fulfill it for you. I desire God mercy, replied Ibn Masud. The caliph asked, if you permit, I could call for the doctor. It is the Doctor who has made me sick, replied Ibn Masud. If you want, I could present you with gifts from the Public Treasury. Ibn Masud retorted, at the time when I was in need, you did not give me a thing and now that I am not in need, you wish to shower me with presents! Hazrat U'thman insisted, Let these gifts be for your daughters then.

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They are not in need of your presents, Ibn Masud replied tersely. I have instructed them to recite the chapter Al-Waaqiah every night, for surely, I have heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) say: One, who recites the chapter Al-Waaqiah every night, shall never be afflicted by poverty. Imam Sadiq (R.A.) said: "The honour of a Mu'min lies in night worship and his esteem lies in his being independent of the people".

63- Be thankful to God
Arthur Ashe, the legendary Wimbledon player was dying of AIDS. From world over, he received letters from his fans, one of which conveyed: "Why does GOD have to select you for such a bad disease"? To this Arthur Ashe replied: The world over 5 Crore children start playing tennis, 50 Lakh learn to play tennis, 5 Lakh learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, When I was holding a cup I never asked GOD "Why me?" And today in pain I should not be asking GOD "Why me?" Be thankful to GOD for 98% of good things in life.

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64- When the wind blows
Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the ocean, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farmhand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work. Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, "No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows." Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew. When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.

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We with faith secure ourselves against the storms of life by putting our trust in the God, Our Prophet and his ahlul bayt, We don't need to understand, and we just need to hold His hand to be secure in the midst of the storms. Sleep well!

65- A Mother's Sacrifice
My mom only had one eye. I hated her... she was such an embarrassment. My mom ran a small shop at a flea market. She collected little weeds and such to sell... anything for the money we needed she was such an embarrassment. There was this one day during elementary school. I remember that it was field day, and my mom came. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school..."Your mom only has one eye?!" and they taunted me. I wished that my mom would just disappear from this world so I said to my mom, "Mom, why don't you have the other eye?! You're only going to make me a laughingstock. Why don't you just die?" My mom did not respond. I guess I felt a little bad, but at the same time, it felt good to think that I had said what I'd wanted to say all this time. Maybe it was because my mom hadn't punished me, but I didn't think that I had hurt her feelings very badly. That night...I woke up, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. My mom was crying there, so quietly, as if she was afraid that she might wake me. I took a look at her, and then turned away. Because of the thing I had said to her earlier, there was something pinching at me in the corner of my heart. Even so, I hated my mother who was crying out of her one eye. So I told myself that I would grow up and become successful, because I hated my one-eyed mom and our desperate poverty. Then I studied really hard. I left my mother and came to Riyadh and studied, and got accepted in the Riyadh University with all the confidence I had. Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. Then I had kids, too. Now I'm living happily as a successful man. I like it here because it's a place that doesn't

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remind me of my mom. This happiness was getting bigger and bigger, when someone unexpected came to see me "What?! Who's this?!" ...It was my mother...Still with her one eye. It felt as if the whole sky was falling apart on me. My little girl ran away, scared of my mom's eye. And I asked her, "Who are you? I don't know you!!!" as if I tried to make that real. I screamed at her "How dare you come to my house and scare my daughter! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!" And to this, my mother quietly answered, "oh, I'm so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address," and she disappeared. Thank good ness... she doesn't recognize me. I was quite relieved. I told myself that I wasn't going to care, or think about this for the rest of my life. Then a wave of relief came upon me...one day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. I lied to my wife saying that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went down to the old shack, that I used to call a house...just out of curiosity there, I found my mother fallen on the cold ground. But I did not shed a single tear. She had a piece of paper in her hand.... it was a letter to me. She wrote: My son... I think my life has been long enough now. And... I won't visit Seoul anymore... but would it be too much to ask if I wanted you to come visit me once in a while? I miss you so much. And I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I decided not to go to the school.... For you... I'm sorry that I only have one eye, and I was an embarrassment for you. You see, when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with only one eye... so I gave you mine...I was so proud of my son that was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye. I was never upset at you for anything you did. The couple times that you were angry with me. I thought to myself, 'it's because he loves me.' I miss the times when you were still young around me. I miss you so much. I love you. You mean the world to me. My world shattered!!!

66- Why Prayers are not answered?

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One day a Sufi saint Ibrahim Adham was passing through the bazaar in the city of Basra when he was surrounded by people who said to him: "O Ibrahim! Allah (SWT) has stated in the Noble Qur'an that: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)"; we call upon Allah (SWT) but our prayer is not answered. Ibrahim Adham said: "The reason is because your hearts have died due to ten things so that your supplications have no sincerity as your hearts are not pure and free of contamination." They asked: "What are those ten issues?" Ibrahim Adham replied: 01: First and foremost you have accepted Allah (SWT) but have not repaid His claim. 02: You have recited the Noble Qur'an but have not practiced it. 03: You profess your love of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw), but are opposed to his Household (as). 04: You claim to have enmity with Shaitan (Satan) but in practice you are in agreement with him. 05: You say that you are fond of heaven but in order to enter heaven you have not done anything. 06: You said that you were afraid of the Hell Fire, but have thrown your bodies in to it. 07: You were busy slandering and criticizing people but were ignorant of your own shortcomings and faults. 08: You said that you didn't like the world but are greedily following it. 09: You confess to the reality of death but don't prepare yourself for it. 10: You have buried the dead but haven't taken a lesson or guidance from it.

Herald Citi School

70

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