Archive for December, 2009

Dear Compatriots,

It gives us immense pleasure and infests in us, immense pride – to announce the winners of Iqbal’s Day Poetry Competition. Winners would get Rs. 10,000 each and runners up will be given a collection of Iqbal’s Poetry.

Category English – 1st Prize – Farah Scheikh ” Words of our tears ” – She writes: ” But We’ll show to the world that Pakistanis never kneel “ – Read her complete piece at: http://pya.org.pk/inquilaab/iqbals-day-poetry-competition-09/winner-of-category-english-farah-scheik/

Category English – Runner up – Arifa Batool ” Crescent Nation’s Adversity Times ” – Her short poem addresses the current wave of terrorism and she delivers a wonderful message of hope: ” Five ants are seen stuck under, the famous American dime. Pathan, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi – each ant a paradigm “. Read her piece at: http://pya.org.pk/inquilaab/iqbals-day-poetry-competition-09/runner-up-english-arifa-batool/

Category Urdu – 1st Prize – Asmarah Khan with her ” Utho Loogon ” – ” Tumharay khoon ki mae peenay ku hai ab pher say yeh dharti ; Tumharay Ishq ki lazzat say isku chor huna hai “http://pya.org.pk/inquilaab/iqbals-day-poetry-competition-09/winner-of-idpc-09-urdu-asmarah-khan/

Category Urdu – Runner up – Arsalan Abbas with his ” Yeh boo hai ju baarood e inquilaab may hai “http://pya.org.pk/inquilaab/iqbals-day-poetry-competition-09/runner-up-urdu-arsalan-abbas/

Last but not the least, may first dawn of new year bring the much needed bliss in our land of pure. May the sun-rise for the first time in 2010 tomorrow with a message of hope and determination, may it inculcate the spirit of “revival ” – May the blood soaked streets of Pakistan echo of “hope” – May Lord give us the strength and courage to hoist the flag of Pakistan at newer heights. May the flag always sour high and keep melting our hearts and guiding our souls.

Lets spare a moment in our busy lives for the prayer of hope. ” Dil say ju baat nikalti hai asar rakhti hai, par nahi taqat e parvaaz magar rakhti hai! “


Pakistan Youth Alliance

Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pakistan-Youth-Alliance/125954437061

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Mystifying is the turn of time, indeed. The same Allama Iqbal who was given fatwa’s on, by his contemporary “Mullahs” is now quoted by well-reputed Mullahs of the same school of thought.

The same Bulleh Shah, who had been refused by the mullahs to be buried after his death in the community graveyard because of his unorthodox views, today enjoys worldwide reverence and is quoted by contemporary mullahs. The tomb of Bulleh Shah in Qasur and the area around it is today the only place free of collective refuse, and the privileged of the city pay handsomely to be buried in the proximity of the man they had once rejected.

Maulana Rum (aka Rumi), who was condemned as a kaafir, is not only the top selling poet across the globe but is held in high reverence by people of all religions.

I have written on this topic previously, the verses of Bulleh Shah force me to write again. Every word that was misinterpreted by mullahs, can serve a cure for all the ills we are facing in our times.

Chal Way Bullehya Chal O’thay Chaliyay
Jithay Saaray Annay
Na Koi Saadee Zaat PichHanay
Tay Na Koi Saanu Mannay
O’ Bulleh Shah let’s go there
Where everyone is blind
Where no one recognizes our caste (or race, or family name)
And where no one believes in us
Masjid Dha Day, Mandir Dha Day
Dha Day Jo Kujh Disda
Par Kissay Da Dil Na Dhawee(n)
Rub Dilaa(n) Wich Wasda
Tear down the Mosque, tear down the temple
Tear down every thing in sight
But don’t (tear down) break anyone’s heart
Because God lives there
Hindu na nahi musalmaan,
Baheeye tiranjan taj abhimaan.
Sunni na naheeN ham sheeya
Sulha kuhl ka maarag leeya.
Neither Hindu nor Muslim,
Sacrificing pride, let us sit together.
Neither Sunni nor Shia,
Let us walk the road of peace.


Props to Junoon, Rabbi, Abida Parveen, Saeen Zahoor and other musicians of our times for helping the new generation in rediscovering the message of Bulleh Shah. Junoon started the trend and was labeled as “Sufi Rock Band” – The message that pierced my heart was through them, when I was 12.

This first aspect of Bulleh Shah’s poetry and philosophy that strikes upfront is his bold and almost arrogant critique of the religious orthodoxy of his day; specifically the Islamic religious orthodoxy. His poetry is filled with direct attacks on anyone claiming control over religion.

Mulla tay mashaalchi dohaan ikko chit
Loukan karday chananan, aap anhairae vich
Mullah and the torch-bearer, both from the same flock
Trying to give light to others; themselves in the dark 


Bulleh Shah’s poetry portray him as a humanist. Someone providing solutions to the sociological/political/cultural problems of the world around him, describing the turbulence his homeland of Punjab is passing through, while simultaneously searching for God. His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual journey through the four stages of Sufism – Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union). He starts from the rules as laid down by Islam, and eventually ends up at a point where he accepts the existence of God, everywhere, with no discrimination between different religions, finally becoming one with God.

Pointing at someone else’s faith would only unveil how weak your faith is. Picking up guns, instead of pens to enforce your way of thinking would never have an effect that the likes of Bulleh Shah had through his soul-searching and heart-melting poetry.

Islam was never spread by sword. It wouldn’t be the fastest growing religion on earth if that were the case. Islam is spread by the message of love and by deeds, not the way Taliban “ENFORCE” it.

Lord Almighty Himself says:

There shall be no compulsion in religion – [2:256]

I cannot help pasting the verse below:

Bulleh-a aashiq hoyiyon Rabb da, Hoai Malamat Lakh
Tenon Kafir Kafir aakhdey, toon aaho aaho aakh

O Bulleh, just love your God and ignore the chidings
When they say you are an infidel, say “yes I am one”


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Teray wajud key ahsas ku aamm kardoun ga
Kitab-e-zeest ka har warq aamm kardoun ga
Zau-e-aftaab-e-hiraas kab talaq asar dikhae ge
Abr-e-imaan ki chaon say shamm kardoun ga

Likhta rahoun ga wuhi ju tu dikhlae ga
Har lafz, har nuqta teray naam kardoun ga
Teray ishq-o-chahat key ghum key siva
Har ghum teray darbar may neelaam kardoun ga

Aur wuh ju sitar ku bait-e-shaitaan kehtay hain
Aaghaaz ku hi apna anjaam kehtay hain
Unki bay rung-o-sur mahfil-e-jehl mayn
Naghma-e-tauheed ka ahtemaam kadoun ga
Meray khuda may kuch aisa kaam kardoun ga
Key teri makhlouq may saqi ku amm kardoun ga

Teray wajud key ahsas ku aamm kardoun ga

– Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi

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Truly, Mullah Sufi is an intriguing name. Intriguing because history of Islam is full battles between Sufis and Mullahs, both critical of each other to every extent possible One would like to meet Mullah Sufi of the Swat-fame and inquire as to what are his thoughts regarding this undeniable clash between mystical and orthodox Islam. He might give a fatwa therein declaring Sufis as heretics and non-Muslims or He might claim to be a bridge between the two extremes. The latter seems very ambitious after his recent comments on who-so-ever disagrees with the system he proposes, so one would stick to the first assumption till of course, further clarified or one is publicly hanged in Jinnah Super market for defaming and degrading the Holy Amir that is if his Talibs manage to Talibanize Islamabad. [this article was written in 2009 when Taliban threatened to take over Islamabad]

In this temporary world, opposites play out their part in light and darkness, in pain and laughter, in hate and love, in evil and good, in difficulty and ease, and in midst of it we have been asked to establish the good measure i.e “ mizan “. Ever since the first human was crafted out of clay, God had injected the skill to discern between two extremes, and asked His “Vicegerents” to maintain balance.

There has been a bombardment of articles on national and international level debating on how Sufism can be used as an anti-dote to the venom of Talibanization. The debate though old, now has a new dimension and is receiving unprecedented attention because extremism has never threatened Islam they way it does now.

Sufism is not a sect, but a mystical side of Islam – a personal, experiential and spiritual approach to Allah, which contrasts with the rigid, doctrinal approach of fundamentalist Islam popular in Taliban, and its offshoots. Sufis – commonly known by their spiritual poetry, prose, miracles and Sufi orders have had reservations against the segment of Muslim community claiming to be caretakers of Islam for them Mullahs deem whatever necessary to impose their version of Islam. Usually referred to as “Mullah” in their poetry, which symbolizes a bearded – greedy for wealth and fame- clergy having studied Quran and Sunnah in its literal form, without insight and understanding the inner meaning.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal who was ardent follower of Rumi, perhaps the greatest Sufi poet of all time, openly criticized the self-proclaimed guides of the religion. However, it is satirical that mullahs of the same breed quote verses of Iqbal to support their pose, yet his poetry is filled with open disapproval of them. Here he bashes out at Mullahs in his famous “The Mullah and the Paradise”

When in a vision I saw
A mullah ordered to paradise,
Unable to hold my tongue
I said something in this wise:

‘Pardon me, O Lord
For these bold words of mine,
But he will not be pleased
With houris and the wine

He loves to dispute and fight
And furiously wrangle,
But paradise is no place
For this kind of jangle

His task is to dis-unite
And leave people in the lurch,
But paradise has no temple
No mosque and no church

It is also interesting to note here, that apparently, Iqbal’s acclaimed “Reformation of Religious Thought in Islam” is banned in Saudi Arabia. [KSA propagates Wahhabism]

Bulleh Shah, the famous sufi from Punjab was quite innovative in his scathing about them and here, compares and un-enlightened “Mullah” with a dog.

[He] Read a lot and became a scholar
But [he] never read himself
[He] enters into the temple & mosque
But [he] never entered into his own heart
He fights with the devil every day for nothing
He never wrestled with his own ego
Bulleh Shah, he grabs for heavenly flying things
But doesn’t grasp the one who’s sitting at home
Religious scholars stay awake at night
But dogs stay awake at night, higher than you
They don’t cease from barking at night
Then they go sleep in yards, higher than you
They [dogs] don’t leave the beloved’s doorstep
Even if they’re beaten hundreds of times, higher than you
Bulleh Shah get up and make up with the beloved
Otherwise dogs will win the contest, better than you

Another famous couplet:

The mullah and the torch-bearer
Hail from the same stock;
They give light to others,
And themselves are in the dark.

Though Sufis only used their words to denounce extremism, from the other end there was a more violent reaction and they were persecuted, denounced, exiled, imprisoned and in some cases even hanged or killed. Most of the times for political benefits when kings feared massive uprising of the public owing to enormous following of Sufis, they preferred to wipe out Sufi leaders but never managed to completely root out Sufism. Sufis always managed to inspire crowds by their deeds, and that is what differentiated them from theologians and jurists. A Famous Sufi was once guilty of breaking air (fart), as a woman visited him for advice. The Sufi was so cautious of making her feel uncomfortable, that he pretended to be deaf not only in front of her but all his remaining life. As neither would she find out, nor would her heart break. There are other countless examples of their humility and height of religious piety, so much so that books of history are full of miracles associated with them.

Mullahs on the other end, claimed to be the final authority what-so-ever on religion. Their interpretations of Quran and Sunnah were more literal, thus making Islamic Law quite extreme. They never matched Sufis in humility and deeds, and wasted more of their time in instigating violence by preaching hatred than love amongst the various segments of society

Islam was spread by practical example, and thus the Sufis played a pivotal role in attracting people to Islam. However, the popular support of Sufis among the common people raised eyebrows in the ranks of clergy as it challenged their authority as caretakers of Islam. The bias between inner and outer understanding of the true way of Islam, aroused clashes between orthodox religious scholars and the Sufis, both claimed to follow the true path, but their understanding differed, and therefore their schools of thought became exclusive. The clashes were often recurring and which symbolized the polarity of the outer law and the inner reality. Because everything is created in pairs, outer perception cannot be perfected without inner reality, and therefore, a dive into inner reality can only transform the outer understanding. Islam also lays importance on “acknowledging with heart” before “acting with the limbs” which underlines the importance of recognizing the truth and reality of faith in the deepest realms of human awareness. After inner-awareness one is asked to articulate the inner faith to rational speech. And the last stage of this process, “acting with the limbs” is the domain of jurists, which cannot be perfected if two steps mentioned above are not perfected.

On needs to understand the essence of Sufism as being the mystical and non-violent tradition which has been present since the inception of Islam. The very word “Sufi” derives from the word “wool/Suuf in Arabic” which represented the coarse woolen clothes worn by Prophet’s (PBHU) companions. One of the earliest peers of Sufi tradtion, Rabia Al Basri was a female who was an exponent true “Love”. On the other hand, the extremist element with-in Islam has been present for centuries and its recently evolved form can be termed as talibanization. One side has always advocated a softer, more liberal and spiritual version of Islam beyond sects, creed, color and even religions. The other side, however, claimed everyone except their followers as heretics and infidels. One side attracted a huge following in not only Muslim but Non Muslim communities (Rumi is the top selling poet in US for years now) because of its tolerant approach to religion as being a personal matter. The other side waged a war against everyone not coherent with their beliefs. The notion of Islam being spread by sword was negated when Sufis entered sub-continent and inspired millions with their humility, piety and spiritual interpretation of Islam, and thus the number of Muslims multiplied and it became the second most popular religion in the region. Pakistan and Sufism share an inseparable and ingrained connection with one another which is still far more popular than the extremist version, having millions of followers and hundreds of shrines of revered saints through out the country. (very recently Urs of a famous Sufi saint attracted 300000 people as compared to Mullah Sufi’s address which had around 3000)

Whilst Sufis preach to see God in everything and everyone, respect other belief systems and try to self-evaluate before preaching, Mullahs tend to enforce their version of Shariah, by hook or crook. The latter aim to establish puritanical form of Caliphate that neither recognizes nor tolerates any other school of thought. They despise democracy, secularism, women’s rights and propagate an extremist mindset more strident and hard lined than any of the known traditions of Islam. However, it should be noted here, that over the years appearance of pseudo-Sufis has considerably maligned the beauty and essence of true Sufism and deviates from Islam in its practices. The dope smoking wanna-be Sufis who get money for spiritually helping someone are even more dangerous than contemporary extremism. These fake Pirs or Guides distort the real Sufism to gain personal benefits.

Often misunderstood for their use of metaphors, Sufis claiming to be drunk in the wine of divine love, don’t cherish anything material or worldly as they long for re-union with their beloved and on the other hand, the militant clergy always found guilty of feeding their curvy bellies and reaping monetary as well as political benefits from their version of “Jihad” which not only includes public butcher of who so ever dares to speak against them, but also burning down schools and snatching every right of women in this modern world in which more than 50 % population comprises of the fairer sex.

The Sufis were always aloof of intrigues, despite of a bigger following and by denying riches and power over the years, they won hearts rather than conquering lands and shedding blood in the name of religion, which in the long run – did more damage than good to Islam on the whole. The famous Sufi of Shiraz, Sheikh Saadi seconds the view:

Dominion of world from end to end
Is worth less than a drop of blood on earth

The recent attack on a Sufi saint’s (Rehman Baba) shrine in Peshawar points at an inevitable battle of ideologies and juxtaposition of an already paradoxical rift between fundamentalism in Islam and Sufism. We would witness the climax, if these Jihadis enter the more populated and more tolerant provinces of Sindh and Punjab, where Sufism has a tremendous following and urs of famous Sufis like Shahbaz Qalandar and Ali Hajveri attract millions. How would the tolerant crowd counter the violent backlash of misinterpreted shariah? Only time will tell.

The same paradox in contemporary times is underlined by Aitezaz Ahsan in “Kal aj aur kal” when he says:

On one side, (Sufis) Sachal and Bahu
On the other side, (Mullahs) clergy and tradition

West, after helping in creating the extremist version of Islam now contemplates to counter it through propagating pseudo-Sufism, which would further deteriorate the state of affairs in the Islamic world. Hence, we Muslims need to be more aware and pro-active, as our society is still in painful transformation and it will still take years for a stable and peaceful Islamic world. We need to denounce extremism in all its forms and manifestations and also, condemn the notions of pseudo Sufism because very soon, we will have to make the choice. On one end is Mullah Sufi declaring everything except his way “Haraam” whilst on the other Maulana Rumi propagates tolerance:

Come, come, who ever you are,
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving,
It doesn’t matter!
Ours is not a caravan of despair,
Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come!

Syed Ali Abbas ZaidI

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Yes, the moments of sheer pindrop silence arrive. In a personal debate or public meeting, such moments leave us speechless. A few incidents are related:

A story is told that one public challenge to Rumi came from a Muslim dignitary, Qonavi, who confronted Rumi before an audience. “You claim to be at one with 72 religious sects,” said Qonavi, “but the Jews cannot agree with the Christians, and the Christians cannot agree with Muslims. If they cannot agree with each other, how could you agree with them all?” To this Rumi answered,

“Yes, you are right, I agree with you too.”

There was pin drop silence after it.

Veer Savarkar once started addressing a public meeting in Hindi at Bangalore.
The crowd started shouting ” Speak in Kannada. We will hear only in kannada.”

Veer Savarkar replied ” Friends, I have spent 14 years of rigorous imprisonment in ill famous Andaman Jail where all freedom fighters were kept in jail. I have learned Bengali from the freedom fighters coming from Bengal, Hindi from those coming from Uttar Pradesh, even Guajarati and Punjabi. Unfortunately there was none from Karnataka from whom I could have learned Kannada.”
…and there was pin drop silence.  

At a time when the US President and other US politicians tend to apologize for their country’s prior actions, here’s a refresher on howsome former US personnel handled negative comments about the United States.

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when Charles DeGaule, the French President, decided to pull out of NATO.
DeGaule said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded “does that include those who are buried here?

DeGaule did not respond.
You could have heard a pin drop.
When in England , at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury
if US plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.
He answered by saying, ‘Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril
to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.’
You could have heard a pin drop.
There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.
During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying ‘Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims.  What does he intended to do, bomb them?’

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: ‘Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency  electrical power to shore facilities; they have three  cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck.  We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?’
You could have heard a pin drop.
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies.
At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.
Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks when a French admiral suddenly complained that,
whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.
He then asked, ‘Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?’

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, ‘Maybe it’s because the Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak German.’
You could have heard a pin drop.
Robert Whiting , an elderly US gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.
At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.
“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked  sarcastically.
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”
The American said, ‘The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”
“Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France !”
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard  look.
Then he quietly explained, ”Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country,
I couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show a passport to.”

 You could have heard a pin drop.

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The ways may vary, but the goal is one. Don’t you see that there are many roads to the Kaaba? For some the road is from Rum, for some from Syria, others come from Persia or China or by sea from India and Yemen. So if you consider the roads, they are beyond counting, with infinite differences. But when you consider the goal they are all in accord with one desire.

The hearts of all are upon the Kaaba. The hearts are one in their longing and love for the Kaaba, and in that there is no room for separation. That love is neither belief nor non-belief, for it has nothing to do with the various roads. Once we arrive, this argument and war and those differences in the roads – this woman saying to that man, “You are false, you are an infidel,” and that man saying the same about her – once we arrive at the Kaaba, we realize that such fighting is over the roads only, and that the goal of all is the same.

For instance, a bowl’s spirit is in love with its maker, and is a slave to those hands that fashion it. Yet some see this bowl and say it should be placed just as it is on the table. Some say the inside of it should be washed first, some say the outside of it must be cleaned. Some say all of it, some say it must never be washed at all. The diversity of opinion comes from the bowl’s many uses, but as to the fact that the bowl certainly had a creator who fashioned it, and that it did not come into existence of itself, on this all agree.

– Extracted from ” Fihi Ma Fihi ” – It is What it is – Discourses of Rumi

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Humor cannot be banned; it is intrinsic to human nature and no matter how “serious” we pretend to be, in the back of our minds, something “humorous” pops up which makes us giggle. As a complete system of thought, Nasrudin pinches us with humor and exists at so many depths that he cannot be killed. He addresses the burning issues of our society, culture, religion and norms and finds a way to tickle our thoughts whilst making us think at the same time.

Nasrudin said that he considered himself upside down in this world, argues one scholar; and from this he infers that the supposed date of Nasrudin’s death, on his ‘tombstone,’ should be read not as 386, but 683.

Another professor feels that the Arabic numerals used would, if truly reversed, look more like the figures 274. He gravely records that a dervish to whom he appealed for aid in this “…merely said, ‘Why not drop a spider in some ink and see what marks he makes in crawling out of it. This should give the correct date or show something.'”

In fact, 386 means 300+80+6. Transposed into Arabic letters, this decodes as SH, W, F, which spells the word ShaWaF: ‘to cause someone to see, to show a thing.’ The dervish’s spider would ‘show’ something, as he himself said.

Mulla Nasruddin – Keeper of Faith In Turkey, where some people allege Nasruddin is buried, there are HUGE locked gates at his grave site. Yet his headstone reads – “Sometimes you do not need a key to get through gates. All you need to do is walk around them as there are no walls.” – “The Sufis” by Idries Shah

Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town

Once, when Mullah Nasruddin was visiting a Western town, he was invited to attend a fashion show. He went, and afterwards he was asked how he liked it. “It’s a complete swindle!” he exclaimed indignantly. “Whatever do you mean?” he was asked. “They show you the women – and then try to sell you the clothes!”

Mulla Nasrudin – All the great rulers of the past had honorific titles

Mulla Nasrudin – A certain conqueror said to Nasruddin: “Mulla, all the great rulers of the past had honorific titles with the name of God in them: there was, for instance, God-Gifted, and God-Accepted, and so on. How about some such name for me?” “God Forbid,” said Nasruddin.

Mulla Nasruddin nearly fell into a pool one day

Obligation Nasruddin nearly fell into a pool one day. A man whom he knew slightly was nearby, and saved him.

Every time he met nasruddin after that he would remind him of the service which he had performed. when this had happened several times nasruddin took him to the water, jumped in, stood with his head just above water and shouted: “Now I am as wet as I would have been if you had not saved me! Leave me alone.”

Mullah Nasruddin – Moon is more useful than the Sun

More Useful One day Mullah Nasruddin entered his favorite teahouse and said: ‘The moon is more useful than the sun’. An old man asked ‘Why mulla?’ Nasruddin replied ‘We need the light more during the night than during the day.’

Mulla Nasruddin started making arrangement for his funeral

Mullah Nasrudin had become old and was afraid that he can die any moment. Nasruddin started making arrangement for his funeral, So he ordered a beautiful coffin made of ebony wood with satin pillows inside. He also had a beautiful silk caftan made for his dead body to be dressed in.

The day the tailor delivered the caftan, Mulla Nasruddin tried it on to see how it would look, but suddenly he exclaimed, “What is this! Where are the pockets?”

Where is God Not (retold by Nasruddin)

My beloveds, I traveled again to the village of my friend Tekka, after years away. He had become very devout in his ways, sometimes a little pompous, but still the kind soul I had loved for years.

I visited him, and we picked up our friendship as if we had never been apart.

“Nasruddin, you are a light to the eyes,” said Tekka, “Please stay with me. I insist.”

I accepted his kind invitation. He showed me my sleeping room, with a window to the east, and the bed made up. “I have arranged it so your head faces toward Mecca,” he said proudly. “You must always sleep with your head toward Mecca, out of respect for the Prophet, on whom be peace.”

My first night, I tossed and turned, and finally fell asleep. I am apparently an active sleeper, for when Tekka shook me awake the next morning, he was very agitated.

“Nasruddin, I am disappointed in you!” I looked at myself, and said, “I am often disappointed in myself, Tekka, what seems to be today’s problem?”

“You have slept with your feet toward Mecca! This is most disrespectful!”

“My apologies, Tekka, it was unintentional. I am a very active sleeper.”

Tekka was mollified, but insisted that the next night I must do better. I promised I would.

The next night resembled the first. I slept well, after some tossing and turning, but awoke to find my feet on my pillow and my head resting on the floor at the end of the sleeping mat. Just as I realized my predicament, Tekka stood in the door and clucked in concern.

“This will never do, Nasruddin. I am a good citizen and a good Muslim. You must sleep with your feet pointing the opposite way from Mecca, and your head pointing toward Mecca, out of respect for the Prophet and devotion to Allah.”

“What is your reason for insisting on this, my friend?” I asked.

“You must not point your feet toward God!” he said, and repeated it. “You must point your head toward God and your feet away from Him.”

I thought about this. We spent the day together, and that night Tekka was most emphatic. “Nasruddin,” he said, “If you cannot sleep with your head toward God, I regret to say I cannot have you in my house. It pains me to say this to an old friend, but my devotion is to Allah.”

The third night was much like the other two, except that this time I awoke with my nose pressed against the floor at the foot of the sleeping mat. It was pushed out of shape, and I was rubbing it when Tekka appeared. His face was clouded with anger and sadness.

“Before you speak, Tekka, answer me this,” I said, springing up. “Does Allah rule over everything, even the fate of men?”

“You know he does,” replied Tekka, puzzled.

“Is Allah there in every part of His creation?”

“Of course he is!”

I pointed out the window at the birds rising from the edge of the well. “Does he live in the birds of the air?”

“Yes,” said Tekka. “Why are you asking these questions?”

“Please have patience with an old friend,” I replied. “Is Allah everywhere, even across the desert and the mountains?”

“Allah is the creation. Allah is in the creation, and is the lord over the creation!” exclaimed Tekka.

“So, Tekka,” I said, holding out my feet. “Point my feet where God is not!”

Humble (retold by Nasruddin)

My beloveds, I remember a time long ago when I was still a Mulla. I lived in a small town, just big enough for a real mosque, with a beautiful mosaic wall. I remember one evening, we had finished our prayers. The stars were clear and bright, and seemed to fill the sky solidly with lights. I stood at the window, gazing at the lights so far away, each one bigger than our world, and so distant from us across vast reaches of space. I thought of how we walk this earth, filled with our own importance, when we are just specks of dust. If you walk out to the cliffs outside the town, a walk of half an hour at most, you look back and you can see the town, but the people are too small to see, even at that meager distance. When I think of the immensity of the universe, I am filled with awe and reverece for power so great.

I was thinking such thoughts, looking out the window of the mosque, and I realized I had fallen to my knees. “I am nothing, nothing!” I cried, amazed and awestruck.

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

“I am nothing! I am nothing!”

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

“I am nothing…I am nothing!”

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

“Look who thinks he’s nothing!”

Every story of Mullah NasrUddin has hidden wisdom, research on him and his rather, funny but real stories and you will call him with same title this post has. ” The Mad Mullah With The Torch “

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