Gulistan of Saadi
The Morals of Dervishes
One of the devotees of Mount Lebanon, whose piety was famed in the Arab country and his miracles
well known, entered the cathedral mosque of Damascus and was performing his purificatory ablution
on the edge of a tank when his feet slipped and he fell into the reservoir but saved himself with great
trouble. After the congregation had finished their prayers, one of his companions said: ‘I have a
difficulty.’ He asked: ‘What is it?’ He continued: ‘I remember that the sheikh walked on the surface of
the African sea without his feet getting wetted and today he nearly perished in this paltry water which
is not deeper than a man’s stature. What reason is there in this?’ The sheikh drooped his head into the
bosom of meditation and said after a long pause: ‘Hast thou not heard that the prince of the world,
Muhammad the chosen, upon whom be the benediction of Allah and peace, has said: I have time with
Allah during which no cherubim nor inspired prophet is equal to me?’ But he did not say that such
was always the case. The time alluded to was when Gabriel or Michael inspired him whilst on other
occasions he was satisfied with the society of Hafsah and Zainab. The visions of the righteous one are
between brilliancy and obscurity.
Thou showest thy countenance and then hidest it
Enhancing thy value and augmenting our desire.
I behold whom I love without an intervention.
Then a trance befalls me; I lose the road;
It kindles fire, then quenches it with a sprinkling shower.
Wherefore thou seest me burning and drowning.