Having completed the pilgrimage,Abu Hafs returned to Baghdad.
There Jonaid’s companions went out to welcome him.
“What present have you brought us from your journey?” asked Jonaid.
“Perhaps one of ‘our companions’ is unable to live as he should,” replied Abu Hafs.
This that I have to say can be my offering.
If you observe in a brother a lack of good manners,
discover in yourself an excuse for him and excuse him to yourself accordingly.
If the dust of misunderstanding does not rise as a result of that excuse,
and you are in the right, discover some better excuse and excuse him to yourself again.
If still the dust does not rise, go on inventing another excuse, even to forty times.
If still the dust does not rise, and you are in the right,
and those forty excuses do not measure up to the fault he has committed,
then sit down and say to yourself, ‘What a stubborn and unenlightened soul you are!
What an opinionated and unmannerly and boorish fellow you are!
Your brother offers forty excuses for his offense,
and you do not accept them and continue in the same course!
I have washed my hands of you. You know what you want; do as you please.’ “
Jonaid marveled at these words. “Who can have such strength?” he asked himself.
Quotes from Muslim Saints and Mystics Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints) by Farid al-Din Attar Translated by A. J. Arberry
Friday, January 23, 2009 at 6:49pm