Sufi Stories and Poetry

Competition

Half and Half

Four Indians enter a mosque and begin the prostrations. Deep, sincere praying. But a priest walks by, and one of the Indians, without thinking, says “Oh, are you going to give the call to prayers now? Is it time?”

The second Indian, under his breath, “You spoke. Now your prayers are invalid.”

The third, “Uncle, don’t scold him! You’ve done the same thing. Correct yourself.”

The fourth, also out loud, “Praise to God, I haven’t made the mistake of these three.”

So all four prayers are interrupted, with the three fault-finders more at fault than the original speaker!

Blessed is one who sees his weakness, and blessed is one who, when he sees a flaw in someone else, takes responsibility for it.

Because, half of any person is wrong and weak and off the path.
Half!
The other half is dancing and swimming and flying in the Invisible Joy.

~Rumi

A Sufi Story about Competition

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Once upon a time, a sultan set up a competition with a very rich prize for the most accomplished visual artistry. He invited teams from around the world. Both China and Greece sent delegations of artists. Each side could order whatever materials it wanted, and the wall of a room was provided for each to do its work. A curtain separated the two rooms.

The Chinese team asked for a plethora of paints made from many different plants and minerals, which provided an unimaginable array of colors. The Greek team asked only for materials for sanding and polishing.

When the two teams were finally ready, the Chinese unveiled their wall first. They had used every color of the rainbow, in a most harmonious design. The sultan was dazzled. Then the Greeks unveiled their work, throwing back the curtain between the two rooms. They had used no paint, but had polished their wall to such a degree that it reflected the work on the Chinese side. Through the play of light and air, the Chinese design seemed to move, and was even more fantastic and beautiful.

~Neil Douglas-Klotz

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