Treasure Island

Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Ch 02 The Morals Of Dervishes Story 23


A man had by his sins forfeited the divine favour but the lamp of grace nevertheless so shone upon his path that it guided him into the circle of religious men and, by the blessing of his association with dervishes, as well as by the example of their righteousness, the depravities of his character were transmuted into virtues and he refrained from lust and passion. But the tongues of the malevolent were lengthened with reference to his character, lleging that it was the same as it had ever been and that his abstinence and piety were spurious.

By apology and penitence one may be saved from the wrath of God
But cannot be saved from the tongues of men.

He could no longer bear the reviling tongues and complained to the pir of the Tariqat. The sheikh wept and said: ‘How wilt thou be able to be sufficiently grateful for this divine favour that thou art better than the people imagine?’

How long wilt thou say: ‘The malevolent and envious
Are searching out the defects of my humble self.
Sometimes they arise to shed my blood.
Sometimes they sit down to curse me.’
To be good and to be in spoken of by the people
Is better than to be bad and considered good by them.
Look at me whom the good opinion of our contemporaries deems to be
perfect whereas I am imperfection itself.
If I were doing what I speak
I would be of good conduct and a devotee.
Verily I am veiled from the eyes of my neighbours
But Allah knows my secret and my overt concerns.
The door is locked to the access of people
That they may not spread out my faults.
What profiteth a closed door? The Omniscient
Knows what I conceal or reveal.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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