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Shems Friedlander: Mevlevi Fable

Shems Friedlander: Mevlevi Fable
Photo: Hausa Men



There was a man who had a group of friends who were not very good. They took him in a direction which was not pleasing to his father. Finally one day his father said to him, “Look my son, get rid of your friends. I’m going to to teach you the meaning of friendship.” The son obeyed and abandoned his friends, His father took him to the back of the house, and there he killed a sheep. He slit the throat of the sheep, took his bloody carcass, and he put it in a huge sack. One could see bloodstains soaking through the canvas cloth.

“Now my son,” he said, “you know Ahmed who lived down the road. We’re best friends, as you know. Go and bring this sack to him, and tell him that your father accidentally killed someone. And ask him to help dispose of the body.”

The young man took the sack, and carried it down the road to Ahmed’s house. He knocked on the door.

“I’m the son of Habib”, the young man announced. “There’s been a terrible accident. My father accidentally killed someone. The body is in this sack. My father asks that you help him dispose of this body, please!”

“Wait a minute,” Ahmed said, and went back into his house. Soon he returned with a sack filled with gold coins. Handing them over, he said, “Here, take this to your father. With this money he will surely be able to get someone to dispose of this body.” The son went back to the father and him the story.

His father said, “My son, this is half a friend.” Then he continued, “Now take this sack and tell the same story to Hussein who lives on the other side of town. You remember him, we were once very good friends. But lately we’ve disagreed on a lot of things, and actually in the last several months we haven’t even spoken to each other. But take it to him.”

He took the sack, walked across town, and knocked on Hussein’s door. When the door opened, the young man said, “I’m the son of Habib. There’s been a terrible accident. My father killed someone. The body is in the sack, He asked if you could please help him dispose of the body.”

Hussein looked at the boy, grabbed the sack, and pushing away, said, “Tell your father I’m not interested in him. And you, get out of here. Don’t tell anyone you’ve seen me!” He slammed the door shut, but he kept the bloody sack.

(Shems Friedlander)




Source Quote & Recommended Reading:

'When You Hear Hoofbeats Think of a Zebra: Talks on Sufism'By Shems Friedlander (Author)

Purchase Book:



A collection of Sufi wisdom by a 'Baba' of the Jerrahi Halveti Sufi order. The order itself originates from Turkey and during Ottoman times was followed by large numbers of civil servants of the Ottoman government. The order currently has a large following in Turkey and also in the west, primarily in the United States with a limited following mostly amongst Turkish ex-pats living in Europe.

The book is written in the typical 'teaching form' of Sufi text including Sufi sage wisdom regarding good conduct in daily life, amongst 'fellow dervishes' and towards a 'Sheikh' The book is intended to make the reader reconsider how he/she sees the world and themselves and reflect upon what is beyond the mundane in life.

It is a fascinating book that is worth tracking down even for the curious non-Muslim wishing to know a little more about the spiritual side of the Muslim faith.
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