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A Call to Honesty

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Bishr Ḥāfī said, “I was passing through the bazaar in Baghdad. They were whipping someone with one thousand strokes, but he did not let out a sigh. Then they took him to prison. I went in his tracks and asked him, ‘Why all those blows?’ He said, ‘Because I am entranced by passion.’

“I said, ‘Why did you not weep so that they might lighten them?’ He said, ‘Because my beloved was watching. I was so drowned in the contemplation of my beloved that I had no concern for weeping.’

“I said, ‘If you had been gazing on the Greatest Beloved, how would that have been?’ He cried out once, then he died.”

Yes, when passion is truly there, the trial takes on the color of blessing. This is great good fortune: the beauty of the Beloved gives you access to itself so that in contemplating Him, you will take all severity as gentleness. But,

Not just any piece of straw comes near You— to suffer grief for You it needs a man.

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