Bismillah Hirrahmaan Nirraheem.
To the left of the Shaykh was Jabbar.
He wore the most distinguished of garments.
A black turban perched handsomely on his head - each wrap evenly tied in measurement and thickness; with a neat tail draped elegently over his shoulder.
In his right hand he held a tasbih and in his left - a staff carved from rare ebony.
To the right of the Shaykh was Ali, a fairly new follower; dressed ordinarily in a tattered white robe.
Around his waist was a belt equipped with the only asset to his name - a wooden spoon; preparing him in case he was presented with a bowl of soup on his travels.
Said Jabbar, puffing out his chest in a haughty fashion.
“I have travelled afar through outlandish lands, through desert sands and misleading oases to sit in your presence.”
Turning a blind eye to Jabbar, the Shaykh looked to Ali and greeted him with a benevolent smile.
The Shaykh became fixated on his chest.
With vigor, his eyes widened and he began nodding his head contentedly.
“O Shaykh!” Interrupted Jabbar.
“I have anticipated such a look from you from the instant I renounced myself unto my Lord, by the initiation of your hand.”
The Shaykh remained fixated on Ali’s chest.
Unable to bare the cold-shoulder, Jabbar threw himself to the feet of the Shaykh and began to sob.
“O Shaykh!” He bellowed.
“40 years it has been! 40 years I have waited forbearingly for you to cast upon me just one brief glance.
Incase the Angel of Death visits me before I leave, let me describe the face which you refuse to see, so that you may finally know me.
I have fair skin the shade of your robes; I have wide hazel eyes, a long nose - hooked at the tip and besides my left eye is a single freckle - not too small and not too big, but noticable.
If only you would look to me with such affirmation and approval the way you look at Ali.
O Shaykh, you may clean your hands of me. I hereby relinquish the knot tied those 40 years ago.”
As he prepared to leave, the Shaykh called out:
“O Jabbar! You forgot to mention the scar on your cheek; the one which you gained after tripping over ones own feet on the way here.
I am aware of your appearance.
I have watched over you and the time devoted to this path in vain - waiting for you to snatch the sincerity within while it was near.
Did you come to visit me and me alone? Or did you come with an ulterior motive?
O follower, do not narrate fables upon fables to me.
You travelled great distances, in my name, only to brag to the coming generations of your adventures.
You cloak yourself in regal attire to be glorified by folk so they may say: “He is a holy one”, rather than to mirror the honour of our way.
O follower, you was in need of me and so I cast you out into the cold, this is my way.
You must understand, I am a collector of hearts. I am not in need of a pompous following, I am in need of your heart.
Revive the seed of sincerity laying dormant within you.”
“Tell me, can you smell the nectarous aroma adorning the particles of being within this room?
If so, then tell me, do you know that the source of such smell is erupting from the heart of Ali?
Sincerity has adorned him with a sweet fragrance and disguised the light of devotion with a beggarly facade.
Be a beggar in His way.
You must shield and protect what you love from plain sight, contrary to showcasing and cheapening its worth.
O Jabbar, you must be careful not to wear your insides on your outside.”