Al Ghazali : Jesus and those who attain

Iman al-Ghazali tells this tale about an insight of Jesus. For more about the Persian philosopher and mystic Abu Hamid al-Ghazali see this earlier post.

Once it happened that Jesus saw a group of people sitting disconsolately by a wall at the side of the road. He asked them, “Why do you look so miserable?”

They groaned in reply, “The fear of hell has made us like this.”

Jesus went on his way, and then came to another group, sitting dejectedly by the side of the road. These he also asked, “Why are you so unhappy?”

In reply, they wept. “The longing for paradise has made us like this.”

Jesus walked still further, until he found a third group. These were people who bore the marks of great suffering, but their faces were bright with joy.

Jesus asked them, “What has made you so joyful?”

They replied with smiles. “The Spirit of Truth itself. We have seen Reality, and we have turned away from all lesser goals.”

Then Jesus said, “People like these are the ones who attain the One. On the Day of Reckoning, it will be people like these who stand in the Presence of God.”

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