Sari al Saqati : How did you begin?

Sari al Saqati was a 9th c. CE Sufi in Baghdad, and the maternal uncle of the great Junaid. He was learned and taught many Sufi students, but he began life as a simple trader in the bazaar of Baghdad. When the bazaar caught fire, and he was told that his shop had burnt, he said, “Then I will be freed from the care of it.” It was subsequently revealed, though, that his shop had survived, although all the surrounding shops had been destroyed. Upon seeing this, Sari gave all that he had to the poor and took to the path of Sufism. When he was asked how the change in him began, he said that once a certain Sufi passed his shop and Sari gave him a crust of bread, telling him to give it to the poor. Sari said, “He said to me, ‘May God reward you!’ And from the day when I heard this prayer my worldly affairs never prospered again.”

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