Tales: The Poor Should Not be Hungry

Junayd Baghdadi was born in Baghdad in the ninth century, and became one of the most influential Sufis of all time.  When he was still young, he came home from school one day and found his father disturbed and upset.

“What is wrong, father?” the boy asked.

“I wanted to give some coins to the Sufi, Seri Seghati, to give charity to the poor, but he refused them.” The Sufi had a vow of poverty, and would not accept gifts of money.

“Give me the coins, father.  I will deliver them.”

Young Junayd took the money and went to the door of Seri Seghati.  When the Sufi appeared, Junayd gave him the money, but the Sufi again refused it. Then Junayd said, “Why do you refuse this money? God has been gracious to you and just to my father, so you should not refuse these coins.”

The Sufi asked Junayd to explain what he meant.

“God has been gracious to you, and directed you to the world of spirituality.  He has been just to my father and directed him to the material world, as that is the world he desires.  If you refuse or accept, if my father refuses or accepts, it makes no difference to the will of God.  But the poor should not remain hungry and in need because of you two.  Therefore you should accept the money and give it to the poor.”

The Sufi Seri opened his door wide, and said, “Oh, Son, I accepted you before I accepted this money.” And he took Junayd into his house and his life, and brought him under his guidance.  Through his teachings, Junayd grew to become a light among the Sufis.

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