Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit in Practice: An Adult Program for Developing A Regular Practice of the Spirit

The Wise Fool

Once the great Sufi holy man and wise fool Nasreddin Hodja was walking down the street when a group of women came running up to him. Obviously distressed, they cried out to him, “Help us, Hodja! Help us.”

“What can be done I will try to do,” the Hodja replied. “What seems to be the trouble?”

“Our husbands,” the women cried. “They’ve all decided that they must go out into the desert in order to dedicate themselves to finding Allah. Our children and we have been abandoned.”

“This should not be,” the Hodja declared, and he set out after the pilgrims as fast as his donkey could carry him. As he approached the band of men, he began to shout, “Help me! Help me, my brothers.”

“What seems to be the trouble, Hodja?” the men called back.

“My donkey,” he said. “I’ve lost my donkey and can’t find him anywhere. Oh, help me search. I must find him!”

“But he’s right there,” the men replied, laughing. “Can’t you see that you’re sitting right on top of him? You don’t have to go anywhere to look for him.”

“And why do you,” the Hodja said, pulling his donkey to a stop, “feel that you must go anywhere to look for Allah? Go back to your wives; go back to your lives.” And that’s just what they did.