Sultan and the Sheikh

Many years ago the sultan of the Ottoman Empire visited one of the great sheikhs of Istanbul. He was deeply impressed with the wisdom and sincerity of the sheikh and began coming regularly to the sheikh's gatherings.

After some time the sultan said, I have come to love you and your teachings. If there is ever anything you want or need, please ask me and I will provide it for you if it is in my power. That was, in effect, a blank check from one of the wealthiest and most powerful men on earth.

The sheikh replied, Yes, there is one thing you can do for me. Please do not come back.

The astonished sultan asked, Have I done anything to offend you? If so, please accept my apologies.

The sheik replied, No, the problem is not you; it is my dervishes. Before you began visiting us, they would pray and chant to God, seeking only God's blessings. Now their minds are occupied with thoughts of pleasing you and receiving a reward from you. I have to ask you not to come back because we are not spiritually mature enough to handle your presence here.

This Sufi spiritual story is from the book Essential Sufism by James Fadiman and Robert Frager. In addition to excellent information about Sufism, there are also several more Sufi spiritual stories in it.

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