The Dog, the Stick and the Sufi

A man dressed as a Sufi was walking along one day when he saw a dog on the road, which he struck hard with his staff. The dog, yelping with pain, ran to the great sage Abu-Said. Throwing himself at his feet and holding up his injured paw, he called for justice against the Sufi who had maltreated him so cruelly.

The wise one called them together. To the Sufi, he said: “O heedless one! How is it possible for you to treat a dumb animal in this manner? Look at what you have done!”

The Sufi answered: “Far from its being my fault, it is that of the dog. I did not strike him from a mere whim, but for the reason that he had fouled my robe.”

But the dog persisted in his complaint.

Then the peerless one addressed the dog: “Rather than waiting for the Ultimate Compensation, allow me to give you a compensation for your pain.”

The dog said: “Great and wise done! When I saw this man garbed as a Sufi, I was able to conclude that he would do me no harm. Had I seen instead a man wearing ordinary dress, I would naturally have given him a wide berth. My real mistake was to assume that the outward appearance of a man of truth indicated safety. If you desire his punishment, take away from him the garment of the Elect. Deprive him of the costume of the People of Righteousness…”

Reflection Questions

  • When in your life have you been deceived by another person’s appearance?
  • What happened as a result of your incorrect assumption?
  • Why did you make that assumption?
  • If you made no assumptions about that person, how might your interaction with that person have been different?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this story.

One thought on “The Dog, the Stick and the Sufi

  1. We all wear masks all the time or lets say almost all the time. In fact we wear more than one mask. One for the parents, one for the kids, one for the wife, one for the friends, one for the teacher, one for employer etc

    It can be a external mask or internal mask. A dress is external and easy to deal with while the internal is the bigger challenge.

    I feel, over period of time one can reduce the number of masks he/she wear. it is a personal journey.

    Good lesson.


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