A noble sentiment one with which few people anywhere would disagree, but it is, as I have given it to you here, taken out of context, and so it lacks some of the bite that it has in the original, where it is the culmination of the following story:
An Arab king who was notorious for his cruelty came on a pilgrimage to the cathedral mosque of Damascus, where he offered the following prayer, clearly seeking God’s assistance in a matter of some urgency:
“The darvish, poor, owning nothing, the manwhose money buys him anything he wants,here, on this floor, enslaved, we are equals. Nonetheless, the man who has the most comes before You bearing the greater need.”
When the king was done praying, he noticed me immersed in my own prayers at the head of the prophet Yahia’s tomb. The monarch turned to me, “I know that God favors you darvishes because you are passionate in your worship and honest in the way you live your lives.
I fear a powerful enemy, but if you add your prayers to mine, I am sure that God will protect me for your sake.” “Have mercy on the weak among your own people,” I replied, “and no one will be able to defeat you.”
To break each of a poor man’s ten fingers just because you have the strength offends God. Show compassion to those who fall before you, and others will extend their hands when you are down.The man who plants bad seed hallucinates if he expects sweet fruit at harvest time. Take the cotton from your ears!
Give your people justice before justice finds you.All men and women are to each other the limbs of a single body, each of us drawn from life’s shimmering essence, God’s perfect pearl; and when this life we share wounds one of us, all share the hurt as if it were our own. You, who will not feel another’s pain, you forfeit the right to be called human.