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"Is there anything you want?" he asked them.
"Yes," they replied. "We want you to forget us. We want you neither to honour us with your approval nor to banish us with your rejection. For us your rejection is the same as your approval, your approval as your rejection."
The caliph wept bitterly and dismissed them with all honour.
Anecdotes of Nuri
One day Nuri saw a man twirling his moustaches while at prayer.
"Take your hand away from the moustaches of God," he cried.
These words were reported to the caliph. The lawyers declared unanimously that by uttering them Nuri had lapsed into infidelity. He was haled before the caliph.
"Did you speak those words?" the caliph demanded.
"Yes," Nuri replied.
"Why did you say them?" asked the caliph.
"To whom does the servant of God belong?" countered Nuri.
"To God," answered the caliph.
"And to whom did the moustaches belong?" Nuri pursued.
"To Him to whom the servant belonged," concluded the caliph. "Praise be to God, who preserved me from slaying him," he afterwards added.
"I saw a light gleaming in the Unseen," said Nuri. "I gazed at it continually, until the time came when I had wholly become that light."
One day Jonaid went to visit Nuri. Nuri fell to the ground before Jonaid complaining of injustice.
"My battle has waxed fierce, and I have no more strength to fight," he said. "For thirty years, whenever He has appeared I have vanished, and whenever I appear He is absent. His presence is in my absence. For all that I supplicate Him, His answer is 'Either I am to be, or you.’ "
"Look upon a man," said Jonaid to his companions, "who has been sorely tried and bewildered by God.
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