A Story from Ruhnama: The Story of the Thief
Once, a number of people were talking about a thief in a village. During the conversation Dovletmammet Azady spoke of the good manners of the thief. As if they had agreed in advance, all the sufis started saying good things about the thief. Other participants in the conversation thought that the thief was being treated like an angel, although he was clearly far from being one.
Days and months pass by, and the thief visits Azady in his home.
“Azady, Your Highness, I am enchanted by your power, look where you’ve placed me,” he cries out. “I heard of your remarks in that coversation praising me. I felt elevated and immediately gave up stealing. Even when I engage in any minor deed that might be improper, I always question myself as to what Azady His Highness would say in such a case. You really won my heart.” Azady says in reply:
“You have faith in your heart, so your conscience awoke.”
In another exchange some people said to Azady, “Your Highness, you knew that so-and-so was a thief, but you praised him. Why?”
“If you say good things about a man, and if I do the same and so do others, then the good aspects of that person will come out. But if you say bad things about that man, and if I do the same and so do others, then it will be as if that person were coated in black pitch. If possible, talk about the good qualities of a man, and not the bad ones. This is what wisdom tells you to do.”
Ruhnama (Book 1): Reflections on the Spiritual Values of the Turkmen
Saparmyrat Niyazov (Turkmenbashy the Great)),
The State Publishing Service
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 1997-2001.
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