Long long ago there was a very noble man. He wanted to reach the peak of his order and be called a Sufi Master. This was a daunting, intense and difficult task. In order to achieve this superior rank of holiness he had to prove his unflinching and complete commitment to God and of course to his deeper unconscious faith.
This meant, fasting for days on end, retreating from society, family and friends, living for months and months in complete solitude only praying to Him and loving Him with all his might and celibate devotion.
He continued this lonely reclusive life for years to come.
One day a group of young apprentices and eager followers came to him and asked him for guidance, more importantly they wanted to know the secrets to his divine calling.
He replied that this required great patience and one must give up everything for God in order to gain a holy title from Him. This meant years of fasting, praying, solitude and devotion.
Many years passed.
Alas, the man was now older, more impatient since the voice of the Angels did not speak to him, nor did he gain his title of Holy Man from God.
He grew disheartened, forlorn and disappointed. He had spent years meditating, praying on hard cold ground, fasting, staying true to Him with unwavering strength and devout loyalty, not leaving his place of devotion for even a second.
Why did God not listen?
Why were his millions of prayers going unanswered?
Why could he not attain the level of spirituality he yearned for?
Was this all a waste of his precious time?
His mind grew weary now. Exhausted, tired, at a loss, he slumped onto the unforgiving cement and closed his eyes.
It felt like forever.
Was it a dream he had, or a vision?
A very soothing yet powerful voice spoke to him.
The voice said that to be close to God, you have to be close to the people.
You have to serve humanity unselfishly, without asking for anything in return.
Your duty on this planet is to serve humanity and protect all creatures that inhabit it. In doing so, you will have served the higher purpose.
In helping others you will have attained the highest grounds in the space of divine consciousness in this world and in the after-life.
In being there for those in need, you soul will be freed.
With a jolt, the man woke up — startled and shocked.
How could he have overlooked this!
He was so consumed in gaining his ‘title’, his ‘glory’, his ‘rank’, and his place amongst the saints, that he completely ignored the sufferings of those around him.
The beggars, the homeless, the orphans, the abused women, the lonely parents, the ailing siblings.
All forgotten in his quest for holiness.
He wiped his tears, which seemed to sting his very soul.
He wrapped his prayer mat, put away the rosary beads, ate a small meal, and locked the dark room which had been his place of worship all these years.
He finally saw the PLIGHT & LIGHT. Felt the hunger of the homeless, the helplessness of the orphan, the sadness in the eyes of a woman who lay on the street and the pain of an injured animal. Most of all, he saw the longing gaze of his frail parents.
He was overwhelmed with compassion.
It was at this very beautifully naked moment of truth that he realized that no title, no rank, or any amount of devotion will ever equal this intense feeling that had bloomed within him.
Compassion was a ‘gift’, a ‘title’, a ‘glory’, a beautiful thing that cannot be named, yet has a million names.
Most importantly compassion has no religion but is a ‘religion’.
It was then he truly became a worker for humanity.
Without wanting anything in return, he kept on helping the needy until the end.
Just like the murmuring of a warm secret breeze that brushes your cheeks during a bone hard winter— someone high above was smiling invisibly.
The ‘Title’ was granted.
Story Adaptation by Ansul Noor