In Sufi folklore, the most revered, respected, beloved, laughed about and ridiculed character is the short, rotund, peak turbaned, patched robed and curly slippered Mul- lah Nasruddin. Centuries of tales of his exploits have stretched across Central Asia, spread from Mongo- lia to Morocco and from Calcutta to California.
Books and stories have been written recording his adventures throughout countless miles of travels. He has even starred in a Russian film. Nazruddin is so well loved that almost every Muslim nation claims him as their native son. His grave is in the town of Es- kidir in Turkey, where each July friends of the Mullah gather to perform plays re- cording his tale, and laugh for days and nights at jokes recited at a festival in his honour.
Welcome to the world of the flawless teacher, spiritual master, buffoon and most sage idiot in his- tory, in whose presence you will certainly find a
smile, wisdom, and if you are fortunate – a touch of enlightenment.
It must surely be admit- ted that all of the above is not such a bad achieve- ment for a man who never existed.
Catching the Caliph
One day, while walk- ing past the palace of the Caliph, Mullah Nazruddin sees a notice nailed to the gate.
The notice reads: Proclamation of the Caliph: Here ye. Here ye… Wanted: New police chief – must be able to catch all thieves in Baghdad.
Nazruddin bangs on the gate, demands of the guards that he be taken straight to the Caliph and on coming into the pres- ence of His Opulence says: “O Noblest One, I’m your man.” “Well,” asks the Caliph, “what are your qualifica- tions for this job?” “Well” replies Nazruddin, “I was a woodcutter in the Sahara”.