Biko’s Bird

Biko desired to be a spiritual guide, but he attracted no murids. That’s why he became jealous of shaykh ‘Abdullah, the local Sufi master. He tried to discredit him with a trick.

When shaykh ‘Abdullah was teaching the local halqa, Biko went to this assembly with a very small bird in his hands. He intended to ask the master if the bird was dead or alive. 

In case the shaykh would say that it was dead, Biko would open his hands in order to let the bird fly away. When the answer would be that the bird was alive, he’d quickly crush the bird and thus kill it. In both cases the master would give the wrong answer. 

Biko, full of confidence that he’d succeed to bring shame to shaykh ‘Abdullah, asked: “You sit here in the seat of a wise man, but if you’re truly so wise, tell me if the bird in my hands is dead or alive?”  

Shaykh ‘Abdullah looked at Biko and then kindly said: “The answer to your question, my dear Biko, depends on you!”