The Thief Who Became a Sufi Master

A true teacher takes what you do not have
and gives you what is always yours.
This is why the sage does his work
and slips away unperceived.
Real masters are like thieves:
Only the ones caught are known.
The best remain hidden.
Yet their blessed presence though unrecognized
continuously sustains the world
often behind a most mundane appearance.

Yosy Flug: The Illuminated Donkey – Book of Secrets; pp. 52-3

Salik wanted to meet a spiritual guide, but where to find one? It was difficult to find a murshid. Salik searched for a very long time without finding a Sufi Master who possessed all the qualities Salik thought to be necessary.

That’s why Salik needed to change his method of seeking. He decided that the first person he met would become his pir. The first person he happened to meet was a man called Duzd. Duzd made his living as a professional thief.

Salik immediately greeted Duzd, grabbed his hand and insisted that Duzd should accept him as his murid. Duzd was rather shocked by this most unexpected request and replied to Salik:

‘I am neither a murshid nor a murid of anyone. Go away!’

However, the more the thief resisted, the more insistent Salik became. As it was clearly impossible to get rid of Salik, Duzd, forced to assume the role of a murshid, said to him:

‘If you are so determined, go and climb that mountain. When you reach the top put your head on the earth in devotion. Don’t raise it until you receive the guidance that will show you the Sufi path.’

Salik agreed. He climbed the mountain and when he reached the top he remained for a very long time in the state of prostration. Then Khidr appeared to him and asked Salik to raise his head, to which Salik responded:

‘Who are you?’

I am Khidr,’ Khidr said.

‘I have come to teach you. The man whom you took for your murshid is a professional thief.’

To this Salik responded:

‘In that case I can’t trust all this. You should have come first, but I met this professional thief first. Only through him, I was able to meet you. So, I refuse to listen to you.’

Khidr then received in his heart directly from the creative Truth Itself the inspiration to go to Duzd and to offer him guidance first. Subsequently, when the thief himself had become a sage, he remembered Salik and wondered whether he was still in a state of prostration on the top of the mountain.

When Duzd discovered that Salik was still waiting for him at the top of the mountain, he embraced him with the knowledge he himself had received from Khidr. Salik descended to the valley and took his time to return to the ‘top of the mountain’ in a disciplined and conscious way.