The Least of These

Once upon a time there were two brothers and they lived with their aging mother.  Every night one brother would devote himself to care for his mother, serving her with patience and tenderness.  The other brother, a devout sincere religious person spent his evenings in prayer and worship of God.

It came to pass that one evening the religiously devout brother had a dream.  In this dream he heard the voice of God say to him:

“We have forgiven your brother, and for his sake, we have also forgiven you.”

The brother gasped in incredulity.  “Wait! What?  I have given my life to prayer and passionate worship, but my brother, he has just taken care our our mother.  So let me get this straight, you are forgiving me for his sake?!”

In reply, God said, “that which you do for me, I don’t need.  But your mother needs what your brother does for her.

- Kharaqani, a retelling from a translation by Omid Safi. Radical Love. 

Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradiition

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