Chapter XIV (d)
They are the followers of Abu Saleh Hamdun b. Ahmad b. Umara al-Qassar, who was a celebrated divine and eminent Sufi. His doctrine was the manifestation and divulgation of malamat (blame). His discourses on ethical sciences are of immense value. He used to say:
“One have firm faith that Allah has more and better knowledge of them than the knowledge of mankind,” i.e. your dealing with Allah in private should be better than your dealings with men in public, for your preoccupation with men is the greatest veil between you and Allah. I have already given some account of Qassar in the chapter on Blame. From many strange tales named to his credit I for the brevity sake select the following one which he related as:
Once I was walking along Hira canal in Nishapur. Incidentally I came across Noah a known swindler. All the thieves and swindlers of the area were under his influence. He was famous for his courage and generosity. I asked him, “O Noah, what is generosity?” He said, “My generosity or yours?” I said, “Describe both.” He replied:
“My generosity is that I substitute my clothing with Muraqqa (patched frock) and practice the conduct appropriate to that garment, until I become a Sufi and refrain from sin because of the shame I may feel before people. Generosity on your part is that you put off the Muraqqa in order that you because of people or they because of you may not be affected with evils. Therefore, my generosity is formal observance of the Shariat (religious law), while your generosity is spiritual observance of the Truth.”
This is very sound principle.