How an eagle seized the boot of the Prophet, on whom be peace, and carried it into the air and turned it upside down, and how a black serpent dropped down from the boot.
They were thus engaged, when Mustafá (Mohammed) heard from aloft the call to the ritual prayer.
He asked for water and renewed the ablution: he washed his hands and face with that cold water.
3240. He washed both his feet and gave attention to (was about to take) his boot: a boot- snatcher carried off the boot.
That man of sweet address moved his hand towards the boot: an eagle snatched the boot from his hand,
And bore it away into the air, (swift) as the wind; then she turned it upside down, and a serpent dropped from it.
From the boot dropped a black serpent: on account of that (Divine) care (for the Prophet) the eagle became his benevolent friend.
Then the eagle brought back the boot and said, “Come, take it and go to prayers.
3245. I did this presumptuous act from necessity: I am abashed by (my feeling of) reverence
Woe to him that steps (behaves) presumptuously without necessity (and only) because vain desire authorises him!”
Then the Prophet thanked her (the eagle) and said, “I deemed this (act of yours) rudeness, but it
really was kindness.
You didst carry off the boot, and I was perturbed: you took’st away my grief, and I was aggrieved.
Although God has shown to me every unseen thing, at that moment my heart was occupied with myself.”
3250. She (the eagle) said, “Far be it from you that forgetfulness grew up in you: my seeing that invisible thing is (from) your reflexion.
(If) I, in the air, see the serpent in the boot, it is not of myself, it is your reflexion, O Mustafá.” The reflexion of the man of light is wholly resplendent; the reflexion of the man of darkness is wholly (like) a bath-stove (ash-heap).
The reflexion of the servant of God is wholly luminous; the reflexion of the stranger (to God) is wholly blindness.
Know every one's reflexion: see (it plainly), O my soul. (Then) ever sit beside the congener whom you desirest.
The right way of taking a lesson from this story and knowing with certainty that
“verily, together with hardship there is ease.”
3255. That tale is a lesson to you, O my soul, to the end that you mayst acquiesce in the decree of God;
So that you wilt be quick to understand and wilt have good thoughts (of God) when you seest a
calamity (befall thee) of a sudden.
(While) others turn pale from dread of it, you (wilt be) laughing in the hour of gain or loss, like the rose.
Because the rose, though you tear it petal by petal, does not leave off laughing and does not become bent (with grief).
“Why,” it says, “should I fall into grief on account of a thorn? Indeed I have brought laughter
(into my possession) by means of the thorn.”
3260. Whatsoever by (Divine) destiny becomes lost to you, know for sure that it has redeemed you from affliction.
(Some one asked), “What is Súfism?” He (the Shaykh) said, “To feel joy in the heart at the
coming of sorrow.”
Regard His chastisement as the eagle which carried off the boot from that man of excellent disposition,
That she might save his foot from the serpent's bite. Oh, happy is the understanding that is undimmed.
He (God) has said, “Grieve not for that which escapeth you,” if the wolf come and destroy your
3265. For that (God-sent) affliction keeps off great afflictions, and that loss prevents huge losses.