1. Juha and the Donkey
One day a neighbor came to Juha's house and asked,
"Will you let me borrow your donkey?"
"O best of friends," said Juha, "much as I should like to be of service and assistance to a man so honorable as you, I regret that my donkey is not here today."
He had hardly finished speaking when the donkey began to bray.
"It appears that I am blessed with good fortune and your donkey is here after all," said the neighbor.
"What!" exclaimed Juha, "are you willing to accept the word of my donkey and to doubt me, a man advanced in years, whose beard is white?"
2. Juha's Meal Disappears
One day, Juha bought three kilos of lamb's meat in the market and took it home to his wife. After explaining to her how he would like to have it prepared for his dinner, he went out again.
Juha's wife seasoned the meat and cooked it carefully. But it smelled so delicious that she sent for her brother and the two of them feasted on it until nothing was left.
When Juha came home and asked for his dinner, his wife wailed, "While I was busy in the kitchen, the cat ran in and ate up the meat, and now I have nothing to give you for dinner."
Juha grabbed the cat and set it on the scale, which tipped at exactly three kils.
"If this is the meat," said Juha, "then where is the cat? And if this is the cat, then tell me where in the name of Allah is the meat?"
3. Juha and the Tough Chicken
One of Juha's friends once asked him to share a meal of stewed chicken. Juha was hungry and went gladly, but when he tried to bite into the meat, he found it too tough for his teeth and contented himself with dipping his bread in the gravy.
Next day the friend said, "Why don't you come and help us finish what was left from yesterday's dinner?"
Again Juha found the chicken too leathery and satisfied himself with bread and sauce. When they had finished eating, Juha lifted the chicken off the dish and, placing it before him, faced toward the holy city of Mecca and began to pray.
"What are you doing?" asked his host in amazement.
"I want to recite my prayers in the presence of this chicken," said Juha, "since its flesh must surely belong to some holy man. Twice it has gone to the fire and yet it remains untouched by the heat!"
4. Juha and the Children's Party
Juha was walking down the street one day, when suddenly some boys started throwin stones at him. Juha wasn't sure whether to run away or stay and hurl the stones back. Instead, he shouted at them:
"If you stop, I will tell you something you will like to hear."
"Tell us," said the children. "What is it?"
"The prince is giving a big party and everyone is invited. They say there will be delicious halawiat (cakes) with cream."
The boys immediately stopped throwing stones and ran off to the prince's palace.
Juha watched them as they ran down the street. Then, suddenly, he followed after them as quickly as his legs would carry him. "After all," he told himself, "it might just be true!!"
5. Juha Fries Quails
Two friends came to visit Juha just as he was frying himself some quails.
"This dish lacks salt," said one friend after he had picked a bird out of the pan and tasted it.
"It also lacks vinegar," said the second friend, biting into another quail.
Taking the last quail, Juha said, "What matter, since now it lacks quails!"
6. Juha's Sleeve
One day Juha arrived at a banquet in his usual rags, only to be turned away at the door. After changing into his costliest clothes and saddling his mule, he returned to his host's house looking like a man of substance.
This time the servant welcomed him respectfully and seated him near the guests of honor. As Juha reached for a piece of bread, his sleeve happened to slip down into the food.
"Pull back your sleeve," whispered the man sitting next to him.
"No," replied Juha," that I shall not do!"
Then, addressing his sleeve, he said, "Eat, my sleeve, eat and take your fill! You have more right to this feast than I, since they respect you above me in this house."
7. Pull It Out
A peasant came up to Juha and complained that his eye ached and asked for his advice, so Juha told him:
"The other day I had a toothache, and it didn't go away until I pulled it out."
8. Juha Borrows a Pot
One day, Juha wanted to entertain his friends with a dinner of lamb stewed whole with rice stuffing, but he did not have a cooking pot large enough. So he went to his neighbor and borrowed a huge, heavy cauldron of fine copper.
Promptly next morning, Juha returned the borrowed pot.
"What is this?" cried the neighbor, pulling a small brass pot from inside the cauldron.
"Oh yes," said Juha, "congratulations and blessings upon your house! While your cauldron was with me it gave birth to that tiny pot."
The neighbor lauged delightedly.
"May Allah send blessings your way too," he told Juha, and carried the two cooking pots into his house.
A few weeks later, Juha knocked on his neighbor's door again to ask for the loan of the cauldron. And the neighbor hurried to fetch it for him. The next day came and went, but Juha did not return the pot. Several days passed and the neighbor did not hear from Juha. At last he went to Juha's house to ask for his property.
"Have you not heard, brother?" said Juha looking very grave. "The very evening I borrowed it from you, your unfortunate cauldron--God grant you a long life--died!"
"What do you mean, died?" shouted the neighbor. "Can a copper cooking pot die?"
"If it can give birth," said Juha, "it can surely die."
9. Juha and the Hunter's Gift
A countryman who enjoyed hunting once visited Juha in the city and brought him a hare as a present. Juha took the hare to his wife, had her roast it in the way he most relished, and invited the hunter to stay and share it with him.
Some days later a man knocked at Juha's gate. "Who is it?" he called. "A neighbor of your good friend the hunter, who brought you the hare the other day," the man shouted up. Juha asked him in and let him rest and set a meal before him most hospitably.
Not long after this, another stranger in country clothes called on Juha. "Who are you?" asked Juha. "I am a friend of the neighor of the hunter who gave you the hare." "Welcome, welcome," said Juha and led him inside. When the guest was comfortably seated, Juha placed in front of him a steaming bowl of hot water. "What is this?" asked the stranger. "This water was boiled in the very same pot as the hare that my good friend the hunter, whose neighbor you know, brought me," said Juha.
10. Lost Property
Juha was walking through the streets at midnight.
The watchman asked: "What are you doing out so late, Juha?"
"My sleep has disappeared and I am looking for it."
11. Juha’s House
Juha being a poor man, once rented a humble small house. He slept with his family on the floor as there was no furniture or blankets.
One day he was walking with his son in a funaral procession. The wife of the dead man was screaming:
"Where are you taking my dear husband? You are taking him to an empty cold place."
Juha's son turned toward his father and asked: "Baba, are they taking him to our house?"
12. Payment in Full
There was a man who was a restaurant owner. One day, he decided to have a barbeque so that he could draw more customers. While he was barbequing a nice plump goat, a homeless man came and started smelling the aroma. When the restaurant owner saw him, he demanded that the homeless man pay him for enjoying his food. The homeless man protested saying he'd only been enjoying the aroma. The owner argued, saying that he had provided the aroma.
Presently, Juha arrived at the scene, and the two men told him of their argument. Juha thought for a moment and finally asked the homeless man: "have you got the money that this man demands?"
The homeless man replied: "Yes."
Juha then asked for the money and threw it to the ground. He asked the restaurant owner: "did you hear the money?" The owner replied,"Yes."
Then Juha said: "You have recieved your payment."
13. Imam Juha
The jobless and homeless Juha decided to seek his luck outside his hometown. First thing he did, of course, was to go to the mosque. There, he started to pray earnestly, asking Allah to help him find a job. After finishing his prayers, a few men approached him and said:
"You seem to be from out of town, is there anything we can do to help you?"
"Indeed," replied Juha. "I left my home town in search of a job."
"Would you consider being the Imam of this mosque? You seem to be a man of knowledge and fiqh," said one of the men.
Juha accepted the offer and on Friday, the Mosque was filled with people who had heard a lot about the new sheikh in town. Juha approached the pulpit and said:
"Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, dear Muslim brothers. Have you any idea what the sermon would be on this Friday?"
The congregation all responded: "NO!"
"If you don't know, why are you here? Go home," replied Juha...and they left.
The following Friday, Juha approached the pulpit and said:
"Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah, dear Muslim brothers.
Do you know what is my sermon for you this Friday?"
All responded: "YES!"
"If you already know, what are you doing here? Go home"....and they all left.
The following Friday, Juha approached the pulpit and said: "Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah, dear Muslim brothers. Have you any idea what our sermon would be this Friday?"
The crowed had agreed previously that should he repeat this question again, they would confuse him. Half of the Muslims in the mosque said "YES!" and half said "NO!"
Juha replied: "Well, the group that knows, please tell those who don't know, wassalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah!!!
14. Ben Sikran Improves the Couscous
Although this follows the same sort of style as the Juha stories, this one is about "Ben Sikran."
Once when Ben Sikran was traveling to a distant mosque to study under a learned sheikh, he had to cross a barren plain. All day long he walked without meeting another human being, but as night fell and he was beginning to feel cold and hungry, he came upon a Bedouin tent.
"Let me stay with you tonight," he said to the owner. "I will not trouble you, as I need no food. All I want is protection from my enemies."
The man led Ben Sikran into his tent and went to tell his wife. She was squatting in front of her cooking pot preparing a dish of plain couscous. She complained crossly:
"There's hardly enough for the two of us!"
"But I can't very well chase a man from my door when he needs protection," said her husband," and besides, he says he won't want any food."
Nevertheless, once they were seated together the Bedouin could not refrain from being hospitable. He asked Ben Sikran what he would like for supper.
"Nothing," said Ben Sikran. "I told you I wouldn't need anything. One thing I cannot abide is dried salt meat. Put dried meat into a dish of couscous and you can be sure I will touch neither one nor the other. I have never been able to eat it."
"Well, praise be to God for protecting us from his appetite," muttered the woman to herself as she took a sheepskin pouch and shook two or three lumps of dried meat from it into the pot of couscous. Then she went out to milk her cow. Ben Sikran, who was dying of hunger by now, stole over to the sheepskin pouch, emptied the best part of it into the stew on the fire, and stuffed some cakes of dried cow-dung fuel into the pouch to fill it out. Then he crept back to his place.
When the woman returned to the tent, there was a rich smell of meat gravy. She looked into her pot and saw that the stew was bubbling to the brim with meat. She ran to check the sheepskin bag, but it was bulging full, as before.
"Husband," she called, "this student of the Holy Qur'an has brought us luck. Our hearth has been blessed! Look--the pot is overflowing with meat and the pouch is still full!"
Before serving her husband, she pushed the dish toward Ben Sikran, who plunged right in and ate heartily.
"I thought you said you did not touch dried meat," murmured the woman."
"Ah, but this is no ordinary meat," said Ben Sikran, wiping his mouth. "Praise be to Allah--it is extraordinarily good!"
15. Juha in His Old Age
When Juha grew to be an old man, his friends began to admonish him with regard to his welfare in the next world.
"You would do better to turn your thoughts to prayer rather than joke all the time," they said. "You should spend your days in serious meditation and in studying the Hadith."
"I have not neglected the utterances of the prophet," retorted Juha. "I am sure that none of you has ever heard the Hadith of Ikrimah*."
"Tell it to us," said his friends.
"The learned Ikrimah," began Juha, "says that according to Ibn Abbas, who had it from the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself, there are two qualities which can ensure happiness for the faithful both in this world and the next."
"Tell us what they are," said his friends eagerly.
"Ikrimah forgot one," said Juha, "and I have forgotten the other."
[*Ikrimah was one of the tabi'un, successors of the Prophet (s.a.w.). A slave in the house of Ibn Abbas, Ikrimah is one of the main transmitters of the Qur'an, according to Ibn Abbas.]
16. The Basket of Figs
One year when Juha's pomegranate tree bore very large fruits, he chose the three reddest and most perfect and took them to the palace as a present for the emir. And for this, he was generously rewarded. Some months later, when his turnip crop proved unusually fine, he filled a basket with the best of his harvest and set out for the palace again.
On the way, he met a neighbor, and when he had explained his errand, the man said, "Are turnips anyh gift for a prince? Shame on you! Something dainty or something sweet is what will please an emir. Take him figs."
Juha was persuaded, and when he arrived at the palace gates he had a basket of figs over his arm.
This time, however, the prince happened to be angry, with a frown on him that would frighten a hero. Far from rewarding Juha for his pains, he ordered his servants to pelt him with his own figs and chase him out. But every time a fig hit the mark, Juha would cry out, "May Allah reward you with His blessings, dear neighbor!" or "Allah grant you many sons and abundant riches, dear neighbor!"
The prince's curiosity finally overcame his anger, and he asked Juha why he was saying such things.
"Sire," replied Juha, "I was bringin you a basket of the largest turnips you have ever seen, white and sweet as apples, but my neighbor told me that figs would be a better gift. Should I not thank the man who saved my life? Had my basket been full of turnips, every bone in my body would be broken by now!"
The prince laughed, and regaining his good humor, sent Juha home with a purse of gold.
17. Where is Juha's Donkey?
Juha's donkey was missing. Juha searched all day for his runaway donkey, but to no avail.
Suddenly, he overheard a man telling his wife: "I see the whole world in your beautiful eyes..."
Juha walked up to the couple. Interrupting them, he said: "Excuse me brother!"
"Yes?" asked the man.
"Please look again. Do you see my donkey?" Juha Counts His Donkeys
18. Suggested by Minaret
Juha decided that he would like to become a merchant. What better than to enter the business of buying and selling donkeys?
He therefore went off to the market where he inspected many donkeys. In the end, he bought ten of them. He wanted to take them back home with him, so he climbed onto one of the donkeys and the others walked along in front of him. As he was riding on the back of one of the donkeys, he decided to count them. He was surprised when he found that there were only nine, for he had forgotten to count the one he was riding.
He remembered well that he had bought ten donkeys. Where had the tenth gone? He climbed down from his donkey so as to count them again. This time he found there were ten.
Satisfied, he got back onto the donkey he had been riding. To make sure, he counted the donkeys once again, but found that he had only nine. Then he got off it and counted and found that there were ten. He went on doing this several times, but he could not understand how there were sometimes only nine donkeys and sometimes ten.
At last he said to himself" "It seems that if I walk I gain a donkey, which is better than riding and losing a donkey."
So he walked all the way to his house behind the ten donkeys he had bought at the market.
a. It's All How You Look At It
One day Mullah was looking out of window and enjoying the rain when he saw his neighbor running towards his home.
"You should be ashamed of yourself. Rain is a blessing from Allah and you are running away from it?" Mullah yelled. The neighbor was a little embarrassed, and started to walk. By the time he reached his house he was all wet. Mullah enjoyed his plight.
Then the scene changed within a few days. This time the neighbor was standing by his window enjoying the rain, when he saw Mullah was running towards his house.
"Mullah you were telling me the other day that I was running away from Allah's blessing, now you are doing the same thing. Are you not ashamed of yourself?"
"No, my dear neighbor, I am not running away from His blessing, rather I do not want to be disrespectful to His blessing and therefore avoiding as much as possible from getting them under my shoes." Mullah said without stopping.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Mullah invited some friends for dinner. While they were eating one of them asked for water. Mullah called his young son and gave him a jug made of glass to fill it with water and come back.
He told his son, "and don't drop the jug." With that, he spanked the little boy.
The child left crying. The guests were surprised and asked, why did he spanked him then? To that Mullah answered, " Spanking him after he had broken the jug would be useless, now at least he would be careful".
b. DUCK SOUP
(Truth, a tale of Mulla Nasrudin from The Sufis)
A kinsman came to see Nasrudin from somewhere deep in the country, bringing a duck as a gift. Delighted, Nasrudin had the bird cooked and shared it with his guest.
Presently, however, one countryman after another started to call, each one the friend of the friend of the "man who brought you the duck." No further presents were forthcoming.
At length Nasrudin was exasperated. One day yet another stranger appeared. "I am the friend of the friend of the friend of the relative who brought you the duck."
He sat down, like all the rest, expecting a meal. Nasrudin handed him a bowl of hot water.
"What is this?"
"That is the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck which was brought by my relative."
c. Truth, a tale of Mulla Nasrudin
What we call "truth" is relative to a given situation. We cannot find teh truth until we experience this realization. This Nasrudin tale, shows that until we able to see through relative truth, no progress will be made.
One day, Mulla Masrudin was sitting at court. The King was complaining that his subjects were untruthful. "Majesty," said Nasrudin, "there is truth and there is truth. People must practice real truth before they can use relative truth. The result is they take liberties with their man-made truth because they know instinctively that man-made truth is only an invention."
The king thought that this was too complicated. "A thing must be true or false. I will make people tell the truth, and by this practice they will establish the habit of being truthful."
When the city gates were opened the following morning, gallows had been erected in front of the gates and was presided over by the captain of the royal guard. A hearld announced: "Whoever would enter the city must first answer the truth to a question that would be put to him by the captain of the royal guard."
Nasrudin, waiting outside the gates, stepped forward first. "Where are you going?" the captain asked. "Tell the truth--the alternative is death by hanging."
"I am going to be hanged on those gallows," Nasrudin replied. "I don't believe you," retorted the captain. "Very well then," said Nasrudin. "I have told a lie, hang me."
The bewildered captain responded, "But that would make it the truth!"
"Exactly," said the Mulla Nasrudin, "your truth."
d. The Talking Donkey, a tale of Mullah Nasredin
One day, Timur the Lame was in Turkey with his army. He took a donkey and said, "whoever makes the donkey talk, will receive an award. If this person cannot make the donkey talk, I will cut off his head!"
So Mullah Nasredin went to Timur the Lame and said he could make the donkey talk. but Timur the Lame said to Mullah Nasredin, "I will give you three years to make the donkey talk, if not I will cut off your head!"
Mullah Nasredin took the donkey and went home with gifts. Everybody came to his house and said to him, "Are you crazy? How can you make a donkey talk in three years?"
He said, "I know. I'm not stupid. I cannot make the donkey talk, but in three years, who knows who is going to live or die? In the mean time, I got the donkey and the gifts!"
e. The Value of Truth
"If you want truth," Nasrudin told a group of Seekers who had come to hear his teachings, "you
will have to pay for it."
"But why should you have to pay for something like truth?" asked one of the company.
"Have you noticed," said Nasrudin, "that it is the scarcity of a thing which determines its value?"
f. Need Some Light
One day, Nasrudin lost his gold ring inside the house somewhere. After looking for a while, not finding it, he went outside to look for it there. His neighbor asked him:
"What are you looking for, Neighbor?"
"I'm looking for my ring," replied Juha.
"Where did you lose it?" asked the neighbor.
"Somewhere in the house," answered Nas.
"Then why are you looking for it outside," asked the puzzled neighbor.
"Because," replied Juha, "there is more light in here."
g. Nasruddin, His Son, and a Donkey
Mulla Nasruddin was travelling with his son, who was riding their donkey while Nasruddin walked beside the beast. When they arrived at the first town, some folks mumbled: "Look at this lad who is riding the donkey while his old father walks."
So Mulla Nasruddin decided to ride the donkey, and his son started to walk.
At the next town people cried: "Look at this father who is himself riding while letting his little son walk beside him."
So Nasruddin had his son sit behind him, and they both rode on the donkey.
As they passed through the next town, people shouted: "Look at this cruel father and son who are both riding the poor donkey."
So they both got off the donkey and walked beside the donkey.
In the next town, people said: "Look at these thankless people. Allah gave them a donkey, but they do not know to use him........ so they took the donkey from them.