by Idries Shah

Once, when Bishr was a Sufi disciple still dependent entirely upon the comfort of men, he was on the Island of Abadan. There he came across a most unfortunate man. He was suffering from leprosy, was blind, and lay on the ground with nobody near him. Bishr went to him and raised his head on his knees, speaking some words of reassurance and humanity, feeling sorrow and compassion. The leper then spoke out, saying: 'What stranger comes here, to stand between me and my Lord? With or without my body, I have my love for Him.'
Bishr recounts that this lesson had remained with him throughout his days.

Mashghul says: 'This story can only be understood by those who realize how the leper was preventing Bishr from indulging his own sentimentality and ruining himself, through being turned into what humanity calls a "good man". "Good" is what you do voluntarily, and not in furtherance of an appetite for indulgence taught by others in the name of humanity.'

~Bishr Ibn El-Harith

'The Way of the Sufi' Idries Shah