Translated from 'Nuzhat al-majalis wa muntakhab al-nafa'is' [The Pious Gatherings and the Select Precious Matters] by Abd al-Rahman al-Sufuri [d. 1489 M] (Damascus and Beirut: Dar al-Iman, 1985).

One time Abu Hanifa received some merchandise. Merchants came to him looking to buy it (yaltamisuna shara'aha) for such-and-such an amount. Abu Hanifa said: "Wait until the sun rises." In the morning, other merchants came to him looking to buy it for a higher amount than the former merchants.

Abu Hanifa said: "I have made the intention to sell it to the others."

The amir Anusharwan went out to hunt and became thirsty. He saw a garden in the midst of the wilderness and there was a young boy in it. He asked him for water but the boy said: "We don't have water."

"Give me a pomegranate then," the amir said, and the boy gave him one. The amir tasted the pomegranate and found it sweet and pleasurable, so he made the intention to appropriate the garden. He asked for another pomegranate and the boy gave it to him, but this time it was bitter. "Didn't it come from the same tree as the first?" the amir asked. "Yes," said the boy, "but perhaps the intention of the amir has changed"...

A certain king had a vizier whom he had brought close to him. Someone made the intention to alienate the vizier from the king, so he said to the latter: "This vizier is telling people that you have bad breath."

The king became very angry and sent the accuser to the vizier to summon him. The latter went to the vizier, invited him to a meal in which there was a large amount of garlic, and then told him that the king was summoning him. The vizier went, but when he approached the king, he put his hand in front of his mouth so as not to incommodate him with the smell of the garlic he had eaten.

When the king saw this, he tought that the calumniator had spoken the truth. He therefore drew a writ with his own hand to one of his lieutenants in which he decreed the death of the vizier, and he gave the writ to the vizier with the words: "Take this to so-and-so." As the accuser looked on, he thought that the king still did not believe him and had in fact decreed to reward the vizier, as it was not his habit to write except for good things. So he went to the vizier and offered to take the writ in his place. The vizier gave it to him unsuspectingly. When the accuser arrived at the lieutenant and gave him the writ, the latter executed him on the spot.

A few days later the vizier entered the presence of the king again. The latter was surprised and said to him:
"Didn't you give my writ to my lieutenant?" He replied no, because so-and-so had offered to take it in his place. The king said: "Did you say such-and-such (about me)?" The vizier said: "I seek refuge in God from such a thing!"

"Then why did you place your hand before your mouth that day?" asked the king. The vizier explained and at that time the king understood the plot, and brought the vizier back to his former place of honor.

The Prophet (s) was related to say: "O people, beware a certain manner of associating partners to God which is more surreptitious (akhfa) than the footsteps of the ants (dabeeb al-naml)." He continued: "Say: O Allah, we seek refuge in You from associating to You something which You know, and we beg forgiveness from You for (associating to You) something which we don't know." Tabarani related it, and a narration by someone else adds: "Let one say this every day three times."

Blessings and Peace on the Prophet of al-ghurr al-muhajjalin*, his Family, and his Companions.

*al-ghurr al-muhajjalin: Those having a whiteness on the forehead, hands and feet (on the Day of resurrection) from the effects of ablution for prayer.

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