by Ali Hammad
An anecdote ascribed to Mullah Nasruddin, the wise fool of the Sufi lore, goes something as follows:
A king known for his sternness said to the Mullah, “You were introduced to me as an oracle, but you turn out to be a common fool. I shall have you hanged.”
Said the Mullah without losing a moment, “But, Sire, I can see the stars in the daylight and the demons deep in the Earth.”
“How did you suddenly become so perceptive?” asked the King.
“Fear, Sire, is all you need,” said the Mullah meekly.
Now ask the question: What is ‘fear?’
Fear to a Sufi is realization of one’s conscience. God is always in one’s conscience, and the conscience is always there to guide one to the right path, but attuning to the conscience and abiding by it may be a different matter altogether. So ‘fear of God,’ referred to in the scriptures and often the topic of private conversations, may only be a reminder to stay in touch with one’s conscience.
That is how I see it.