A Pious Kazi and a Dead Dog
Adopted from a sohbet by Shaikh Syed Wajhulla Hussaini Quadri Multani of Hyderabad
Narrated by Zaheer Khan Mohammed, Pleasanton, CA
The kazi of a small village was a pious man and was very strict about observance of religious rules. Whether an issue was big or small, the villagers referred it to the kazi, who gave his verdict and ensured that it was strictly adhered to.
One day, a dog fell into the only well that supplied drinking water to the village. Realizing that the water was no longer fit to drink, the villagers approached the kazi and asked him what they should do.
The kazi opened his books and found a ruling that applied to the specific case at hand. “All the water in the well should be removed”, ordered the kazi. “When the well has been completely emptied, you should allow it to fill up with fresh water from the subterranean springs. Only then can you drink the water.”
The villagers dutifully emptied the well, one bucket at a time. It was a major undertaking which required the participation of every person in the village. When the well was emptied, down to the last bucket, the villagers allowed it to slowly refill from the underground springs.
Having accomplished the task as the kazi had ordered, the villagers wished to honor him with the first glass of fresh water from the well. They drew a bucketful, poured a portion of it into a clean glass and took it to the kazi.
“Sir, we emptied the well as you ordered us to, allowed it to refill and we have brought the first glassful from the refill”, said the villagers to the kazi as they presented him the glassful of water.
The Kazi carefully looked at the glass and found a strand of hair floating in the water. Examining it with his finger, he determined that it was dog hair.
Horrified, he asked the villagers where the dog hair came from.
“Sir, it is probably from the dead dog”, said one of the villagers.
Aghast, the kazi asked: “What? The dead dog is still in the well?”
“Sir, we did exactly as you ordered us to”, said another villager. “We removed all the water from the well, completely emptying it. But you said nothing about the dead dog. So, we did not touch it”.
The people had learned their lesson. To get rid of the dirt, the source of the dirt must be removed. The water in the well was not clean until the dog was removed along with the contaminated water.
The human soul is like the water in the well. It is supplied by fresh water from the spirit but it is susceptible to contamination from Nafs e Ammara (the Self that is inclined towards wrongdoing). The contaminants produced by the Nafs include jealousy, greed, thanklessness, deceit, arrogance and pride. To purify the soul, one must discard not just the contamination but the source that is generating the contamination. That source lies in Nafs e Ammara. It is a mighty struggle, the purification of the soul, and it is continuous throughout one’s life. That is the meaning of Tazkiyatun Nafs (purification of the soul).