Reprimand

after/inspired by Dave Bonta’s “Youth Revisited

It is said
Malek ibn Dinar
was asked by
his neighbors
to confront
a rabble-rouser.

When he offered
to report him to
the sultan, the
youth just laughed,
proclaimed himself
too favored to be
punished locally,
so Malek pointed
upward, threatened
higher authority.

Still the youth
refused to cower,
proclaimed God
much too generous
to inspire fear. Malek
could not dispute
this, he left
speechless.

Another day in
the market, crowds
gathered to grab
that young man
and restrain him,
but before Malek
could join them,
he heard a Voice:

Do not touch him.
He is my friend.

When Malek passed
on the message,
the youth said: Ah!
If it is like that,
take my possessions.

And he left, alone,
after the Friend
who did not permit
even a saint to raise
a hand against him.


Based on “Malek ibn Dinar: Malek and his licentious neighbour” in
Muslim Saints and Mystics: Episodes from the Tadhkiral al-Auliya’ (“Memorial of the Saints”) by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by A.J. Arberry (Rutledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1966)

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