The Law is the Law

Mulla Nasrudin studied law under a tutor.

Since he had no money to pay for his lessons, the arrangement was that he would pay his fees as soon as he won a case.

But Nasrudin did not practice as an advocate.

The Tutor took the Mulla to court.

Nasrudin said, when the complaint was being heard:

‘Your honour. If I win the case, claiming that my tutor need not be paid — he will not get his money.’

‘If, on the other hand, I lose, I shall not have to pay him, because I will not have won a case yet: he will not get his money.’

‘What other result is possible?’ asked the confused judge.

‘Case dismissed,’ said Mulla Nasrudin.

Caravan Of Dreams Idries Shah, Octagon Press

A court room


‘What is your house like inside?’

‘Very nice, Mulla, but there is no sunshine in it.’

‘Is there no sunshine anywhere near you?’

‘Yes, the garden has plenty.’

‘Then why don’t you move your house into it?’

Caravan of Dreams Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Sunshine in a garden


A scientist and a logician had met Nasrudin and wrangled with him as they walked along a road. Nasrudin was hard-pressed. The scientist said: ‘I cannot accept anything as existing unless I carry out a test, or unless I see it with my own eyes.’ The logician said: ‘I cannot attempt anything unless I have worked it out in theory beforehand.’
    Suddenly Nasrudin knelt down and started to pour something into a lake beside the road.
    ‘What are you doing?’ they asked together.
    ‘You know how yogurt multiplies when you put it into milk? Well, I am adding a little yogurt to this water.’
    ‘But you can’t make yogurt that way!’
    ‘I know, I know … but – just supposing it takes!’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

'Distillatio', scene in an alchemist laboratory

The value of a desire

Nasrudin had a buffalo whose horns were very wide apart. He had often thought that if he could mount between them, it would be just like sitting on a throne.
    One day the animal sat down near him and he simply had to sit between the horns. He could not resist the temptation. The buffalo almost immediately stood up and tossed him.
    His wife, finding him lying on the ground stunned, began to cry.
    ‘Weep not!’ said the Mulla, as he came round. ‘I have had my suffering, but at least I have also attained my desire.’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press


The Drunk

Mulla Nasrudin went up to a drunken man and started to try to help him walk. The man said a few words to the Mulla, and Nasrudin walked away, nodding.

Some spectators asked: ‘Why did you not help him, Mulla?’

‘Oh’, said Nasrudin, ‘he explained everything to me. The houses are going around and around. As soon as he sees his own house appear, he will leap in the door. In that way he won’t have to walk home.’

The World Of The Sufi Idries Shah, Octagon Press

A merry go round

Limits of perception

Carrying some cocks to a certain place, Nasrudin thought he would let them out for a little, allowing them to walk part of the way. They started to wander in all directions, pecking at the earth.
    ‘O Fools!’ shouted Nasrudin. ‘You know when it is going to be sunrise; how is it that you cannot even understand where I am going?’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Chickens outside

Allah will provide

‘Allah will provide,’ said Nasrudin one day to a man who was complaining that someone had stolen some cash from his house.
    The man expressed doubt.
    Nasrudin took him to the mosque, and rolled on the ground, calling upon Allah to restore the man’s twenty silver coins.
    Annoyed by his presence, the congregation made a collection and the sum was handed to the surprised loser.
    ‘You may not understand the means which operate in this world,’ said the Mulla, ‘but I trust that you understand the end when it is handed to you in such a concrete from.’

The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Mosque in Isfahan

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