The Sermon of Nasrudin

One day the villagers thought they would play a joke on Nasrudin. As he was supposed to be a holy man of some indefinable sort, they went to him and asked him to preach a sermon in their mosque. He agreed.
    When the day came, Nasrudin mounted the pulpit and spoke:
    ‘0 people! Do you know what I am going to tell you?’
    ‘No, we do not know,’ they cried.
    ‘Until you know, I cannot say. You are too ignorant to make a start on,’ said the Mulla, overcome with indignation that such ignorant people should waste his time. He descended from the pulpit and went home.
    Slightly chagrined, a deputation went to his house again, and asked
him to preach the following Friday, the day of prayer.
    Nasrudin started his sermon with the same question as before. This time the congregation answered, as one man:
    ‘Yes, we know.’
    ‘In that case,’ said the Mulla, ‘there is no need for me to detain you longer. You may go.’ And he returned home.
    Having been prevailed upon to preach for the third Friday in succession, he started his address as before:
    ‘Do you know or do you not?’
    The congregation was ready.
    ‘Some of us do, and others do not.’
    ‘Excellent,’ said Nasrudin, ‘then let those who know communicate their knowledge to those who do not.’
    And he went home.

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin Idries Shah, Octagon Press

Golestan Palace

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