Mullah Nasruddin

Islam Is Not All Fundamentalist

Originally, there was a historical Mullah Nasruddin. He was born in Turkey and lived between 1208 and 1284. Stories multiplied about him, and eventually he was widely known between the Balkans and China. In the 20th Century, Idries Shah published a charming series of books featuring anecdotes about the Mullah. Here are two of them:


Nasruddin was taking a shortcut home through the cemetery, where a burial was in progress. As he walked past the group of mourners, he overheard one of them saying: “Today is a sad day for us all. We have buried an honest man and a politician.”

A sad day indeed, Nasruddin thought to himself. I didn’t realise that the situation was so dire that they are now compelled to bury two people in the same grave!


One hot summer’s day, Nasruddin was relaxing in an orchard under the shade of an apricot tree. Looking around him, and marvelling at nature’s bounty, he wondered why apples, cherries, and other small fruit grew on trees, while large melons and pumpkins grew on vines at ground level.

Sometimes it is hard to understand god’s ways, he pondered. Imagine letting apricots, cherries, and apples grow on tall trees while large melons and pumpkins grow on delicate vines!

At that precise moment, the mullah’s reverie was interrupted by an unripe apricot falling from the tree and bouncing off his bald head. Roused from his musings, Nasruddin stood up, raised his hands and face towards heaven, and said humbly: “Forgive me, god, for questioning your wisdom. You are all-knowing and all-powerful. I would have been in a sorry state now if melons grew on trees.”

You can find out more about Idries Shah at the website for The Idries Shah Foundation, which contains a list of his books.