Abu Hafs ‘Amr ibn Salama al-Haddad radi allahu anhu, a blacksmith of Nishapur, visited Baghdad and met al- Jonaid radi allahu anhu who admired his devotion; he also encountered al-Shebli radi allahu anhu and other mystics of the Baghdad school. Returning to Nishapur, he resumed his trade and died there in 265 (879).
Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu and Shebli radi allahu anhu
Shebli radi allahu anhu gave hospitality to Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu for four months. Every day he produced a different kind of dish and several sorts of sweetmeat.
When Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu came to bid him farewell, he said,“Shebli radi allahu anhu, when you come to Nishapur I will teach youtrue entertainment and generosity.”
“Why, what have I done, Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu?” asked Shebli radi allahu anhu.“You took too great pains. Extravagance is not the same as generosity,” said Abu Hafs. radi allahu anhu “One should treat a guest exactly as oneself. That way, his coming will not be a burden to you, and his departure will not be an occasion of gladness. When you go to extravagant lengths, his coming is burdensome to you and his departure a relief. No man who feels like that towards a guest is truly generous.”
When Shebli radi allahu anhu came to Nishapur he stayed with Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu. Forty persons were in the party, and at night Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu lit forty-one lamps.
“Did you not say one should not act extravagantly?” remarked Shebli radi allahu anhu.
“Then get up and put them out,” answered Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu.
Shebli radi allahu anhu got up, but for all his efforts he could not extinguish more than one lamp.
“Shaikh, how is this?” he asked.
“You were forty persons, emissaries of ALLAH Azzawajal. For the guest is an emissary of ALLAH Azzawajal. Naturally I lit a lamp in the name of each one, for the sake of ALLAH Azzawajal, and one for myself. Those forty which I lit for Allah Azzawajal you were unable to put out, but the one lit for myself you extin- guished. All that you did in Baghdad you did for my sake; I did what I did for ALLAH Azzawajal’s sake. So the former was extravagance, the latter not.”
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar