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God’s Mercy

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Words of Wisdom


“One of the most touching cat stories in early Arabic history relates the tale of the Sufi from Baghdad, Abu Bakr al-Shibli (d. 945) who dies and was seen by one of his friends in a dream. On being asked what God had done to him, he said that he had been granted admission to Paradise but was asked by the Lord if he knew the reason for this blessing. Shibli enumerated all his religious duties ““ fasting and praying, performing the Pilgrimage and giving alms ““ but none of these acts of piety had saved him. Finally the Lord asked him, ‘Do you remember the cold day in Baghdad when it was snowing and you were walking in your coat when you saw a tiny kitten on a wall shivering with cold, and you took it and put it under your warm coat? For the sake of this kitten, We have forgiven you.'”
Annemarie Schimmel, Islam and the Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom