Mullah Nasruddin

The name that every Afghan remembers hearing about in childhood. Here is few of the thousands of humurous and thoughtful stories about Him. His identity is being claimed by three countries. Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.
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A neighbor who Nasruddin didn't like very much came over to his compound one day. The neighbor asked Nasruddin if he could borrow his donkey. Nasruddin not wanting to lend his donkey to the neighbor he didn't like told him, "I would love to loan you my donkey but only yesterday my brother came from the next town to use it to carry his wheat to the mill to be grounded. The donkey sadly is not here."

The neighbor was disappointed. But he thanked Nasruddin and began to walk away.

Just as he got a few steps away, Mullah Nasruddin's donkey, which was in the back of his compound all the time, let out a big bray.

The neighbor turned to Nasruddin and said, "Mullah Sahib, I thought you told me that your donkey was not here.

Mullah Nasruddin turned to the neighbor and said, "My friend, who are you going to believe? Me or the donkey?


One day Nasruddin repaired tiles on the roof of his house. While Nasruddin was working on the roof, a stranger knocked the door.

- What do you want? Nasruddin shouted out.

- Come down, replied stranger So I can tell it.

Nasruddin unwilling and slowly climbed down the ladder.

- Well! replied Nasruddin, what was the important thing?

- Could you give little money to this poor old man? begged stranger.

Tired Nasruddin started to climb up the ladder and said,

- Follow me up to the roof.

When both Nasruddin and beggar were upside, on the roof, Nasruddin said,

- The answer is no!


Nasruddin opened a booth with a sign above it:

Two Questions On Any Subject Answered For Only 100 Silver Coins

A man who had two very urgent questions handed over his money, saying:

- A hundred silver coins is rather expensive for two questions, isn't it?

- Yes, said Nasruddin, and the next question, please?
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Nasruddin used to stand in the street on market-days, to be pointed out as an idiot. No matter how often people offered him a large and a small coin, he always chose the smaller piece.

One day a kindly man said to him:

- Nasruddin, you should take the bigger coin. Then you will have more money and people will no longer be able to make a laughing stock of you.

- That may be true, said Nasruddin, but if I always take the larger, people will stop offering me money to prove that I am more idiotic than they are. Then I would have no money at all.

As Nasruddin emerged form the mosque after prayers, a beggar sitting on the street solicited alms. The following conversation followed:

- Are you extravagant? asked Nasruddin.

- Yes Nasruddin. replied the beggar.

- Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Nasruddin.

- Yes. replied the beggar.

- I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Nasruddin.

- Yes. replied the beggar.

- ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Nasruddin.

- Yes I like all those things. replied the beggar.

- Tut, Tut, said Nasruddin, and gave him a gold piece.

A few yards farther on. another beggar who had overheard the conversation begged for alms also.

- Are you extravagant? asked Nasruddin.

- No, Nasruddin replied second beggar.

- Do you like sitting around drinking coffee and smoking? asked Nasruddin.

- No. replied second beggar.

- I suppose you like to go to the baths everyday? asked Nasruddin.

- No. replied second beggar.

- ...And maybe amuse yourself, even, by drinking with friends? asked Nasruddin.

- No, I want to only live meagerly and to pray. replied second beggar.

Whereupon the Nasruddin gave him a small copper coin.

- But why, wailed second beggar, do you give me, an economical and pious

man, a penny, when you give that extravagant fellow a sovereign?

Ah my friend, replied Nasruddin, his needs are greater than yours.


One day Nasruddin went to a banquet. As he was dressed rather shabbily, no one let him in. So he ran home, put on his best robe and fur coat and returned. Immediately, the host came over, greeted him and ushered him to the head of an elaborate banquet table. When the food was served, Nasruddin took some soup with spoon and pushed it to the his fur coat and said,

- Eat my fur coat, eat! It's obvious that you're the real guest of honor today, not me!


One hot day, Nasruddin was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eying speculatively, the huge pumpkins growing on vines and the small walnuts growing on a majestic tree.

- Sometimes I just can't understand the ways of God! he mused. Just

fancy letting tinny walnuts grow on so majestic a tree and huge pumpkins on the delicate vines!

Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on Mullah Nasruddin's bald head. He got up at once and lifting up his hands and face to heavens in supplication, said:

- Oh, my God! Forgive my questioning your ways! You are all-wise. Where would I have been now, if pumpkins grew on trees!


At a gathering where Mullah Nasruddin was present, people were discussing the merits of youth and old age. They had all agreed that, a man's strength decreases as years go by. Mullah Nasruddin dissented.

- I don't agree with you gentlemen, he said. In my old age I have the same strength as I had in the prime of my youth.

- How do you mean, Mullah Nasruddin? asked somebody. Explain yourself.

- In my courtyard, explained Mullah Nasruddin, there is a massive stone. In my youth I used to try and lift it. I never succeeded. Neither can I lift it now.


The wit and wisdom of Mullah Nasruddin never leaves him tongue-tied. One day an illiterate man came to Mullah Nasruddin with a letter he had received.

- Mullah Nasruddin, please read this letter to me. Mullah Nasruddin looked at the letter, but could not make out a single word. So he told the man.

- I am sorry, but I cannot read this. The man cried:

- For shame, Mullah Nasruddin ! You must be ashamed before the turban you wear (i.e. the sign of education)

Mullah Nasruddin removed the turban from his own head and placed it on the head of the illiterate man, said:

- There, now you wear the turban. If it gives some knowledge, read the letter yourself.


One day Mullah Nasruddin lost his ring down in the basement of his house, where it was very dark. There being no chance of his finding it in that darkness, he went out on the street and started looking for it there. Somebody passing by stopped and enquire:

- What are you looking for, Mullah Nasruddin ? Have you lost something?

- Yes, I've lost my ring down in the basement.

- But Mullah Nasruddin , why don't you look for it down in the basement where you have lost it? asked the man in surprise.

- Don't be silly, man! How do you expect me to find anything in that darkness!


Mullah Nasruddin had visited a town for some personal business. It was a frigid winter night when he arrived. On the way to the inn a vicious looking dog barked at him. Mullah Nasruddin bent down to pick up a stone from the street to throw at the animal. He could not lift it, for the stone was frozen to the earth.

- What a strange town this is! Mullah Nasruddin said to himself. They tie up the stones and let the dogs go free.


One day Mullah Nasruddin went to the market and bought a fine piece of meat. On the way home he met a friend who gave him a special recipe for the meat. Mullah Nasruddin was very happy.  But then, before he got home, a large crow stole the meat from Mullah Nasruddin's hands and flew off with it.

- You thief! Mullah Nasruddin angrily called after departing crow. You have stolen my meat! But you won't enjoy it; I've got the recipe!


Mullah Nasruddin was dreaming that someone had counted nine gold pieces into his hand, but Mullah Nasruddin insisted that he would not accept less than ten pieces. While he was arguing with the man over one gold piece, he was awakened by a sudden noise in the street. Seeing that his hand was empty, Mullah Nasruddin quickly closed his eyes, extended his hand as if he was ready to receive, and said,

- Very well, my friend, have it your way. Give me nine.


Mullah Nasruddin was unemployed and poor but somehow he got little money to eat beans and pilaf at a cheap restaurant. He ate and examined walking people outside with the corner of the eye. He noticed a long, handsome swashbuckler (bully man) behind crowd. The Man was well dressed from head to foot, with velvet turban, silver embroidered vest, silk shirt, satin baggy-trousers and golden scimitar (short curved sword). Mullah Nasruddin pointed the man and asked restaurant keeper,

- Who is that man over there!

- He is Fehmi Pasha's servant, answered restaurant keeper.

Mullah Nasruddin sighed from far away, looked at the sky and said:

- Oh, my Good Lord! Look at that Fehmi Pasha's servant and look at your own servant, here.


One day a visitor came to Mullah Nasruddin with a question.

- Mullah Nasruddin, the place that we humans come from and the place that we go to, what is it like?

- Oh, said Mullah Nasruddin, it is a very frightening place.

- Why do you say that? the visitor asked.

- Well, when we come from there as babies, we are crying, and when somebody has to go there, everybody cries.


Nasruddin went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and on the way he passed through Medina. As he was walking by the main mosque there, a rather confused-looking tourist approached him.

- Excuse me sir, he said, but you look like a native of these parts; can you tell me something about this mosque? It looks very old and important, but I've lost my guidebook.

Mullah Nasruddin, being too proud to admit that he, too, had no idea what it was, immediately began an enthusiastic explanation

- This is indeed a very old and special mosque. he declared, It was built by Alexander the Great to commemorate his conquest of Arabia.

The tourist was suitably impressed, but presently a look of doubt crossed his face.

- But how can that be? he asked, I'm sure that Alexander was a Greek or something, not a Muslim. . . Wasn't he?

- I can see that you know something of these matters. replied Mullah Nasruddin with chagrin, In fact, Alexander was so impressed at his good fortune in war that he converted to Islam in order to show his gratitude to God.

- Oh, wow. said the tourist, then paused. Hey, but surely there was no such thing as Islam in Alexander's time?

- An excellent point! It is truly gratifying to meet an English man who understands our history so well, answered Mullah Nasruddin. As a matter of fact, he was so overwhelmed by the generosity God had shown him that as soon as the fighting was over he began a new religion, and became the founder of Islam.

The tourist looked at the mosque with new respect, but before Mullah Nasruddin could quietly slip into the passing crowd, another problem occurred to him.

- But wasn't the founder of Islam named Mohammed? I mean, that's what it said in the newspaper; at least I'm sure it wasn't Alexander.

- I can see that you are a scholar of some learning, said Mullah Nasruddin, I was just getting to that. Alexander felt that he could properly dedicate himself to his new life as a prophet only by adopting a new identity. So, he gave up his old name and for the rest of his life called himself Mohammed.

- Really? wondered the tourist, That's amazing! But...but I thought that Alexander the Great lived a long time before Mohammed? Is that right?

- Certainly not! answered Mullah Nasruddin, You're thinking of a different Alexander the Great. I'm talking about the one named Mohammed.


One day Mullah Nasruddin wished to learn playing zurna (a kind off shrill pipe) and visited a zurna player.

- How much does it cost to learn playing zurna? asked Mullah Nasruddin.

- Three hundred akche (coin) for the first lesson and one hundred akche for the next lessons, asked zurna player.

- It sounds good, replied Mullah Nasruddin. We may start with second lesson. I was a shepherd when I was a young boy, so I already had some whistle experiences. It must be good enough for first lesson, isn't it?


One day Mullah Nasruddin went to market to buy new clothes. First he tested a pair of trousers. He didn't like the trousers and he gave back them to the shopkeeper. Then he tried a robe which had same price as the trousers. Mullah Nasruddin was pleased with the robe and he left the shop. Before he climbed on the donkey to ride home he stopped by the shopkeeper and the shop-assistant.

- You didn't pay for the robe, said the shopkeeper.

- But I gave you the trousers instead of the robe, isn't it? replied Mullah Nasruddin .

- Yes, but you didn't pay for the trousers, either! said the shopkeeper.

- But I didn't buy the trousers, replied Mullah Nasruddin. I am not so stupid to pay for something which I never bought.


Once a renowned philosopher and moralist was traveling through Nasruddin's village when he asked him where there was a good place to eat. He suggested a place and the scholar, hungry for conversation, invited Mullah Nasruddin to join him. Much obliged, Mullah Nasruddin accompanied the scholar to a nearby restaurant, where they asked the waiter about the special of the day.

- Fish! Fresh Fish! replied the waiter.

- Bring us two, they answered.

A few minutes later, the waiter brought out a large platter with two cooked fish on it, one of which was quite a bit smaller than the other. Without hesitating, Mullah Nasruddin cooked the larger of the fish and put in on his plate. The scholar, giving Mullah Nasruddin a look of intense disbelief, proceed to tell him that what he did was not only blatantly selfish, but that it violated the principles of almost every known moral, religious, and ethical system. Mullah Nasruddin calmly listened to the philosopher's extempore lecture patiently, and when he had finally exhausted his resources, Mullah Nasruddin said,

- Well, Sir, what would you have done?

- I, being a conscientious human, would have taken the smaller fish for myself.

- And here you are, Mullah Nasruddin said, and placed the smaller fish on the gentleman's plate.


- Mullah! What do they do with the old full moons?

- They cut them up into small pieces and make the star


One day people founded Mullah Nasruddin pouring the remains of his yogurt into the lake.

- Mullah Nasruddin , what are you doing? A man asked.

- I am turning the lake into yogurt, Mullah Nasruddin replied.

- Can a little bit of yeast ferment the great river? The man asked while others laughed at Mullah Nasruddin .

- You never know perhaps it might, Mullah Nasruddin replied, but what if it should!


- Mullah Nasruddin, which side must I walk when carrying a coffin, at the front, back, left or right?

- Take which you like best, so long as you are not inside!


One day Mullah Nasruddin was asked

- Could you tell us the exact location of the center of the world?

- Yes, I can, replied Mullah Nasruddin . It is just under the left hind of my donkey.

- Well, maybe! But do you have any proof?

- If you doubt my word, just measure and see.


A group of philosophers traveled far and wide to find, and, contemplated for many years, the end of the world but could not state a time for its coming. Finally they turned to Mullah Nasruddin and asked him:

- Do you know when the end of the world will be?

- Of course, said Mullah Nasruddin , when I die, that will be the end of the world.

- When you die? Are you sure?

- It will be for me at least, said Mullah Nasruddin .


One day two small boys decided to play a trick on Mullah Nasruddin. With a tiny bird cupped in their hands they would ask him whether it was alive or dead. If he said it was alive they would crush it to show show him he was wrong. If he said it was dead they would let it fly away and still fool him.

When they found the wise old man they said,

- Mullah Nasruddin , that which we are holding, is it alive or dead?

Mullah Nasruddin thought for a moment and replied,

- Ah, my young friends, that is in your hands!

- Mullah Nasruddin, why do you always a question with another question?

- Do I?


A certain man asked Mullah Nasruddin ,

- What is the meaning of fate, Mullah Nasruddin ?

- Assumptions, Mullah Nasruddin replied.

- In what way? the man asked again.

Mullah Nasruddin looked at him and said,

- You assume things are going to go well, and they don't - that you call bad luck. You assume things are going to go badly and they don't - that you call good luck. You assume that certain things are going to happen or not happen - and you so lack intuition that you don't know what is going to happen. You assume that the future is unknown. When you are caught out - you call that Fate.


On a frigid and snowy winter day Mullah Nasruddin was having a chat with some of his friends in the local coffee house. Mullah Nasruddin said that cold weather did not bother him, and in fact, he could stay, if necessary, all night without any heat.

- We'll take you up on that, Mullah Nasruddin . they said. If you stand all night in the village square without warming yourself by any external means, each of us will treat you to a sumptuous meal. But if you fail to do so, you will treat us all to dinner.

- All right it's a bet, Mullah Nasruddin said.

That very night, Mullah Nasruddin stood in the village square till morning despite the bitter cold. In the morning, he ran triumphantly to his friends and told them that they should be ready to fulfill their promise. But as a matter of fact you lost the bet, Mullah Nasruddin , said one of them. At about midnight, just before I went to sleep, I saw a candle burning a window about three hundred yards away from where you were standing. That certainly means that you warmed yourself by it.

- That's ridiculous, Mullah Nasruddin argued. How can a candle behind a window warm a person three hundred yards away?

All his protestations were to no avail, and it was decided that Mullah Nasruddin had lost the bet. Mullah Nasruddin accepted the verdict and invited all of them to a dinner that night at his home. They all arrived on time, laughing and joking, anticipating the delicious meal Mullah Nasruddin was going to serve them. But dinner was not ready. Mullah Nasruddin told them that it would be ready in a short time, and left the room to prepare the meal. A long time passed, and still no dinner was served.

Finally, getting impatient and very hungry, they went into the kitchen to see if there was any food cooking at all. What they saw, they could not believe. Mullah Nasruddin was standing by a huge cauldron, suspended from the ceiling. There was a lighted candle under the cauldron.

- Be patient my friends, Mullah Nasruddin told them. Dinner will be ready soon. You see it is cooking.

- Are you out of your mind, Mullah Nasruddin? they shouted. How could you with such a tiny flame boil such a large pot?

- Your ignorance of such matters amuses me, Mullah Nasruddin said. If the flame of a candle behind a window three hundred yards away can warm a person, surely the same flame will boil this pot which is only three inches away.


One December day the village boys decided to play a trick on Mullah Nasruddin to fool him. They hid Mullah Nasruddin's coat when he was performing ablution for Friday ritual. But Mullah Nasruddin perceived that a trick on the way.

- Mullah Nasruddin , it's a cold day, why don't you wear your coat? asked one of them

- I left my coat at home to keep the place warm! answered Mullah Nasruddin.


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