The Striker of Animals Runs Up a Bill

It is related that while going on a journey, if [Muslihuddin] Merkez [Efendi] were to see a peasant, he would go to him, ask ‘do you know the faith,’ and would explain the conditions and duties of prayer. He would then scatter the seeds of knowledge among the fields of his heart, saying things like: ‘The way to do it is so-and-so and such and such. It is prayer that separates Islam from unbelief, and one who neglects prayer is more useless than an unbeliever,’ and ‘Verily the prayers are incumbent on the believers in a fixed book,’ followed by the poem, ‘Upon the unbelievers the fixed book assigned prayers/ Those who don’t do it are detested in the two worlds,’ and ‘Beware, don’t let these farm animals lack for food, water or provisions; don’t load them with more than they can bear; don’t strike them with endless blows. To that the scholars say, “The striker of animals runs up a bill, it garners naught but its equal in the afterlife,’ and, ‘In this place full of seeds are walking around, your intent should be to revive empty land and to make it a benefit for the male and female believers…’

Sinaneddin ibn Yusuf ibn Ya’kub (d. 1581), Tezkiretu’l-Halvetiye, trans. by John J. Curry, in The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman Empire: The Rise of the Halveti Order, 1350-1650

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