The Cleric and the Cat – a Sufi parable,
A well-known cleric was teaching in the desert, reciting the scriptures to a group of spellbound listeners. As he was speaking, a sick cat meandered into the camp, slid next to him, and went to sleep on the hem of his exquisite robe.
Now the cleric was unaware of this cat, even though he continued to speak for the remaining of the day. The whole day the cat slept on the hem of his robe, finding warmth and healing in the shadow of the teacher.
When the day came to an end, everyone returned to their tents for the evening. But the cleric, seeing the cat asleep on his robe, took a sharp knife and cut off the hem of his robe where the cat was sleeping. In this way the teacher destroyed his most beautiful garment, but left the cat undisturbed in its slumber.
Compassion for others is a symptom of love for one’s own self.