A Sufi Tale: The Gipsy Dancer…and the Sheikh

Translated by Captain Ahab


Abdul Razzaq Aljubran


The seeker of truth either cries or laughs at the sight of the world.

Abu-Ashamaqmaq related a story about a Russian Sufi, that on the Day of Judgment among the masses of humanity there stood a Gipsy dancer (stripper) and her daughters, looking and trying to find the way to Hell’s gate, but she did not know where it was…Then she saw a great Sheikh followed by his entourage (students), he knew her well, they lived in the same city in the previous life…

She asked him: Where can I find Hell’s gate. He responded: I don’t know, I’m looking for Heaven’s gate and I have yet to find it…The crowds are loud and confused, they seem absent minded, almost drunk…So they asked an Angel and he pointed the road to them…The dancer and her daughters marched towards Hell, and the Sheikh towards Heaven. An Angel stood in front of Hell’s gate, he stopped the dancer and did not allow her to go in, he said that her name was not on the list, she asked him to look again, because she said: I’m certain that this is my final resting place, all the Priests and Mullahs on earth said that I was bound to Hell.

She reminded him that she was the infamous Gipsy dancer that owned a famous whore house…The Angel responded: I’m certain your name is not here, you people have exhausted us these past few days…She said: You are a fool of an angel, you can’t read well, go, make sure your superior knows I’m here. He said: Ma’am I’m sure your name is not on the list, and besides I have no superior here…She started cursing him…Another Angel came and reassured her that if her name wasn’t on the list of those bound to Hell, then surely she must be on Heaven’s list. There is no doubt, he said, it’s our job to know these things.

She laughed from the depths of her heart…and said: you are truly fools, or this is a scheme, to torment us…The Angel responded: Ma’am we are Angels we are neither tricksters nor jokers……your place is in Heaven…She said: is it possible after doing all those horrible things, that now, I’m placed in Heaven???

The Angel responded: Yes, it is true you did sell your body…but you never did cheat people.

On the other side an argument broke out, and shouts were heard between the Sheikh and the Angel, who is the keeper of Heaven’s gate, is not letting him pass. The Sheikh reminds him of his name, the Angel says: Your name is not on the list.

The Sheikh argues: Is it possible that “I”, who is God’s shadow and representative on earth do not enter his Heaven, Why??

The Angel responds: You stole God.

The dancer started walking towards Heaven, and the Sheikh was heading in the opposite direction, they met half way in between, he was silent, she was ecstatic….She said to him: This is a strange life, a strange religion, God is certainly different than what we had imagined….you prohibited me from dancing in the past life, now it seems I will dance on this side as well.

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