Mullah (Molla) Nasreddin is a Persian character who appears in thousands of stories, always witty, sometimes wise, even philosophic, sometimes the instigator of practical jokes on others and often a fool or the butt of a joke. Stories relating to Mollah Nasreddin are generally humorous, but in the subtle humor there is always a lesson to be learned. Mullah Nasreddin is a satirical Sufi figure who is believed to have lived around 13th century. Nasreddin was a wise man, remembered for his funny stories. Sufism is an Iranian sect of Islam, that values inner quality above external piety. The people of Bukhara (Part of Persia/Iran that now is in Uzbekistan) claim him to be a native of that city, but the Turks have tried to make him a denizen of Turkey ! The Turks are really shameless. In the recent years, they claim that the great Persian Poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi (Molavi) was a Turk !! There is no doubt that Rumi is a Persian. All his works is in Persian, all his family lived in Persia, etc but the Turks say his a Turk ! Some funny Iranians say: “If Rumi was a Turk, then Shakespeare was a Turk, too”. The case of Mullah (Molla) Nasreddin is like the case of Rumi. The great satirical works of great Persian Poets and writers like Rumi, Sa’di, Obeid, etc around 12th to 14th century, can show us the roots of Nasreddin. Now Mullah Nasruddin is an international character and his tales are from many ages and many cultures. There are Persian, Persian subcultures (Kurdish, and all former parts of Persia like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc) Turkish, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Greek, Serbian, etc sources for Nasruddin tales. He is known as Nasrudin, Joha, Hojas, Jiha, Juha, Khodja, Molla, Apendi, Afandi, etc. 19961997 was declared International Nasreddin Year by UNESCO. Now lets take a look at some Mullah Nasreddin’s jokes.
Once Mullah was invited to deliver a sermon. When he got on the pulpit, he asked, Do you know what I am going to say? The audience replied “no”, so he announced, I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about! and left.
The people felt embarrassed and called him back again the next day. This time, when he asked the same question, the people replied yes. So Nasreddin said, Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time! and left
Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mulla to speak the following week. Once again he asked the same question – Do you know what I am going to say? Now the people were prepared and so half of them answered “yes” while the other half replied “no”. So Nasreddin said Let the half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the half who don’t, and left
A neighbour asked Mullah : “Mullah, I want to borrow your donkey.” “I am sorry,” said the Mullah, “but I have already lent it out.”
As soon as he had spoken, the donkey brayed. The sound came from Nasrudin’s stable. “But Mullah, I can hear the donkey, in there!” As he shut the door in the man’s face, Nasrudin said, with dignity, “A man who believes the word of a donkey in preference to my word does not deserve to be lent anything.”
Nasreddin was walking in the Bazaar with a large group of followers. Whatever Nasreddin did, his followers immediately copied. Every few steps Nasreddin would stop and shake his hands in the air, touch his feet and jump up yelling “Hu Hu Hu!”. So his followers would also stop and do exactly the same thing. One of the merchants, who knew Nasreddin, quietly asked him: “What are you doing my old friend? Why are these people imitating you?” “I have become a Sufi Sheikh,” replied Nasreddin. “These are my Murids (spiritual seekers); I am helping them reach enlightenment!” “How do you know when they reach enlightenment?”
“Thats the easy part! Every morning I count them. The ones who have left have reached enlightenment!”
Some one said: “Nasrudin, your donkey has been lost.” he said: “Thank goodness I was not on the donkey at the time, or I would be lost too.”
Mullah said: “I can see in the dark.” the people said:”That may be so, Mullah. But if it is true, why do you sometimes carry a candle at night?” he said: “To prevent other people form bumping into me.”
A man called, wanting to borrow a rope.”You cannot have it,” said Nasrudin. “Why not?” “Because it is in use.” “But I can see it just lying there, on the ground.” “That’s right: that’s its use.”
One of the neighbors found Nasreddin scattering crumbs all around his house. “Why are you doing that?” he asked.
“I’m keeping the tigers away,” replied Nasreddin. “But there aren’t any tigers around here,” said the neighbor. “That’s right,” said Nasreddin. “You see how well it works?”
The donkey of Mollah is missing and he asks a man if he has seen it. He says the donkey has changed and has become the judge of the town. Mollah says: I believe you since when I was teaching my students, the donkey would shake his ears and listen attentively.
One day someone asked Mollah, “What are the best qualities of mankind?” “Well,” he replied, “a philosopher once told me that there are two. He had forgotten the one, but he told me the other. But to tell you the truth, I’ve since forgotten that one, too.”
In the old days, men were permitted to have more than one wife. Mollah himself took a second wife who was younger than the first one. One evening he came home to find them quarreling about which of them Molla loved more. At first, Mollah told them he loved them both, but neither of them were satisfied with his answer. Then the older one asked, “Well, just suppose the three of us were in a boat, and it started to sink. Which of us would you try to save?” Mollah thought for a moment, and then said to his older wife, “My dear, you know how to swim, don’t you?”
One day the King invited Mollah to his palace for dinner. The royal chef prepared, among others, a cabbage recipe for the occasion. After the dinner, the King asked, “How did you like the cabbage?” “It was very delicious,” complimented Mollah. “I thought it tasted awful,” said the King. “You’re right,” added Mollah, “it was very bland.” “But you just said it tasted ‘delicious,'” the King noted. “Yes, but I’m the servant of His Majesty, not of the cabbage,” he replied