the value of poverty


A certain man

was constantly bewailing his poverty.

Ibrahim ibn Adham said to him, “My son, perhaps

you paid little for your poverty.” “You are talking nonsense,”

said the man, “You should be ashamed of yourself.

Does anyone buy poverty?”


Ibrahim replied,

“For my part I chose it of my own free will;

moreover, I bought it at the price of this world’s sovereignty

and gave up my kingdom and my ruling over others. I would buy

one instant of this poverty again with a hundred worlds, for every moment

it becomes worth more to me. When I found this precious merchandise,

I gave my final farewells to royalty. Without any doubt I know

the value of poverty. While you remain in

ignorance of it, I give thanks

for it.


Ibrahim ibn Adham