One day Abdullah Mubarak went to the desert to see Bahlool the Wise. He saw Bahlool bareheaded, barefoot, and reciting Allah's Name. He went up to him and saluted him. Bahlool answered the greeting.
Abdullah Mubarak said, “O Shaykh! My request is that you advise me and tell me how to pass a life in this world, so that I stay away from sins because I am a sinful being and I can't overcome my evil self-will. Tell me some way by which to acquire relief.”
“O Abdullah! I myself am worried and distressed. What do you expect from me. If I had a brain, people wouldn't call me crazy. What effect can the speeches of lunatics have that people would accept, so go and look for some intelligent person.”
“O Shaykh! Those who say they are crazy are just fooling others. They are intelligent, and it is the truth that is heard from the lunatic.”
Bahlool was silent. Abdullah again began flattering him and said, “O Shaykh! Don't disappoint me; I came with expectations.”
“O Abdullah! First agree to my four conditions, so that you don't go back on your words at the statement of a lunatic. Then I will criticize you and will tell you such things that will be the means of your salvation.”
“What are these four conditions; tell me so I can agree.”
“Firstly, whenever you commit a sin or go against Allah's command, then don't eat of His sustenance.”
“Then whose sustenance shall I eat of?”
“Being an intelligent person, you claim that you worship Allah and eat out of His sustenance, and then you disobey His command. You yourself judge, is this the way to repay beneficence?”
Abdullah said, “You spoke true, what is the second condition?”
“Secondly, whenever you want to sin, do not intend to stay in His Kingdom.”
“This is more difficult than the first, because every place is Allah's land and kingdom so then where will I go?”
“It is a very evil thing that you eat out of His sustenance, live in His Kingdom and then disobey His command. Yourself judge, is this the condition of beneficence?”
“What is the third condition?”
“Thirdly, when you want to sin or disobey His command, then go hide in such a place where He can't see or be aware of you. Then do whatever you want.”
“This is the most difficult. Allah knows and sees all. He is present everywhere. He sees and knows all that His creations do.”
“You are an intelligent being. You should know that He is present everywhere, the All-Knowing and All-Seeing. In this sense, it would be very evil of you to eat of His sustenance, stay in His Kingdom, and then disobey Him in His All-Knowing, All-Seeing presence. Even then you claim to worship Him; although He says in the Holy Qur'an, 'Do not think that Allah is unaware of the act of the oppressor.'“
Abdullah said, “You spoke true. What is the fourth condition?”
“The fourth condition is that when the Angel of Death suddenly comes to you to obey Allah's order and seize your soul, then at that time say, 'Wait a little while so I can say good-bye to my relatives, get their farewell, and take provisions for my last journey; then seize my soul.'“
“This is the most difficult condition. At that time the Angel of Death will not even give me time to breathe.”
“O intelligent human! You know that there is no cure for death. You can't make it go away from you, and the Angel of Death doesn't give time when on the verge of death. While committing sins, the Angel of Death suddenly and surprisingly comes, sparing no time for even breathing. As Allah says, 'When the time of their death comes, they can't hurry a bit or delay.' So then Abdullah! Hear the truth from a lunatic and awaken from the sleep of unawareness.
“Beware of arrogance and intoxication, and worry about the Hereafter because a long journey waits and life is short. Don't postpone today's work until tomorrow, maybe tomorrow will not come for you. Know that this is the most valuable time. Don't be lazy in doing work for the Hereafter. Make provision for the Hereafter today because regretting there tomorrow has no benefit.”
When Abdullah heard these words he bowed his head and began to think.
Bahlool again said, “O Abdullah! You wanted advice from me that would prove useful tomorrow and wanted me to present an example and proof. Why have you bowed your head? What answer will you give on the Day of Judgment when dangerous and strong angels inquire during your reckoning. Today whomever's account is pure will have no fear tomorrow.”
Finally Abdullah raised his head and said, “O Shaykh! I whole-heartedly listened to your advice. I also accept this fourth condition. Say something else and make me your student.”
“O Abdullah! It is incumbent upon the servant that whatever he does is by Allah's order and whatever he says or hears is according to His order, then the servant is a servant.”
Intelligent and wise Bahlool that is called crazy and insane by people was benefited by the companionship of Imam Jafar Sadiq.