The Peasant and the Peacock

Once a peasant saw a peacock destroying its beautiful plummage with its beak. At seeing this mad self-destruction the peasant said to the peacock: ‘Stop this madness. You are spoiling your beauty.’
The peacock explained that its bright feathers was a source of danger to it. Hunters pursued it because of the beautiful plummage and it could not defend itself. Therefore it had decided to rid itself of the feathers to escape death at the hands of hunters.
The peasant replied that the bright feathers made the peacock what it was. Without them it would be worse than death. It would be better to face the hunter rather than destroy the bright plummage.

The lessons from this parable:
1. Worldly riches endanger one’s spiritual life like the peacock’s feathers. But the remedy is not to renounce the world and escape responsibility. The lure of the world is intended to test us. Without such trials one cannot attain virtue.
2. Every person has some special potential and it should be developed and used for the good of Islam and humanity in general. We should not fear tests coming in the way of developing this potential.
3. In order to be a true Muslim one should not run away from the world: be a man of the world yet do not succumb to its temptation.
Stories from Rumi