Jalil Al Braham, the golden-hearted hunchbacked


“If you see a Sufi who takes care of his appearance then know that its interior is corrupt”

Al-Junayd ibn Muhammad ibn al-Junayd, Abu al-Qasim al-al-Qawariri Khazzaz al-Nahawandi al-Baghdadi al-Shafi’i (d. 298).

Jalil Al Braham had always been called the hunchbacked. The reason why the village gave him this nickname was clear to all. That depended on his filthy clothes, his uncertain step, and especially by its large and prominent hump. On this hump rotated many voices which, in a small village on the road of the caravans, you know, they run fast. Who went to the village for a quick stop upon seeing him often thought of a miserable beggar and, with pity, threw him a copper coin. Those who passed through the village more often, however, had certainly heard different voices on behalf of Jalil. Some said that Jalil was born healthy and that his hump grew over time and that it extended from year to year. Others swore that they saw Jalil happily running on the dunes of the desert without any hump in the nights of the full moon. Only a circle of a few close friends knew the truth about its story. The rags, the lame leg and also the hump were all fake stuff. And those friends, more unlucky than others, found themselves dealing with the gift of truth and the question of interpretation. They in fact did not know why Jalil was pretending all of this. Some said that it all started years ago when Jalil faked his condition to escape a war in the name of the Sultan, and that from then on he could not continue the orchestration. For others, the affair was far more simple, Jalil was just a crazy man with which to have some conversations from time to time. For Jalil, however, the affair was quite different. He pretended this pantomime because in his heart he knew to be perfect. His was not a conceited and arrogant fellow who  would measure himself in relation to others. No, Jalil knew that beyond the appearances his heart was a perfect mirror of the world. But everyday life, you may know know, does not like perfection. For this reason Jalil thought that was perhaps better to look like an hunchback and indeed a little touched on the outside, than loosing the perfection of his heart. Furthermore, if he would have told others about his truth they would certainly have taken him for a madman, then, he thought to himself, you might as well look like a real one! Therefore you, who wander through the world, the next time you meet a cripple, a hunchback or a fool, you now know that you could have in front a Jalil with a golden heart and that could be your chance to really meet a perfect being.


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