The Bare-footed Saint
During the days when Bishr Al-Hafi Rahimahullah had not yet received spiritual guidance, he was once in a gathering of friends at his home. In the midst of the noise, liquor, music and frivolity, a pious man happened to pass by and knocked at the door. A slave-girl answered, and he asked, “Is the owner of this home a free man or a slave?”
She replied, “He is a free man.”
He replied, “Of course! Had he been a slave, he would have adopted the manners of a true servant and kept away from such futile and frivolous forms of entertainment.”
Bishr Rahimahullah overheard the conversation and quickly jumped to his feet. He headed for the door bare-footed, but the pious man had already left. He asked the slave-girl what had transpired, and she explained what he had said.
“In which direction did he go?” he asked. She directed him, and he left in pursuit of the man.
When he finally caught up with him, he asked, “My master, did you come to my door and speak to the slave-girl?”
“Yes,” he replied.
“Please repeat the words you uttered,” Bishr Rahimahullah requested. The man obliged.
Bishr Rahimahullah was so taken aback by his words, that he fell to the ground and began to cry out, “No, I am a slave, I am a slave, I am a slave!”
From then onwards, he would walk without shoes and people began calling him Bishr Al-Hafi Rahimahullah , ‘the bare-footed one.’ When asked why he did not wear shoes, he would reply, “My master, Allah Azza Wajal, guided me when I was bare-footed and I will remain in this condition till death.”
Moral: A wise choice of words and a sincere intention are effective tools in influencing people.
Source : Pearls from the Path