Emperor Tamerlane hated the Sufi Nimatullah and plotted against him. Pretending to honor Nimatullah with a feast, he served food that was haram (forbidden).
After Nimatullah ate, Tamerlane shouted, "You ate stolen lamb! It's haram! You will die for your sin!"
"On Tamerlane's orders, I stole the lamb from an old woman," the cook explained.
Then the old woman shouted, "That man robbed me! I was on my way here to give the lamb to Nimatullah as a gift."
Thus, the lamb was not haram: it was meant for Nimatullah all along! Tamerlane was but an instrument in God's plan.
Inspired by: Sufi Stories from Around the World by Debjani Chatterjee
Notes: This is story 2 in the book. You can read more about Nimatullah at Wikipedia, and also about Tamerlane. Chatterjee includes some sayings of Nimatullah after this story, and one of them is: If you never discover the Creator in his creation — you will find the house but not the door.
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