Parable: Watermelons and Walnuts

Hodja, Questioning God's Wisdom. Illustration by Jillian Gilliand
Hodja, Questioning God’s Wisdom. Illustration by Jillian Gilliand
Introduction: Nasreddin Hodja is Turkey’s (and perhaps all of Islam’s) best-known trickster. His legendary wit and droll trickery were possibly based on the exploits and words of a historical imam. Nasreddin reputedly was born in 1208 in the village of Horto near Sivrihisar. In 1237 he moved to Aksehir, where he died in the Islamic year 683 (1284 or 1285). As many as 350 anecdotes have been attributed to the Hodja, as he most often is called. Hodja is a title meaning teacher or scholar.

Much of Nasreddin Hodja’s actions can be described as illogical yet logical, rational yet irrational, bizarre yet normal, foolish yet sharp, and simple yet profound. What adds even further to his uniqueness is the way he gets across his messages in unconventional yet very effective methods in a profound simplicity – Wikipedia

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The Parable

One hot day, the Hodja was taking it easy in the shade of a walnut tree. After a time, he started eyeing speculatively at the huge watermelons growing on vines, and the small walnuts growing on a majestic tree.

“Sometimes I just can’t understand the ways of God!” he mused.

“Just fancy letting tiny walnuts grow on such a majestic a tree and huge watermelons on the delicate vines!”

Just then a walnut snapped off and fell smack on the Hodja’s bald head.

He got up at once and lifting up his hands and face to heavens in supplication, said:

“Oh, my God! Forgive my questioning your ways! You are all-wise.

Where would I have been now, if watermelons grew on trees!”

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Note: In some other versions of the same parable, a pumpkin is used in place of  the watermelon.

Recommended: Tell me a Story by Amy Friedman, Illustrated by Jillian Gilliand

2 thoughts on “Parable: Watermelons and Walnuts

  1. Beautiful beautiful website…. keep the good work… this is the BEST way of communication, learning and sharing knowledge…. Mowla Bless all involved…. thanks a bunch and lots of dua to you all for such wonderful works, writing and information.

  2. Just as my comment on Hodja I made earlier. I remember a parable I heard about a lost Donkey of a Turkish villager, let us call him Yusuf. He ran ecstatically one morning saying ‘Listen, my friends, I lost my Donkey, thank Allah’. People gathered round him, ‘You foolish man, what are you so jubilant about? You lost your Donkey you never could do without, and instead of lamenting you are screaming and screeching with delight! You never were seen without him as if you were married to your Donkey.’ Yusuf replied, ‘My friends, you do not understand, I lost him sometime at night and just discovered it now, suppose I was riding on my Donkey when he was gone where would I be then?’

    Sufism is a tool for an intellectual search and is based on an esoteric interpretation of Islam, not just based on conventional or external practice. This great religion of Islam today is practised by a quarter of the world population. It is a faith based on Reason.

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