"At this stage, the individual welcomes even the trials of life, knowing that all things come from God. According to both Freudians and behavioral psychologists, most people spend their lives seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. This makes them puppets of the world around them. The Sufis who have reached this stage look only to God and are beyond the influence of their material surroundings.

"Ayaz was the most loyal servant of the great Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna (998-1030 C.E.), and the sultan loved him as a son. One day the two were sitting together eating lunch. The sultan cut a slice of cucumber and gave it to Ayaz, who ate it with relish. A little later he gave another slice of cucumber to Ayaz and took one himself. When Mahmud bit into the cucumber, he immediately spit it out as it tasted terrible — chalky and bitter. He looked angrily at Ayaz and exclaimed that Ayaz had tricked him into eating that bitter cucumber by pretending it was delicious.

"Ayaz answered, 'No, my sultan. It was delicious to me. I have received so many wonderful things from your hand, that whatever comes from you is sweet to me.'

"When we feel the same love and gratitude to God that Ayaz felt toward his sultan, whatever comes to us will seem sweet, and we will have attained the stage of the pleased nafs."