One day Ma‘ruf was walking along with a group of his followers when a gang of youths came that way. They behaved outrageously all the way to the Tigris.
“Master,” Ma‘ruf’s companions entreated him, “pray to Almighty God to drown them all, that the world may be rid of their foul presence.”
“Lift up your hands,” Ma‘ruf bade them. Then he prayed.
“O God, as Thou hast given them a happy life in this world, even so grant them a happy life in the world to come.”
“Master, we know not the secret of this prayer,” said his companions in astonishment.
“He with whom I am speaking knows the secret,” Ma‘ruf replied. “Wait a moment. Even now this secret will be revealed.”
When the youths beheld the shaikh, they broke their lutes and poured away the wine they were drinking. Trembling overcame them, and they fell before the shaikh and repented.
“You see,” Ma‘ruf remarked to his companions. “Your desire has been fulfilled completely, without drowning and without anyone suffering.”
From: Muslim Saints and Mystics
Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya’ (Memorial of the Saints) by Farid al-Din Attar
Translated by A. J. Arberry