It is said that long ago there was a learned man who was well versed in the science of medicine. He once happened to pass through a town where he noticed all the inhabitants suffering from a subtle illness of which they were completely unaware. They could not sense their ailment. The wise man contemplated how best to cure them. He realized that if he simply informed them that they were ill, they would scoff at him and reject his assistance. Perhaps they would even come to despise him, surely they would not take his advice, indeed they might ridicule him thereby undermining his knowledge. He was, however, determined to cure them due to his extreme concern for his fellow human beings and his kindness and regard for humanity.
He embarked upon a plan, with the hope of serving his creator. He approached one person from amongst the noble population of the town, who was also suffering from this disease. He befriended him and gradually informed him of his illness. He then gave him a potion which he had prepared for their cure and made him sniff a powder which he had especially made for their recovery. Upon taking the medicines, the man sneezed and he immediately felt much better, experiencing a lightness in his body and relief in his senses. He felt a surge of renewal in the strength of his soul.
The man thanked the doctor, ?Is there any way that I can repay you for this great kindness that you have done to me in curing me??
?Help me to cure another one of your brothers,? replied the doctor. The man readily agreed. They chose another man whom they saw would be receptive. They gave him the medicine and cured him in the same way. He too asked what he could do in return for this great favour. And so it went on person by person, and the wise man helped many people to recover.
As the number of cured people increased, they were able to divide the task. It was no longer necessary to work secretly. Those who were unwilling were administered the medicine by force. Thus the entire city was cured.
Know, O kind and pious brother that this example is drawn from the Prophets. They began their mission to remind the people of what they had forgotten in the matters of the hereafter, awakening them from the slumber of ignorance, which is indeed the illness of the soul.