Once upon a time in the city of Shiraz there lived a famous poet, Sheikh Saadi. Like most other poets, Sheikh Saadi was not a rich man. He led a very simple life. A rich merchant of Shiraz invited Sheikh Saadi along with a lot of other big businessmen of the town to his daughter's marriage which was to be a grand affair. Sheikh Saadi accepted the invitation and decided to attend.
On the day of the wedding, the host and his family were receiving the guests at the gate. They were ushering them towards the dining hall. All the rich people of the town had come, in their best attires. Sheikh Saadi had simple clothes on which were neither grand nor expensive. He waited in a corner for someone to approach him but no one gave him as much as a second glance. Even the host did not acknowledge him and looked away.
Seeing this, Sheikh Saadi quietly left the party and went to a shop from where he could hire clothes. There he chose a richly brocaded dress which was embroidered in gold on the margins. He selected a fancy turban and a waist-band to go with it. As he put on the hired dress and looked into the mirror, he found himself a changed person.
This time he was welcomed with open arms. The host embraced him as he would an old friend and complimented him on the clothes he was wearing. "And here comes our favourite poet. What took you so long, friend? We have been waiting for you for ages! How good of you to have come. The gathering surely would have been incomplete without your gracious presence!"
Saadi did not utter a word and allowed the host to lead him to the dining room where the other guests had assembled. Tasty dishes had been laid out on grand carpets. Saadi was offered a seat with soft cushions. The food was served in fine crockery. The host led Sheikh Saadi by the hand and himself served the chicken soup and fragrant rice to him.
Then something strange happened. Sheikh Saadi dipped the corner of his waist-coat in the soup and sprinkled some rice on it. Addressing the clothes he said: "This is a feast for you, you should enjoy it."
All the guests were now staring at him in surprise. The host asked, "Sir! What are doing? How can your clothes eat? And why should they?”
To this query, Sheikh Saadi very calmly replied: "My dear friend, I am indeed surprised with the question coming from you. Aren't you the same person who did not even throw a look at me when I came dressed in simple clothes? I can guess that it is my clothes and appearance that matter with you, not my individual worth. Now that I have put on grand clothes, I see a world of difference in the reception I am offered here. All that I can say is that this feast is meant for my clothes, not for me."
Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhu) used to say: “The worst of food is the food of a wedding feast to which the rich are invited and the poor are ignored.” [Muslim]
This hadith has been sent to me by dailyhadith.