On his first day as the village’s imam, Nasreddin Hodja was seated on the raised bench, preparing to give his sermon. The congregation was quite anxious to hear what he had to say. But The Hodja didn’t really have a sermon ready.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?’ he asked.
`No, Hodja Effendi, we don’t.’ they replied.
`If you don’t know what I am going to talk about,’ the Hodja said, `then I have nothing to tell you.’ And with that, he got up and left the mosque, leaving the puzzled people behind him.
The next day, when it was the time of the sermon, Hodja was back on his seat and the congregation curiously waiting.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?’ Hodja asked again. Having learned from the previous day, the people were not about to say `no’ this time. `Yes, Hodja Effendi,’ they all shouted, `we know.’
`Well,’ said the Hodja, `if you already know what I am going to tell you, then I don’t need to tell it to you!’ He got up and left. The people gathered in the mosque were at a loss.
The third day Hodja came and sat down, and asked his question.
`Do you know what I am about to tell you today?’ The congregation was not going to let Hodja get away this time without giving a sermon. Some of them replied with `yes, we do’ and some of them replied with `no, we don’t.’
`In that case,’ said the Hodja, `Those who do know should tell the ones who do not know.’ and slipped out of the mosque.
First Sermon – Mullah Nasruddin Stories