Imam Bishr ibn al Harith al Hafi was from [the city of] Marw, an ancient city in present-day Turkmenistan. He lived in Baghdad, and he died there too in the year 227H . He was the disciple i.e. mureed of his maternal uncle, Shaykh Ali ibn Khashram, and he was an associate of Fudayl (ibn Iyaad). Imam Bishr al Hafi was well-versed in the principal, as well as the derivative, sciences. He was a man of great stature. The following episode became the reason for his repentance:
(Extract from the Kashf ul Mahjub of Imam Ali Hujweri)
One day, when he was drunk, he found on the road a piece of paper on which was written: “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” He picked it up with reverence, perfumed it, and placed in a clean place. The same night he dreamt that Allah said to him: “O Bishr! As you have made My Name sweet, I swear by My Glory that I will make your name sweet both in this world and the next.” Thereupon he repented and took to asceticism (zuhd).
So intensely was he absorbed in contemplation of Allah that he never put anything on his feet. When he was asked the reason of this, he said: “The Earth is His carpet, and I deem it wrong to tread on His carpet while there is anything between my foot and it [His carpet].” This is one of his peculiar practices: in his focus on Allah, a shoe or sandal seemed to him a veil (between him and Allah).
It is related that he said: “Whoever desires to be honoured in this world and exalted in the next world, let him shun three things: let him not ask a favour of anyone, nor speak ill of anyone, nor accept an invitation to eat with anyone.”
1) No man who knows the way to Allah will ask a favour of human beings, since to do so is a proof of his ignorance of Allah: if he knew the Giver of all bounties, he would not ask a favour from a fellow-creature. 2) Again, the man who speaks ill of anyone is criticizing the decree of Allah, inasmuch as both the individual himself and his actions are created by Allah; and on whom can the blame for an action be thrown except on the agent? This does not apply, however, to the blame which Allah has commanded us to bestow upon infidels. 3) Thirdly, as to his saying, “Do not eat of men’s food,” the reason is that Allah is the Provider. If He makes a creature the means of giving you daily bread, do not regard that creature, but consider that the daily bread which Allah has caused to reach you does not belong to him but to Allah. If he thinks that it is his, and that he is thereby conferring a favour on you, do not accept it. In the matter of daily bread, one person does not confer on another any favour at all, because, according to the opinion of the orthodox, daily bread is food/sustenance (ghidha).