As promised yesterday, here is the Islamic angel story. It was published in a book, called Metaphors of Islamic Humanism (subtitle) by Dr. Omar Imady and is re-printed here with permission.
The title of the story is "The Angel's Instructions."
There once was a man who was traveling through the desert. The journey took longer than he expected and soon all his provisions were gone except for a small jug of water and a loaf of bread. An angel carrying water and food was sent with this command: "When he drinks the rest of his water and eats his last loaf of bread, give him the water and food."
And so the angel observed the man from a distance, waiting for him to drink his water and eat his loaf of bread. But the man was so afraid of finishing his supplies and being left with nothing that he simply couldn't get himself to do so. Whenever he was about to drink or eat, he would say to himself, "But what will happen to me if I were to finish my water or eat my last loaf of bread? I must hold on to them, they are all I have left."
And so he would continue to walk and the angel would continue to observe from a distance.
Sometime before sunset, the man collapsed on the sand. In one hand, he held that very last loaf of bread, and in the other, that small jug of water. The angel, still carrying the food and water, kept on observing until it was clear that the man had died.
"How strange are the children of Adam," the angel said as it ascended to the sky.
EM note: It all boils down to trust, doesn't it?